Faf de Klerk: Boks will look to exploit space against All Blacks

Faf de Klerk: Boks will look to exploit space against All Blacks

Faf de Klerk says the Springboks won't crawl into their shells now that they're facing the All Blacks in New Zealand, as he called on his fellow players to step up to the occasion.

The nuggety scrumhalf will once again wear the No 9 jersey for the Boks in Auckland on Saturday, and he knows that with the home side's game breakers and ability to create opportunities from nothing, the Boks will need to stay vigilant at all times.

"The biggest challenge for us will be the fact that they (the All Blacks) have the ability to make something out of nothing, so we cannot switch off in the game. We have to be in control and alert all the time because against New Zealand if you lose concentration, you could find yourself behind the posts," he said.

At the same time, De Klerk reminded everyone that this current crop of Boks are more than capable of creating some magic of their own.

"The way the boys played last week shows there is something about us," he said.

"The boys spotted opportunities and they took that. Their skill levels allowed them to do that. We will have to read the game, and the situation and if we see space, we need to take it. Whether it is quick ball or for a kick.

"We will have to make the adjustments on the field no matter the conditions. We have to make sure we uphold the standard or outperform it. It is a squad effort.

"A few years ago (in New Zealand) we were not up to standard in the way we played at all. Getting a lot of points put up against you, it's not going to warrant respect. But I think we do have respect here.

"There's always been great respect between New Zealand and South Africa, and I think it will continue."

With the South African franchise teams now participating in the United Rugby Championship, which tends towards a different style of rugby than was common in Super Rugby, De Klerk said the match would serve as a good test for both teams.

"We haven't played each other much recently, and we are out of Super Rugby, so it will be an interesting measure for the teams," he added. "They're a world-class team and if we do well against them, we'll know we are in a good place."

Of the challenge of lining up against highly-rated New Zealand scrumhalf Aaron Smith, De Klerk said: "He's one of the best players in the game in that jersey and he's a role model to a lot of guys both before and during my time. He's a good guy off the field too. It would be an honour to play against him."

The Springboks had Thursday off to rest and recharge before Saturday's test and will wrap up their preparations for the match with their captain's run on Friday.