All Blacks expect huge test from resurgent Boks

Esther Moore
September 12, 2017

The 31-Test Moody dislocated his shoulder in Saturday's 39-22 victory over Argentina in New Plymouth, with post-game tests confirming the worst.

Despite scoring six tries to one and dominating the setpiece, New Zealand went into the break 16-15 behind and never truly dispatched Los Pumas.

Coach Steve Hansen confirmed Aaron Smith would return to the Test No.9 jumper with his bullet passing a major asset.

"We had moments where we had to battle and think through stuff that didn't come easy for us", the 58-year-old New Zealander said. "He'll come back and I think that makes a difference to how we play".

But that has since been replaced with a need to force the pace - at times recklessly - from the start, and Hansen does not appear keen to alter that.

"As he gets out there and understands the structures better, he's likely to be in the right places more often than not".

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In the forwards, blindside flanker Vaea Fifita gets his first start in his second Test, lock Luke Romano makes his first start of the year while Ardie Savea starts at openside flanker with Sam Cane dropping to the bench.

South Africa have recovered from their disappointing 2016, however, and go into Saturday's match at the North Harbour Stadium only three points behind their hosts after a 23-23 draw with Australia on Saturday.

The Newlands Test will be the first visit of the All Blacks to Cape Town since 2008 when they triumphed 19-0.

Hansen has been impressed by their development as a unit and is wary of a tough challenge in Albany next weekend.

"They seem to be incredibly tight with each other, so they're obviously building something there from a culture point of view and that'll make them more risky".

"But it's a tank that's got plenty in it and our job now is to bring that out, and his job is to work on his game and get better and better and reach his potential", Hansen said.

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