ABs plan to silence Soweto

 Oct 04,2012
Written by: Editor

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says the best way to negate the influence of Saturday's crowd at Soccer City is to give them nothing to cheer about.

The Springboks host the Rugby Championship's first winners in what is becoming an iconic venue in world sport with over 80 000 spectators expected at the stadium rebuilt for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The Kiwis stunned the massive crowd the last time they visited Soweto, when a last-minute try ruined John Smit's 100th cap appearance.

This time it's the visitors who will be able to boost an impressive number of caps in their team with ten players having 40 or more and Hansen believes that experience will be invaluable.

"It is a massive challenge to play at Soccer City and it doesn't come much bigger than facing South Africa at a venue like that but we have a lot of experience going through the spine of our team," said Hansen.

"We know that the South Africans will get in behind their players and it is going to be a massive challenge but in the end it's going to be a game played between the same white lines that all the other games at other venues are, and this team has experience of winning all over the world.

"If you go in with the right attitude it doesn't matter where the game is being played.

"What we need to do is just do something early in the game that will keep the fans quiet. We did it in Argentina last week, where we also played in front of a massive home crowd.

"Playing top opponents at an away venue is always a big challenge, but speaking for myself here, big challenges are what you enjoy most when you are involved in top-level sport.

"While the modern rugby player can play anywhere and gets used to playing in different environments, this is a venue that players do get excited about. I know our team is excited about playing there, and I am sure the Boks are too."

Skipper Kieran Read added that despite having already claimed the Rugby Championship title, this match was incredibly important to the All Blacks.

"If you want to be recognised as the best you can't just win at home. I know we won in Argentina last week, but this is a particularly big challenge for us and it doesn't come much bigger than playing the Springboks at a venue like this. It's a very important game for us," said Read.

"Winning against the Boks in Soweto will solidify where we are, it will confirm our status. We want to be the top team, we want to be the number one team in the world, and beating the Boks will confirm that.

"Steve Hansen sets high standards, and he has been working hard this week at finding ways to ensure that we retain our intensity and that we are ready mentally."

Tags: International |  South Africa | 

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