All Black loosehead prop Hames braced for the Springboks' challenge
All Black loosehead prop Kane Hames is braced for the South African challenge and seemingly has all the motivation he needs to make a statement in Albany on Saturday.
An article on stuff.co.nz said Hames wasn't a strong scrummager and the 29-year-old Chiefs loosehead prop took umbrage to the comments.
Hames will be appearing in his third Test but will be making his first start‚ filling the massive void left by Joe Moody‚ whose dislocated shoulder rules him out for the rest of the international season.
Hames was aware the Bok pack is not to be trifled with but also understood the important of set-piece parity that allows the All Black backs to dictate proceedings.
“I've seen the Springboks put a bit of pressure on Argentina and Australia but I've also seen these boys do the same.
"It could be the battle of the set-pieces this weekend and it looks like it's shaping up to be that way‚” Hames said.
“I read an article today by Marc Hinton and he said I'm not a renowned scrummager‚ so when I'm not scrummaging‚ I guess I'll be winning the battle in the air and work on my speed in the outside channels.”
Hames and Nepo Laulala will be part of one of the greenest All Black front rows in recent memory.
They only have eight Tests in between them even though hooker Dane Coles buttresses their inexperience with 51 Test caps.
They will have to deal with the seasoned Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira‚ who has 93 Tests to his name and the inexperienced but talented Ruan Dreyer.
Hames does have experience against Dreyer and Trevor Nyakane through his Super Rugby travels but said the welcoming All Black environment made it easy for him to adapt.
“It's not that difficult to adapt in this environment when you're playing with the best hooker in the world and playing in the best team in the world and the best locks in the world behind me.
"It's a case of having to mould with the system. When you're in the All Black environment‚ it's the best one in the world‚” Hames said.
“In this mindset I'm in‚ it's never about proving anyone wrong‚ but putting systems in place to make sure everything goes right.
"We have to do a whole lot of research to make sure we do things right and it would be great if you could do the same.”