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Accuracy and intensity the buzzwords for Boks ahead of All Blacks Test

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and scrumhalf Faf de Klerk during the squad announcement press conference in Mbombela.
Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and scrumhalf Faf de Klerk during the squad announcement press conference in Mbombela.
Image: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images

The Springboks will aim to bring accuracy and intensity to their huge Rugby Championship clash against wounded New Zealand at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.

Accuracy and intensity were some of the key aspects for Ireland in their 2-1 series shock of the All Blacks in New Zealand last month as they handed their hosts their first back-to-back home Test defeats since 1998.

The All Blacks are in SA looking to return to winnings ways and Bok coach Jacques Nienaber is well aware his team need to find a balance to emerge victorious on the lowveld.

The Boks go into their back-to-back Rugby Championship matches against New Zealand after a 2-1 series win over Wales in which coach Jacques Nienaber's side were not overly impressive.

“Obviously Ireland is a quality side, they pitch with intensity and their execution against New Zealand was quite good with the plan that they had,” Nienaber said during a squad announcement on Tuesday in which he made three changes to the starting team from the third Test against Wales.

Among the changes, Malcolm Marx, who will earn his 50th Test cap, will run out at hooker in place of Bongi Mbonambi while Faf de Klerk comes in at scrumhalf in a rotational switch with Jaden Hendrikse.

The only injury-enforced change is on the right wing where Kurt-Lee Arendse will earn his second Test cap in place of Cheslin Kolbe who is recovering from a broken jaw.

“We are not Ireland, we are not Leinster, we don’t play like them, but the main thing that we took out of them is that whatever plan you decide on to tackle the All Blacks, you have to bring intensity and accuracy into your plan.

Nienaber said the area where the Boks need to perform is in the forwards, which is where Ireland dominated the All Blacks.

“You must have balance. Ireland had balance and they scored with maul tries but they also had other means of attacking New Zealand from line-outs. Line-out mauls will always be a big part of the game.

“What we have learnt from Ireland is the accuracy and intensity that they brought to those Test matches against New Zealand. New Zealand is a formidable side and you don’t beat them often.

“One of New Zealand’s big strengths is their transition attack and we will have to be accurate in terms of what we do. When you play a quality side like them you will be lucky to get two opportunities.

“You must use those opportunities and that is definitely something we have spoken about.”

Nienaber said he does not dwell much on the uncomfortable situation under-pressure All Blacks coach Ian Foster finds himself in.

“To comment on how he feels right now will be purely speculation because I don’t know what the is deal and him and the [NZ Rugby] CEO [Mark Robinson], and things like that.

“But as coaches and players we know there will always be pressure when representing your country. You are two poor games from being dropped or two poor games away from being fired and that is the reality.”

De Klerk said he is excited to be back in the starting XV and looking forward to playing in front of his home crowd.

“We have been in similar situations [as the All Blacks] in the past, we know how it feels to lose two games on the bounce and that’s where great teams stand up. We are going to focus on ourselves and make sure all our stuff is ready to go for the weekend.”