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All Blacks look to spoil the party for Marx and Springboks

04 August 2022 - 17:28 By Mahlatse Mphahlele in Mbombela
Angus Ta'avao and Scott Barrett at New Zealand's press conference at Ingwenyama Conference & Sport Resort in White River, Mpumalanga, on August 4 2022.
Angus Ta'avao and Scott Barrett at New Zealand's press conference at Ingwenyama Conference & Sport Resort in White River, Mpumalanga, on August 4 2022.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

New Zealand lock Scott Barrett has joked that they will be going all out to make Malcolm Marx’s 50th Test appearance less pleasant when they take on the Springboks in Saturday's Rugby Championship clash at Mbombela Stadium.

Marx will run out for his significant personal milestone, with the Springboks looking to pile more woes on the visitors, who lost their last two Tests at home to Ireland last month.

It remains to be seen whether this match will follow recent trends between SA and New Zealand - four of their past six Tests ended with two-point differences.

“Malcolm Marx has been an impressive player, whether he is coming from the bench or starting the game,” Barret said.

“He is physical and when he gets at the back of the maul close to the line he is pretty dangerous. Hopefully we can make it less memorable on his 50th Test cap.”

That SA teams no longer play Super Rugby means there are a few players the New Zealanders are not intimately familiar with, but Barrett said that is not a problem.

“There are a few new players we haven’t played against, but there are those we have played against over the past few years. Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager are familiar opponents and some of the best in the world, if not the best.”

Another player who will be vital for the All Blacks is prop Angus Ta'avao. He has been given a chance to prove himself after overcoming a number of setbacks in his career.

“It is good to be here now and starting at tight head against a massive foe that we love to go against,” Ta'avao said. “We have talked about the great battles we've had over the past few years and it is a unique and exciting place to play.

“As a rugby player, that’s what you want to do - to play against the best in world and on big stages, and I am looking forward to it and getting stuck in.

“I am probably one of the older ones, but in terms of the All Blacks I am still relatively green. But I have played with [All Blacks hooker and Chiefs teammate] Samisoni Taukei'aho a lot at Super Rugby level and [NZ prop] George Bower is probably one of our better players recently.

“I will try to add whatever I can and make sure I nail my stuff first and we grow together. We have been doing a lot of connecting things together this week and getting around each other.

“Me and Samisoni have played together quite a lot, probably haven’t played with George much, but it's pretty good.”


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