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South African View: All Blacks face biggest test


By Anton van der Merwe

Published: 2:15PM Thursday October 04, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

A South African rugby blogger, who now calls New Zealand home, says the All Blacks face their biggest test of the season this weekend.

Even before the final whistle mercifully put the Argies out of their misery, my friends, all of whom are of the All Black persuasion, were already giving me heaps about the impeding slaughter of my beloved Springboks.

To that I said Boulder dash (it might have been something a bit more colourful, but you understand my meaning)

This week in Soweto the Boks will be licking their lips at what is setting up to be the best game of the Rugby Championship.

If it sounds like I'm optimistic, I am. For the first time in a very long time I actually think that the boys can do it.

The All Blacks are coming off a clinical performance against the Pumas. However this weekend the y not only have to battle a big physical pack that is starting to form strong combinations but they have to battle altitude, travel fatigue and a 90,000 strong Soweto crowd and if vuvuzelas are allowed inside the stadium it will feel more like 190,000.

Let's start up front shall we.

For large portions of the game in Dunedin, more than one member of the All Blacks' pack went walkabout when the war in the trenches got particularly physical.

And you can bet your bottom dollar that it won't be getting any easier this time round. I'm of the opinion that the All Blacks' pack is truly missing a feared enforcer who will get his hands dirty when the going gets especially tough.

Strong back to back games from back rowers Duane Vermeulen and Francois Louw seems to have solved the breakdown dilemma the Boks have had due to injury to so many key players, this will spice up what is already going to be a ruthless contest.

The set piece is finally starting to tick along nicely, it's nowhere near the Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha era but Andries Bekker is finally starting to look the goods.

The boys in green and gold will be further bolstered by news that Coenie Oosthuizen has been cleared to play after a serious neck injury. He is a powerful scrummager and ball carrier who was a standout performer during the Super rugby season for the Cheetahs and made a great impression in his debut against England.

In the backs, the shrink wrap has finally been removed from exciting young talent Johan Goosen, Jaco Taute and Elton Jantjies.

Let's be honest, the Springbok game plan won't change too much when we face the might of the All Blacks but these youngsters add an element of unpredictability to a very solid if not very exciting backline.

No doubt young Goosen will be targeted by the likes on Nonu and Read running the inside channel, but this young man is a rare talent and he looks up for it.

Goosen is being hailed as the saviour of Springbok rugby, I think it's a bit early for sentiments like that to be thrown around but he certainly doesn't look the kind of kid to die trying, so strap in.

This will be a tight contest and without a doubt the biggest test the All Blacks will face all season.

These young Boks have absolutely nothing to lose and will throw everything into this game. Their coach Heyneke Meyer needs this win, the fans need it, the players need it and most importantly I'm watching the game in a house full of All Blacks supporters, so I need it. Springboks by six.

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