Boks ready for All Blacks challenge
The Boks believe their improved fitness levels will make them a more dangerous side.
CAPE TOWN - South Africa believe their improved fitness levels will make them a more dangerous side in the closing stages of games as they prepare to meet world champions New Zealand in their final Rugby Championship match for the year in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Coach Heyneke Meyer had spoken ahead of the 28-10 victory over Australia last weekend about his unhappiness with his side's fitness levels, but he believes they are making strides.
That was evident in Saturday's win at Newlands where they were able to up the tempo in the final 10 minutes as Australia wilted and turn a losing situation into a comfortable victory.
"We learnt quite a lot from ourselves, we knew we needed to up our conditioning. It's something we did quite well," assistant coach Johan van Graan told reporters on Tuesday.
Van Graan admits it will take much more than superior fitness to get the better of the All Blacks, who won a classic in this fixture last year 38-27, a game in which nine tries were scored as both sides attacked freely.
But even after scoring four tries in the game, a rarity against the All Blacks for any team, Van Graan believes they should have got more.
"You have to take all of your opportunities and we had a lot of line-breaks in last year's match and we didn't finish. Although we scored the four tries, we could have scored more," he said.
Van Graan added that winning the small battles would be important.
"We have to be accurate for 80 minutes," he said. "Then your set-piece needs to work, and your broken field attack and defence has to work against the All Blacks."
The Rugby Championship may be lost to New Zealand already, but Van Graan believes a win over the All Blacks in any circumstances is to be treasured.
"We want to be the best team in the world and to be the best you've got to beat the best and so what an opportunity to play against New Zealand on Saturday," he said.