Springboks: 'No weaknesses in All Blacks squad'

Newstalk ZB staff,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 12 September 2017, 6:57p.m.
All in all, no vulnerabilities (getty)
All in all, no vulnerabilities (getty)

South Africa assistant Johann van Graan has pored over the All Blacks' squad - and found no weaknesses anywhere.

A world-class tight five. The best openside in rugby. The finest halves combination in the world, supplying scores of electrifying backs.

All in all, no vulnerabilities.

So the best thing for his side to do, van Graan believed, would be to just focus on themselves ahead of Saturday's Rugby Championship showdown in Albany.

While coach Allister Coetzee said on Monday that the All Blacks were vulnerable after sub-par showings against Australia and Argentina, van Graan was keen to talk up the likes of Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane and Aaron Smith.

Each Kiwi player would make life difficult for his side, which was still in a process of regeneration after a disastrous 2016.

"There's so many special players in the New Zealand team and we've got to look after a few of those - world-class players, seasoned internationals, some of them probably the best in the world," van Graan said.

"So there's some good individuals but it's all about us.

"We'll focus on what we want to do."

Fresh off a Test series whitewash of France, two victories against Los Pumas and a 23-23 draw against Australia in Perth, van Graan's troops - newly captained by Eben Etzebeth - head to North Harbour in high spirits.

The side had taken on a youthful and Lions-dominated complexion, and van Graan said they were building step by step towards a 2019 Rugby World Cup tilt.

Because of that, he felt the Springboks had been unshackled from the burden of history, including an eight-year losing streak on Kiwi soil.
You learn from every single Test match but it's 2017," van Graan said.

"This is a different team, for a different year.

"We've got things that make us strong within the team, a lot of diversity, and that's South Africa for you - we enjoy each other.

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