Boks made an impact on Kiwis

All Black back-up scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow has confirmed that although his team won through to the World Cup final, the Springboks did make enough of a mark to impact on their build-up to Saturday’s Twickenham decider.
Flyhalf Dan Carter said before the game that it is accepted that when you play against South Africa that you will feel sore the next week. The physical confrontation is ratcheted up a notch when the two old rivals face up to one another, and while the All Blacks dominated enough phases of play to deserve their narrow semi-final win, the Kiwis did absorb a physical pounding in going about it.
“We have a few lads that are still quite sore after the big match against the Boks and we are having to build into the week,” admitted Kerr-Barlow.
“We are not going to be able to do anything physical in the early part of the week. That will have to come much later in the week. We just have to do what the coaches tell us and, by the time Saturday comes, our physicality will be back.”
Of course Australia didn’t exactly have an easy game against Argentina either, with the Pumas staying in it until the last 10 minutes even after conceding a big early lead. Some of the Aussies looked distinctly fatigued as they threw their bodies around in attempting to stem the Puma second half attacks, and they have one less day to recover.
But no team piles into the breakdowns and packs as much aggression and strength into the big defensive hits, of which there were several in the Bok/All Black game as the South Africans spent much of the game committed to defence, as the Springboks do. All Black coach Steve Hansen and his staff will therefore have their work cut out in ensuring that all the players recover to 100 percent physically, for as Kerr-Barlow says, the Wallabies are worthy finalists and the trans-Tasman rivalry is always intense.
“Being so close to each other throughout so many sports means that we have been natural rivals and it’s fitting we end up in the final together,” he said.
“When I was younger, Australia was going through a good period of rugby. They are a team with so many strengths so we are going to have to be at the top of our game.”
One of the big New Zealand strengths against the Boks was their defence, as indeed was Australia’s against Argentina, and from that viewpoint it is going to require incisive attacking play for a team to get ahead by putting tries on the board. The Wallabies and All Blacks have been the most frugal teams in the tournament, conceding just nine tries between them in 12 games.
All Black veteran Keven Mealamu credits Wayne Smith, who only recently returned to the All Black management after being an assistant under Graham Henry, for the improvement to a defensive system that has been a bit porous at times in the past.
“Wayne has been a good influence. He’s been able to put some good systems in place,” said Mealamu.
“There’s also been some great attitude from the players, who have knuckled down and worked hard, but it is been great to have Smithy back in the camp.”
The All Blacks have moved into the England base out at Pennyhill in Bagshot, where the Boks were accommodated in the build-up to their quarterfinal clash with Wales.

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