'It's probably their best possible team'
SPOTLIGHT: Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick believes the All Blacks will be significantly stronger this week with the changes that they have made to their matchday squad.
Rieko Ioane and Sevu Reece will be the All Blacks’ wings for Saturday’s Rugby Championship Round Six clash after George Bridge and Will Jordan paid the price for nervy displays out wide in the face of a Springbok aerial bombardment during last week’s tight 19-17 win.
Brad Weber also comes in to take over the No.9 jersey from TJ Perenara, while Anton Lienert-Brown gets the No.13 jersey in the midfield.
“If you look at that team it’s probably their best possible team with Anton Lienert-Brown coming back with his experience,” said Stick. “We know what he can do and he is a very tough player.
“Ioane at wing, he is playing well. Sevu Reece has played against us and we know what he can do. He is very dangerous.
“The team that they selected shows the respect between the two teams even though they won the Championship already.
“We could have given other guys an opportunity, but we just want to win this one and we had to select our best team.”
Stick added: “[Brad] Weber is a very busy player. He is a problem around the breakdowns, so he is going to challenge us there.
“If you look at the balance in that back three with Jordie Barrett, who had a massive game against us, it’s going to be tough for us, but these are the games you want to be part of.”
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) October 1, 2021
‘We are hurting’
Meanwhile, Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said the team shared in the disappointment their fans were experiencing following three defeats, but he hoped that the hard work would pay dividends on the field on Saturday.
“It is tough for us as a team,” said Kolisi.
“We are hurting just as our fans are hurting because we are preparing well, but we are not getting the results. But we’ll keep working hard.
“All we can control is our discipline and attitude, and we will give it our best tomorrow. Only our actions will change how people feel.”