'It is never easy against the All Blacks'
SPOTLIGHT: The Springboks need to work equally hard as they prepare for the second Test against the All Blacks in Johannesburg this weekend revealed Malcolm Marx.
Springbok hooker celebrated his 50th Test cap with a memorable 26-10 victory against New Zealand in Nelspruit on Saturday in the opening round of the Rugby Championship.
However, Marx said while the victory was rewarding for the team, it would be remiss to expect anything less than another bruising encounter against the All Blacks next weekend.
And that the Boks would certainly not take Saturday’s victory at the Mbombela Stadium in front of more than 40 000 people for granted.
“It is never easy against the All Blacks, it’s always a hard grind until the end,” said Marx.
“We will never take anything for granted, so we will work equally hard next week and do as much as we can so that we are up for the challenge.
“It is always tough against them. The All Blacks side is always up there, and they’ve been great. The previous five games we played against one another was decided by about two points, so we need to be ready for another big game next weekend.”
#⃣REACTION: @Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber believes his team can raise the bar considerably …#Rugby 🏉#RugbyUnion🌍#RugbyChampionship 🏆#RSAvNZL 🇿🇦V🇳🇿
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) August 6, 2022
Marx spoke highly of the role his teammates played in this special milestone game: I tried to do my job to the best of my ability and the guys around me did more than that.”
He also praised the non-playing players for their role in the victory.
“Our preparation in the last two weeks was unbelievable, and this victory was a squad effort,” Marx said.
“The guys that didn’t play were key in preparing us to play as well as we can.”
Hendrikse early introduction
The victory and match were equally special for Springbok replacement scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse, who took the field in the first minute after Faf de Klerk took a blow to the head in a tackle, which forced him out of the match.
However, the young scrumhalf admitted that he was a bit caught off guard after having been asked to come on so early in the Test.
“It was a privilege to play against the All Blacks,” said Hendrikse.
“As a kid, one dreams of playing against them, so it was a massive honour. When I took the field, I knew I just had to stick to what works for me, and give all my effort to do my job.”
Of the challenge of facing the All Blacks’ vastly experienced scrumhalf Aaron Smith, Hendrikse said: “I’ve always been watching him play, and as a youngster, it was an honour to play against him.”
Commenting on his development as a player since being in the Springbok set-up, the level-headed scrumhalf said: “I’ve been working on a few things at training and kicking with my left foot is one those aspects that I have been working on when I do extras at training.”
The Springboks make the short trip to Johannesburg on Sunday for their next match against the All Blacks.
They will kick off their preparations for the Test on Monday.
Some shift from Malcolm Marx on his 50th cap#RSAvNZL pic.twitter.com/NSjkyJ36Si
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) August 6, 2022