Rieko Ioane's warning ahead of Bok clash
SPOTLIGHT: All Blacks speedster Rieko Ioane has hinted that his team are becoming a much tighter unit ahead of their opening Rugby Championship match against the Boks in Nelspruit
The All Blacks arrived in South Africa this week with critics expecting a big response after a demoralising 1-2 series defeat to Ireland in July.
With a base in the small town of White River in Mpumalanga, the All Blacks have formed a “bubble” for themselves and Ioane expects that will help them rectify some of the issues they had against Ireland and it could be interpreted as a warning for the Boks.
“Take nothing away from being at home. The boys love being at home with their family,” said Ioane.
“We had a tough series against Ireland, but there are pros and cons [to being away from home].
“The boys love being here and it’s a different environment to what we are used to.
“We are out on our own and we are training in a sort of a bubble facility.
“The boys have grown closer and those connections are definitely going to shine on the field.”
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‘A different beast’
Ioane knows that the Springboks will pose a different threat to what they got against Ireland.
“It’s a completely different beast that we are facing this week,” Ioane added.
“The Irish play how they play and South Africa have some similarities.
“However, they [Boks] are smart footballers and they will be able to adjust and see what we did in that Irish series
“We just have to prepare for their best game.”
While there will be a big focus on the forward battle, Ioane admits that the All Blacks’ backline will need to shift to a higher gear in Nelspruit.
“I think there is plenty to work on, but we as backs need to fire as well,” said Ioane.
“We know that we are coming up against a world class outfit, especially in their backs.
“We need to get better all over the park, whether it’s on attack or defence.”