Hansen aims to silence Sowetan crowd
October 5, 2012
Israel Dagg's late try shocked the South African crowd when the pair met back in2010 © Getty Images
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is fully aware of the hostile atmosphere that awaits the Kiwis when they face South Africa in Soweto's Soccer City, and has told his team to try and silence the home crowd.
South Africa have only played at the Soweto ground once before and they will be hoping for a better result this time around. They faced the All Blacks in the stadium back in 2010 and fell to a 29-22 reverse in what was John Smit's 100th game.
The Kiwis are currently unbeaten in this season's Rugby Championship, however, and will hope to make it six from six - but they will come up against a resolute Springboks side fresh off the back of an impressive performance last weekend against Australia.
But the All Blacks are used to playing in hostile atmospheres having managed to tame the Argentineans last weekend with a commanding 54-15 win. And Hansen has called for more of the same from his side.
"It is a massive challenge to play at Soccer City and it doesn't come much bigger than facing South Africa at a venue like that but we have a lot of experience going through the spine of our team," Hansen said.
"We know that the South Africans will get in behind their players and it is going to be a massive challenge but in the end it's going to be a game played between the same white lines that all the other games at other venues are, and this team has experience of winning all over the world.
"If you go in with the right attitude it doesn't matter where the game is being played. What we need to do is just do something early in the game that will keep the fans quiet. We did it in Argentina last week, where we also played in front of a massive home crowd.
"Playing top opponents at an away venue is always a big challenge, but speaking for myself here, big challenges are what you enjoy most when you are involved in top-level sport. While the modern rugby player can play anywhere and gets used to playing in different environments, this is a venue that players do get excited about.
"I know our team is excited about playing there, and I am sure the Boks are too."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson