All Blacks out to heed weather lessons
September 13, 2013
Israel Dagg want his All Blacks team-mates to play smarter if conditions are slippery © Getty Images
The All Blacks are looking to heed the lessons of a week ago if their Rugby Championship Test against South Africa is played out in the wet.
New Zealand got past a combative Argentina side 28-13 in Hamilton last weekend, but came away frustrated with their performance in persistent drizzle. Showers are forecast for Auckland throughout Saturday and fullback Israel Dagg expects the All Blacks to be better prepared if the damp weather continues into the match.
"Hopefully we've learnt the lesson of not playing too much footy in our own half and not trying to use the ball too much," he said. "There were a few too many errors out there. The ball was slippery, but there are no excuses. We're a professional team. We have to react and adapt to the conditions."
Dagg said he turned his attention to the Springboks immediately after the Pumas game. The excitement levels began rising when he saw South Africa in action in their 38-12 defeat of the Wallabies in Brisbane that night.
"I love playing the Springboks," said Dagg, who will be making his 32nd Test appearance and his sixth against South Africa. "They're a team that really put you under pressure and they like to put the back three under pressure."
That means Dagg and wingers Ben Smith and Julian Savea are preparing to have to defuse plenty of bombs in a match that could have a major bearing on the destination of the title. Both defending champions New Zealand and South Africa are unbeaten after three rounds, but the Springboks top the table, having accumulated one bonus point more.
South Africa also have the advantage that their last two fixtures - against Australia and New Zealand - are at home. Apart from having to go to Johannesburg in the final round, the All Blacks are also away to the Pumas.
"It's a huge game," Dagg said of the Eden Park showdown. "I think the team that wins this is going to have a good opportunity to win the Rugby Championship."
Follow live text commentary of the Test between New Zealand and South Africa on Saturday, September 14, from 5pm (AEST), 7pm (NZT), 9am (SAST), 7am (GMT)
Jean de Villiers enjoyed a day out in Brisbane © Getty Images
Heyneke Meyer named an unchanged squad to face New Zealand
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament