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- The Springboks have not defeated the All Blacks in Oakland since 1937.
- Bok No 9 Faf de Klerk warned his teammates not to lose focus even for a second.
- De Klerk feels the Boks have regained New Zealand’s respect in recent years.
Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk has warned that Rugby World Cup winners must be swapped for the full 80 minutes if they are to beat New Zealand in Auckland for the first time since 1937.
The All Blacks host South Africa on Saturday in their rugby championship match at Mount Smart Stadium, two months before the World Cup kicks off.
Both teams scored emphatic victories in the opening round last Saturday. New Zealand crushed Argentina 41-12 away from home and South Africa bulldozed Australia 43-12 in Pretoria.
However, it has been 86 years and nine Tests since South Africa last won in Auckland, suffering a 57-0 loss to New Zealand in 2017.
This result remains the largest margin in tests among the rugby powers.
De Klerk feels the Springboks have since regained respect from the New Zealand rugby crowd, especially after a thrilling 36-34 win over the All Blacks in Wellington in 2018, a year before South Africa lifted the World Cup.
“I speak to the fans here and other players, I think there is respect,” he told reporters in Auckland.
“Look, a few years ago we weren’t up to par in the way we played at all.
“Getting too many points against you won’t command respect.
“But the way the boys played last week shows there is something about us.”
The Scrumhalf knows his team has to be in their game against the All Blacks and a win for either team will put one hand on the Rugby Championship trophy.
De Klerk said losing focus even for a second could mean that “/sport/you’ll probably end up behind the posts” having conceded points.
He said, “If a man or two go out for a moment, that is when they will attack you.”
De Klerk is one of nine players in South Africa’s junior squad who missed the win over Australia as they travel to Auckland with a week to go before preparations.
He says the pressure is on to cement last week’s win over the Wallabies by securing a rare win in Auckland.
“I think they set the standards and we have to make sure we stick to that or we outperform,” he said.
“It’s a team effort.
“We’ve been training together for four weeks now, so we all know what to expect from each other.”
It is unclear who will lead the Springboks after the father of their replacement captain Eben Etzebeth passed away earlier this week in South Africa.
A South African Rugby Club official told AFP that team management would allow Elizabeth to decide whether to go home or play.
Kick-off is at 09:05 (South African time) on Saturday.
15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Ricco Ewan, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Mark Tilea, 10 Richie Muonga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardi Savea, 7 Sam Kane (Captain), 6 Shannon Frizzell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick , 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot
Substitutes: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Dalton Papali’i, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Braydon Ennor, 23 Caleb Clarke
15 Willy Le Roux, 14 Cheslin Colby, 13 Lujanio AM, 12 Damien De Allende, 11 Makazole Mpembe, 10 Damien Willemse, 9 Pfaff de Klerk, 8 Jasper Veese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Quagga Smith, 5 Lowwood de Jager, 4 Abin Etzebeth (Captain), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Stephen Ketchove
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marks, 17 Thomas Du Toit, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 RJ Sneeman, 20 Peter Steve Du Toit, 21 Duane Vermeulen, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Mane Lieboc