• Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick says there is nothing funny about the All Blacks’ current position.
  • The All Blacks enter Saturday’s Rugby Championship Test against the Springboks after four defeats in five Tests.
  • Stick said the All Blacks can and will eliminate a team if they have a tough time on the pitch.

To Mbombela

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick says they fully understand where the struggling All Blacks stand and that makes them dangerous clients for Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash at Mbombela Stadium.

The All Blacks rode through the upheaval that is usually reserved for the Springboks, who have been in calmer waters than normal.

Stick said the All Blacks will have an edgy desperation that they can positively channel into a performance that could have the ability to surprise the Boks on Saturday.

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“Having been on the other side, I know the All Blacks will really want to beat us,” Stick said.

“We have been where they have been and when we beat them in 2018 in Wellington we were in the same boat. They are going through tough times and there is no better time to face the world champions and prove your point.

“I think that’s their main goal and I know we’ve been where the All Blacks are as the Boks.

“They will be desperate, but we will do everything in our power to make sure we finish on the right side of the scoreboard.”

Even the All Blacks coaching changes didn’t force Stick to deviate from his line of thinking in a respectful perspective against the All Blacks.


South Africa

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Trevor Nyakane

Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Jaden Hendrikse, 23 Willie le Roux

New Zealand

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock , 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 George Bower

Subs: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ethan de Groot, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Quinn Tupaea

The 2-1 series loss to Ireland saw John Plumtree and Brad Mooar dropped, with James Ryan subsequently joining the All Blacks.

Stick said he didn’t expect the All Blacks to stray from what worked for them, even though they were discovered by Ireland.

Stick said the All Blacks pack a heavy punch which can put an opponent to sleep if they are unaware of it.

“We’re not going to read too much into their side, but if you look at their forwards coach, he’s someone who has worked with the Crusaders forwards,” Stick said.

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“They will want to play for him and we don’t expect them to change much in the space of two weeks because they are not a team to change their DNA.

“The moment you walk away from them, they’re like heavyweights in the boxing ring. They’ll knock you out.

“They can put three tries in five minutes by the time you fall asleep. That’s the nature of the team we’re going to play against.”