All Blacks expect quick pace in Boks Test
Tue, 11 Sep 2012 2:57p.m.
Centre Conrad Smith believes both the All Blacks and the Springboks will benefit from playing Saturday night's Rugby Championship Test in the covered Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
Smith has played just once previously at the stadium, for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby, and says he immediately noticed the pace of the game picked up.
"It certainly makes the game quicker. The game I played here for the Hurricanes was particularly fast - I noticed it in the first five minutes.
"But the South Africans will enjoy it too. They are used to hard grounds at home."
Smith says there are similarities in playing at the stadium and on the high veldt in South Africa.
"You can't kick a ball as far here as you can on the high veldt but there is a lot of benefit in having no wind, rain or moisture.
"It's nice to know the weather will not be a factor and there will be a dry ball and the chance to play some open running rugby."
The All Blacks changed their training venue from Carisbrook to indoors at Forsyth Barr Stadium today after snow, hail and bitterly cold wind in Dunedin dropped the temperature from 17degC yesterday to 2degC.
Smith, 30, who is playing his 60th test, emerged unscathed from the Test against Argentina last Saturday, his first after a two-month absence because of an eye injury.
He is not expecting the South Africans to depart dramatically from their game plan, despite their draw in Argentina and the loss to the Wallabies in Perth.
"We have a fair idea of how most teams play, but you've still got to deal with it. South Africa don't mind playing the same game week in and week out and they back themselves to put the opposition under pressure. I don't think that will change."
Smith expects Morne Steyn to retain his place at first five-eighth and for the Springboks to again confront the All Blacks physically.
"We were a bit slow to adapt to the Pumas last weekend but we adapted as the game went on. We've got to make sure we are ready to deal with the South Africans immediately."
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