All Blacks fully fit for Springbok match
Tue, 02 Oct 2012 6:47p.m.
By Jim Kayes
The All Blacks have arrived in South Africa adamant they can complete a clean sweep in the rugby championship, even after a nine hour flight from Argentina and a five hour time change have effectively cut their training week short by a day.
But while an ankle injury has ruled out Springboks centre Francois Steyn, the All Blacks have the luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from.
Despite being in a different country on a different continent, the All Blacks still command a police escort and draw a crowd, and this time it was some of the 1500 boys at St John's College in Houghton watching the team.
"Obviously it was a bit of a long trip but it's great to be here in South Africa and we're set up now and ready to go," says All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock.
Fun and games were the order of the day as the team tried to quickly acclimatise and get back in the swing for Sunday's test in Soweto.
"Obviously the time's a limiting thing but we're all professional, we do this most of the year, through internationals and super rugby, so it's nothing new, we just have to make sure we do the right things and look after ourselves," says Whitelock.
But the world champs are confident that if they manage themselves and their training sensibly this week in Johannesburg, they'll be too good for the Springboks.
"As I've always said if we prepare genuinely and honestly we've got enough talent to beat anyone so we will be hard to beat,” says coach Steve Hansen.
"Last week prep went really well, training was good, it was hard and fast, we were working hard. This week's a little bit different obviously with a bit more travel, we've got to be sensible with what we do but looking forward it’s what we do on Saturday so everything the next few days is looking forward to that," says Whitelock.
And though their injuries look bad, centre Conrad Smith and lock Luke Romano are expected to be fit for Sunday.
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