ABs looking forward to dry pitch
Tue, 11 Sep 2012 6:43p.m.
By Jim Kayes
The All Blacks escaped the South Island's late wintry blast as they trained under cover today.
And the roof at Forsyth Barr stadium in Dunedin is expected to help produce a high tempo game in Saturday’s rugby championship test against South Africa.
With snow on the hills above Dunedin, the All Blacks headed indoors. Centre Conrad Smith was happy to be out of the sleet and looking forward to a dry pitch on Saturday.
“It will influence the game a lot. We have already talked about it. It's nice just to know it's not going to be a factor and we can worry abut a dry ball and the chance to play some open footy.”
Smith says he noticed when the Hurricanes played here just how fast it can be.
“I'm sure the South African’s will enjoy that as well, it will burn the lungs a wee bit.
“Probably don't kick it as far but certainly for things like passing it's under rated just how beneficial it is.”
Which suggests Aaron Smith with his whippet pass should be at halfback, though coach Steve Hansen's hinted Piri Weepu could get his first start this year.
“We could well be tempted to give him a run. That's another Thursday question though.”
Whoever gets the nod, Aaron Cruden will be outside them, with Beauden Barrett hoping to see some action again from the bench.
“I'm excited. I can't wait for this weekend. It's another big test for us this week.”
The South African test will be another 'first' for Smith, Julian Savea, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano and Barrett.
“It will be pretty cool especially here in Dunedin in this fridge. It will be intense,” Barrett says.
“It's right up there, other than playing the Aussies who are our biggest enemy really.”
And though no 8 Kieran Read and wing Savea were on light duties today, nursing a sore rib and leg respectively, both are expected to fit for selection on Thursday.
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