Wednesday, October 03, 2012

AllBlacks v Springboks no dead rubber

Former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick said, after becoming the first New Zealand test captain to break the final frontier and win a series in South Africa, that the accomplishment was beyond representing his country at Rugby World Cups.

Such is the esteem of clashes between New Zealand and South Africa, a contest deemed by some for decades to the the unofficial heavyweight championship of the world, that even to this day supporters of the two teams happily exchange byplay as to who is the best rugby nation over the last century.

For now, the All Blacks may have the edge, with The Investec Rugby Championship joining the World Cup in their trophy cabinet, but throughout history one team that has constantly proven they have the firepower and power to disrupt New Zealand's game is the Springboks.

In theory the All Blacks are looking at a clean sweep of the tournament, but the celebrations associated with this have already been put aside, as they look to the Springboks in their newest super stadium.

Flank Sam Cane, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw's understudy, said that the team had put aside their victory over Argentina and were lookiing for another achievement.

"We've won the championship but we've parked that now," he said

Not only would victory represent a clean sweep of The Investec Rugby Championship, but would give many young players, such as Cane, not only their first appearance in the Republic, but potentially their maiden win in a location that the All Blacks were first successful against the Springboks in home way back in 1928 - albeit at Ellis Park not at Soccer City.

"What we're focused on is winning over here. They've always been big test matches and it's always more rewarding, hearing from the older guys, to win over here because of the challenge," he said.

"We talked about last week playing against the Argentinians at home and then coming to play the South Africans here."

"They are probably the toughest two places to win in world rugby. If we can do that, we'll be pretty happy."

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