Ardie Savea is confident that Saturday will be a “turning point” for the All Blacks when they take on the Springboks in the first round of The Rugby Championship.
New Zealand are hurting after their test series loss to Ireland on home soil, although things won’t be getting any easier for them on their return to international rugby as they play the world champion Springboks.
The All Blacks have had to assume the unfamiliar role of underdogs this week, although those in the camp will surely be confident of a victory in Mbombela today.
Savea is just one of those, as he told the media in South Africa that he believes this week could be a turning point for the All Blacks after back to back losses against Ireland.
Ardie Savea on a crucial week for the All Blacks.
“You can harness [the losses to Ireland], you can leave it, it all depends on the individual. We’re wounded and we didn’t get the result that we wanted to a couple of weeks ago,” Savea said.
“Today’s a new day, this week’s a new week. So it’s a new challenge for us and it [doesn’t get] more exciting than this to be here and play the Springboks.
He continued: “I think this week is the turning point. Don’t worry about next week, we’ve got to nail this week. If we can nail this week then we can worry about next week.
“It’s a turning point for us, it’s an important week. Every week that we put on the black jersey is important. It’s a chance to stake our claim and obviously do the jersey proud.”
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) August 5, 2022
Mbombela awaits a massive encounter.
The pressure has been heaped on the All Blacks in recent weeks, although the Springboks won’t be sitting easy either as they take on their fierce rivals on home soil for the the first time since 2018.
South Africa and New Zealand shared one win apiece in the two games they played against each other in Australia in last year’s Rugby Championship, although the Springboks will enjoy the lion’s share of support in Mbombela today.
Today’s game is just the first of two between the sides in South Africa, with the second test taking place in Johannesburg next Saturday.
If either team fails to win both games they will be under huge pressure, although reports have suggested that All Blacks head coach Ian Foster will be relieved of his duties if his team leaves South Africa without a victory.