Cane says All Blacks know where they must improve against Boks

Rugby Union - Rugby Championship - South Africa v New Zealand - Mbombela Stadium, Mbombela, South Africa - August 6, 2022 South Africa's Damian Willemse in action with New Zealand's Sam Cane and Angus Ta'avao REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – New Zealand captain Sam Cane says his side have identified the areas where they can apply pressure back on South Africa in their second Rugby Championship clash at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The All Blacks have lost five of their last six tests, and were thoroughly outplayed in the first game against the Springboks in Nelspruit this past weekend, going down 26-10 and barely throwing a punch in the contest, their biggest loss to the Boks in 94 years.

“We had a good look at opportunities missed and where we can get better,” Cane told reporters on Tuesday. “We have been brutally honest with each other and it’s never personal, it’s about learning off an individual’s error so the team can get better as well.

“We all know as a group that you can’t just focus on the outcome (result), it is always the process and small steps that go into it that which gives you the outcome you are after.

“The whole role of the leadership group is massively important, I’m really stoked with the way we have been operating off the pitch. We’ll keep working hard. Even though we are not happy with the results side of things, it’s not through a lack of effort.”

Failure to win on Saturday would put coach Ian Foster, and Cane as captain, under serious pressure in terms of their future with the team. It is not, then, a good time to play the world champions in their traditional fortress.

“It’s a hostile environment but we quite like playing in places like this because it tests you,” Cane said. “We are a bit higher (in altitude than last weekend) and the air is a bit thinner, so it is a massive challenge.

“They (the Boks) know their game really well and they execute it extremely well. There were 15 odd contestable kicks and we only took five of them. They gave us a great test at the breakdown.

“We expect them to roll out the same stuff, but we have seen some things on the tape where we can be better. We are desperate to improve.”

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