All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Aaron Smith weighed in ahead of their trip to South Africa.
Video / Carson Bluck
Live updates of the Rugby Championship test between the All Blacks and South Africa.
All you need to know ahead of the first test between the All Blacks and the Springboks at Mbombela Stadium in South Africa (kickoff at 3.src5am):
There seems to be precious little for the All Blacks to cling on to as the world’s most successful rugby team tries to climb out of their worst slump in 24 years.
Coach Ian Foster’s job is hanging by a thread and his two most senior assistant coaches have already been cut loose, both fired following the historic series loss at home to Ireland last month. Captain Sam Cane is under scrutiny for his leadership and there are also calls for him to be replaced.
The last time New Zealand had a worse set of results was in 1998, the early years of professional rugby.
Ahead for the All Blacks are back-to-back Rugby Championship games away to world champion South Africa, a steep challenge for a team trying to fight their way out of a hole.
New Zealand bookmakers have the All Blacks to lose, only the fourth time in their last 34src matches that they’ve made that prediction. The three other games were also away in South Africa, and New Zealand lost all three.
“As an All Black you love times that really challenge you and this is certainly one of those,” Cane says.
And yet South Africa may offer some refuge for the under-fire All Blacks, who have escaped the criticism back home for the last week as they prepare for the first Springboks match on Saturday at Mbombela Stadium, a remote and rarely used test rugby venue in South Africa’s
…. to be continued
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