All Blacks skipper Kieran Read talks up Springboks again

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NZN

Kieran Read isn't budging from the message the All Blacks have delivered all week in Cape Town.

The All Blacks destroyed South Africa 57-0 last time the two sides met.
Source: 1 NEWS

The Springboks are better than everyone thinks and a momentous battle awaits tomorrow morning (NZT).

The sentiment from the New Zealand skipper mirrors that of his coach and team-mates since they touched down for the last - and traditionally hardest - leg of the Rugby Championship.

Yet it runs against a torrent of widespread opinion following South Africa's 57-0 whipping from the All Blacks in Albany - the heaviest defeat in their 472-Test history. New Zealand have scored 155 points in their last three Springboks Tests.

The beleaguered Boks responded with a 27-27 home draw against Australia, a match Read believes they should have won.

Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock and Sam Cane.
New Zealand All Blacks v British and Irish Lions. 1st Rugby union test match. Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, Saturday 24 June 2017. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz

All Blacks players Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock and Sam Cane.

Source: Photosport

He says Albany was a rare Test in which the bounce of the ball favoured one team virtually throughout.

"It was 57-0 on the scoreboard but it didn't feel that way when we came off after the game and we've seen this year they've been very competitive except for that one game," Read said of the second-placed Springboks.

"We know (what they're like) when they click and when they gel, with the right motivation, which I'm sure they've got plenty of from you guys in the media."

Read says getting physically ready has been a challenge this week following the clunky 36-10 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires.

Training workloads have been reduced to cater for the travel demands of the last fortnight

Read feels that energy levels are back up to where they would normally be on the eve of a Test.

"It's really about a mental game this week, from our point of view," he said.

"It's working on the guys' relationships between different men, making sure you're having those meetings and just getting ready for the game as much as you can without doing the work."

No.8 Read's loose forward meetings with Sam Cane and Liam Squire would have been a reunion of sorts after both flankers were rested from the Pumas Test.

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