Bullying the bully, is AB’s recipe

All Blacks inside centre Aaron Mauger says the key to beating the Springboks is to bully them first.

Mauger said last weekend’s test should have been 60 points and emphasised that the All Blacks were intent on a similar approach at Rustenburg. He told the New Zealand media the All Blacks loved playing up north in South Africa because of the good weather and the fast playing surface.

Mauger, a Crusader, said the All Blacks followed a similar blueprint to the Crusaders when playing South African teams.

“The Bulls are similar to the South Africans (Springboks), it’s all about forward dominance and having a crack. We found if we took the opportunities away from them they got a bit bored with the game. We just worked harder than them, we chased hard, we got back and helped and counter attacked, so that was pretty much all that game was about.

“We stopped their momentum, set our line up quicker and knocked over their big boys as much as we could.

“If you take away a team’s strengths, it’s like a bully I suppose. We see them as bullies, we try to get up in their faces and bully them back.”

Mauger said the All Blacks cursed the fact that they did not get 60 points, as the opportunities were there to go for the Bok jugular.

“We’ve talked about being expansive and seeing if we can take our game to a new level, which is exciting,” Mauger said. “Our approach will be pretty similar to last week (a 45-26 win in Pretoria). We always talk about finishing the job better than we started it. We’ve probably gone up all year and the standard of opposition’s gone up, so you have to keep rising.

“We bombed a couple of tries last week so it could quite easily have been 60 points.”