Graham Henry says the Test in Port Elizabeth on Saturday is a must-win for the Springboks.
The All Blacks coach was happy to play mind games in a recent press conference, but what he said was true.
Henry picked a second string squad as nine players, including Dan Carter and Richie McCaw, were left behind in New Zealand. The All Blacks will field unsettled combinations in this weekend’s game, with several players returning from injury. The Boks also have home advantage.
Bok head coach Peter de Villiers downplayed last Saturday’s 14-9 defeat to the Wallabies, adding that ‘they only lost on the scoreboard’. However, with this their final Test before the World Cup in September, Henry believes the Boks need to pick up a victory to add confidence to their tournament preparations.
‘I think it’s hell of an important [for the Boks to win]. I would think Peter [de Villiers] and John [Smit] and the team will be desperate. It would just give them the little kick they need going into the World Cup. They haven’t got another game so I would think it is vital for them to win,’ argued Henry before pausing then saying with a smile that he was ‘adding a little bit more pressure’ on the hosts.
‘The South Africans are due for a win and they will be on the edge of the edge, I’d imagine,’ he continued. ‘They have picked a side that is obviously going to be very physical and carries the ball well. They have also got kicking ability, so I think it is going to be a major contest for this group [All Blacks team to play in PE].’