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All Blacks gear up for wounded Springboks

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 11/09/2016 Angelo Risso

Kieran Read of New Zealand looks to catch the ball with Beauden Barrett in support during the Rugby Championship match against Argentina at Waikato Stadium © Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images Kieran Read of New Zealand looks to catch the ball with Beauden Barrett in support during the Rugby Championship match against Argentina at Waikato Stadium All Blacks boss Steve Hansen says his side will be bracing for a bruised Springboks outfit in Christchurch next week.

The South Africans fell 23-17 to an improved Wallabies performance in Brisbane on Saturday, just hours after the world champions outclassed Argentina 57-22.

The result follows the Springboks' defeat at the hands of Los Pumas in Salta two weeks ago.

Hansen told reporters on Sunday his side would be in for a physical encounter when they meet South Africa next week.

Their opponents would be motivated to put their back-to-back losses behind them by taking the scalp of the best team in the world.

"It'll just make South Africa even harder because now they're starting to want to get out of the hole themselves," Hansen said.

"They've got some quality players and can hurt you if they get their game right."

The Johannesburg-based Lions have just come off an exceptional Super Rugby season, finishing in second place and falling in the grand final to the Hurricanes.

Lions skipper and No.8 Warren Whiteley was an inspirational presence at the back of the scrum, while first-five Elton Jantjies guided the side around the park with aplomb.

Both players, along with Lions scrum-half Faf de Klerk, make up the spine of the Springboks outfit.

However, Hansen said the Springboks' more physical style of play under new coach Allister Coetzee would take time to bed in.

Racial quotas also made team selection a challenge, with rules stipulating at least half of the Springboks outfit must be non-white by 2019.

"It takes time with new coaches and personnel," Hansen said.

The All Blacks were put under pressure by a lively Pumas outfit for the first 50 minutes of their Rugby Championship encounter in Hamilton before running over the top in the last half hour.

Disappointingly for Hansen, flanker Sam Cane pulled a hamstring early in the second half and will miss at least a month of action.

Hansen was upset to lose the Chiefs co-captain, who he felt was in the best form of his career after taking over the openside role from departed legend Richie McCaw.

Crusaders flanker Matt Todd will join the side in Cane's place and vie with the prodigious Ardie Savea for the No.7 jumper.

Hansen said the 22-year-old Savea, brother of rampaging winger Julian, had impressed in the All Blacks set-up but had plenty more to learn.

He was yet to prove he could produce the goods for a full 80 minutes and needed to put on more muscle.

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