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Boks gear up for tough All Blacks challenge

Am feels new Rugby Championship format favours SA

Athenkosi Tsotsi Sports Reporter
Lukhanyo Am and Andre Esterhuizen arrive for the Springboks training session at Numbi Primary School in Hazyview, Mpumalanga on July 27 2022.
Lukhanyo Am and Andre Esterhuizen arrive for the Springboks training session at Numbi Primary School in Hazyview, Mpumalanga on July 27 2022.
Image: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images

Springbok star Lukhanyo Am believes that playing the All Blacks on home soil in the Rugby Championship will be an advantage for them.

The Boks will take on their counterparts from New Zealand in back-to-back games next month in Mbombela and Johannesburg.

As part of the new Rugby Championship format, the All Blacks will tour SA, moving away from the home and away format. This is a change that's aimed at reducing travel to help with player welfare by organisers Sanzaar, an amalgamation of the SA, Australian, New Zealand and Argentinian rugby unions

The Springboks and All Blacks met on neutral ground last season, playing two games in Australia, winning one a piece. 

The sides have had contrasting fortunes going into the Rugby Championship. The Boks have momentum after winning their incoming series against Wales while New Zealand are in a shambles after they lost theirs to Ireland. 

Am, who was speaking to the media from Mpumalanga during a virtual press conference, knows that they will have to be on top of their game when taking on the All Blacks.

“As a team we are in a good position after winning the Wales series. However, we know that the All Blacks are a very big team,”  said Am. 

“We have to be determined and make sure we are well prepared. This is a derby we are looking forward to. On our side we are busy with preparations so we can play well and face New Zealand in the two games. 

“When you play the All Blacks you have to be on your A game all the time. It'll be good to play against the New Zealand players, it's a good opportunity for us,” he said. 

Many in the rugby fraternity will tell you that Am is the best player in the world in their books. In the last year he was named the best No 13 in the world after a stellar season.

“On my side I'm just happy to be fit and without any injuries. This is a team sport. I'll try to do my best, do my job and contribute to the team. If we do well then my game will also stand out,” said Am.  

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