McCaw : All Blacks have kept a few tricks secret for Boks

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will make a statement on his playing future

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw says that the All Blacks have kept a few tricks under their sleeve for their Rugby World Cup Semi-final against South Africa’s Springboks.

The All Blacks will go up against each other in the first Semi-final and the winner will play either Australia or Argentina in the October 31 final.

The match is expected to be a “brutal” affair and even though the All Blacks have blown all of their opponents away at the world cup so far the Springboks insist that they can beat the defending champions.

However All Black captain Richie McCaw said, “We’ve got some things up our sleeve.”

McCaw said that the All Blacks will however have to win the forwards battle before anything else in the contest and the Springboks have welcomed the challenge.

“It’s a physical game and we pride ourselves on that,” said South African loose forward Schalk Burger.

With the All Blacks most dangerous playing a high-paced running game, the Springboks are anxious to cut them down early so they cannot reproduce the form that has seen them win six of the seven clashes between the sides since the last World Cup.

“There’s a lot of times I think we could have won. But the big thing about them is their attack is phenomenal,” Burger said.

“The times we have beaten them it starts with our defence, trying not to let them get tempo on the ball, trying to slow down their ball.

“I think the times we have beaten them is if we get seven opportunities we use all seven.”

But if South Africa think they know what is coming, then McCaw suggested they should think again.

“We realise the challenge that the Springboks are going to pose. They are going to be desperate, and we’ve got to match that. It will be brutal because of that,” the veteran flanker said.

“We will be going in with a plan, you always do, and it’s the subtle differences that often catch (the Springboks) out, rather than a miracle thing.

“We’ve got some things up our sleeve, but you don’t go out there just thinking it is going to work.

“The big boys up-front getting the set-piece right, that’s a big one you have got to get right, first and foremost.

“If you don’t get that right, no matter what you have got up your sleeve, it isn’t going to work.”

The 34-year-old McCaw, with 146 Tests to his name, welcomed the the winner-takes-all environment of the World Cup semi-final.

“They are the games I love, and if you get the odd scar from it, that’s just part and parcel,” he said.

“Being in that environment, playing that opposition with that sort of intensity is why you play the game. If we get the job done, I will take any scar that comes along with it.”

McCaw has had numerous battles with the Springboks, but singled out a 19-0 win at Cape Town seven years ago as especially memorable.

“We managed to keep the Boks scoreless,” McCaw said.

“That was a pretty cool performance. I wouldn’t mind if you asked me that question on Monday and I would say Saturday.”

Burger, whose Springbok father Schalk senior played against the 1976 Cavaliers team consisting of most of the All Blacks selected for a cancelled 1975 tour of the apartheid republic, said there was no shortage of confidence in the South Africa camp.

“It’s pretty hard to compete against guys who never seem to lose,” he said.

“They’re a great side, but in our team there’s a quiet belief.”

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