WELLINGTON – The All Blacks are done with basking in the glory of claiming a third successive Rugby Championship title, focused instead on avenging their shock loss to South Africa when the sides meet in Pretoria on Saturday, halfback TJ Perenara said.
Steve Hansen’s side sealed the tournament with a game to spare by beating Argentina on the weekend but the pain of the 36-34 defeat to the Springboks in Wellington on Sept. 15 remains.
“We’re so focused on the next job and winning games and being the best footy players that we can be that we don’t often have time to reflect on what we’ve achieved,” Perenara, who celebrated his 50th cap in the 35-17 Velez Sarsfield win, told New Zealand media.
“It’s similar to the case now. We’ve finished that game and my mind’s not about my 50th game, my mind’s on (this) week in Pretoria and trying to right a wrong from a couple of weeks ago.
“That will be a part of the motivation. Knowing they beat us a couple of weeks ago is disappointing and it hurts.
“Our major motivator is that we want to be better than we were the week before… if we don’t improve on what we did tonight (against Argentina) that’s a failure for us. We need to be growing day to day and week to week.”
The All Blacks head into the match at Loftus Versfeld with renewed confidence in flyhalf Beauden Barrett’s kicking. He enjoyed a perfect night off the tee against Argentina after missing four of his six shots against South Africa.
“That’s the kind of character he is,” Perenara said.
“He doesn’t read too much into the hype or what the media say or what you guys or the critics say. He does his job. Every now and then he’ll miss a couple of kicks, but that’s part of being a goal kicker.” (Reuters)