Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Kieran Read: Good start crucial against Boks

All Blacks captain Kieran Read, during the New Zealand All Blacks team training session held at AMI Stadium, Christchurch. Photo / Brett Phibbs.
All Blacks captain Kieran Read, during the New Zealand All Blacks team training session held at AMI Stadium, Christchurch. Photo / Brett Phibbs.

After toiling against the Pumas for the first 50 minutes in Hamilton last weekend, the All Blacks are looking for a powerful start against the Springboks at AMI Stadium.

After putting the finishing touches on the team's preparations on a warm afternoon in Christchurch, skipper Kieran Read spoke of wanting to make a good early impression against a team with plenty to prove after consecutive defeats.

"Our start is pretty important," he said. "We don't really want to be focusing too much on them but if we can get a start in terms of our physicality and intensity in our own play, the scoreboard does funny things to teams.

"If we can get a lead obviously that helps, but we know it will take a big effort against the Boks tomorrow night."

The only change to the starting team which beat Argentina 57-22 at Waikato Stadium is Sam Cane's replacement Ardie Savea, and Read said the 22-year-old had prepared well this week for his first start in a test.

"He's been awesome since he's come in over the last couple of months. I think he's pretty excited. He hasn't said too much, which is a good sign I think. He's raring to go."

The TAB have installed the All Blacks as heavy favourites to continue their winning streak, which now stands at 14 matches, pricing the home side at $1.04, with the Boks at $9 for the win.

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