There will be no surprises when New Zealand and South Africa meet tonight (8.05pm AEST) in the final match of the Rugby Championship on the Gold Coast.
Both teams already have made their focus clear: same as last week, only better.
The All Blacks beat the Springboks 19-17 — with a last minute penalty — in the 100th match between the teams last weekend to clinch the championship title.
There were already few secrets between the teams ahead of last week’s match.
South Africa sent up a barrage of high kicks, even in the attacking half, and New Zealand did its best to defuse them.
Both teams say the formula for winning tonight is simply playing those parts better, and the All Blacks have adjusted their backline to add more aerial skill.
But the predictability of the tactics and invariability of South Africa’s kicking game made dull what should have been a milestone match in one of rugby’s greatest rivalries.
South Africa’s argument that it is a winning style has been undermined by their three losses in consecutive weeks — two to Australia — which have seen it topple from first place in world rankings.
“When it comes to the aerial contest, we think we are the best in the world and that is something we work hard on,” flyhalf Handre Pollard said.
Pollard, along with scrumhalf Faf de Klerk, has the responsibility of putting the kicking game into operation.
“I think we will keep doing it because we trust our process and we trust our plan,” Pollard said.
“It is a bit unorthodox I guess, but we believe in it.”
Pollard says that belief has survived its series of losses.
“You would think losing a couple on the road will dent your confidence,” he said.
“But we just have so much belief in the process and we get confidence from preparation and we get confidence from each other.”
All Blacks coach Ian Foster has tweaked his back three to cope better with the high ball barrage, bringing in Sevu Reece on the right wing and moving Rieko Ioane to the left.
Foster refused to criticise the Springboks kicking game and went further, saying some criticism had gone too far.
“I think it’s gone over the top a little bit,” he said.
“I think (we’ve) got to be careful when it borders on disrespect for a team. They’ve chosen a style to play and it’s been very effective for them. It was very effective back in 2009 when they hailed bombs on the All Blacks and we lost three or four in a row to them. So it’s not like this is new.
“The last thing I think we should be doing, or the last thing we will do as an All Black team is pass judgment on that, because last week we saw how effective and good they are at it. We’ve just got to be as good at our game.”
The All Blacks likely will make some minor changes to their approach, trying to attack more effectively off fetched kicks.
Brad Weber, who replaces TJ Perenara at scrumhalf, brings an attacking threat around the fringes.
New Zealand will also try to lift the tempo and increase the continuity of the match to test a Springboks team they suspect lacks fitness when forced to play at pace.