'Seriously the hardest ground to play at': Ex All Black on what awaits the team
By Rugby Onslaught

‘Seriously the hardest ground to play at’: Ex All Black on what awaits the team

As epic as the atmosphere was last week at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, one thing that has been emphasised time and time again this week is that the atmosphere will another go up another notch as South Africa host the All Blacks again at Ellis Park.

Jacques Nienaber’s side recorded their biggest win over the All Blacks in 94 years last weekend and now head to maybe the home of South African rugby in Johannesburg.

This is a ground that has produced some epic encounters between the two sides, including their 2013 match which many cite as one of the greatest games ever. It is the first time that they will meet there since 2015, but the All Blacks actually hold a 2-1 record over the Boks there over the past decade. That was a different All Blacks side to this one though.

One player who faced the Springboks at Ellis Park on four occasions in his career, including the 1995 World Cup final, is former All Blacks flanker Josh Kronfeld. The 54-cap international played his last ever Test match at the ground, and may not have the fondest memories of it having lost three of his four matches there.

He joined The Crowd Goes Wild this week to give an insight into what it is like to play at Ellis Park, and gave quite a theatrical description.

“It’s intense,” the former Leicester Tigers loose forward said.

“The ground starts like five metres from the touchline and it goes straight up five storeys. When you walk in there the noise hits you and it’s like ‘BANG’, you get smashed. It’s just pure energy. Then on top of that, you’ve got the whole altitude thing to deal with and you don’t know when it’s going to hit you. It’s seriously the hardest ground to play at.”