No New Zealander ever took victory for granted, which may explain why the All Blacks win as often as they do. Kieran Read, first-choice No 8 ahead of the vastly more experienced Rodney So'oialo for much of the southern hemisphere season, could be heard saying the right things yesterday, predicting that England's much-criticised pack will be in "battle royal" mode at Twickenham this weekend.
"Teams getting bagged normally put in a good performance," he said. "England will be up for it and it's our job to be ready. They have their backs to the wall, they'll be putting their bodies on the line and they'll be dangerous. I think Martin Johnson can turn it around. He always kept coming as a player and he's not going to lie down now."
Meanwhile, the Springboks play Saracens at Wembley tonight and the better-known individuals among the midweek "dirt-trackers" – the outside-half Ruan Pienaar, the centre Wynand Olivier and the prop C J Van der Linde – will face several of their countrymen, with Wikus van Heerden, Neil de Kock, Derrick Hougaard and Schalk Brits among the raft of South Africans representing the Premiership club.
Tom Shanklin has been ruled out of Wales's game with Argentina on Saturday after fracturing a bone in his nose. The centre was injured after clashing with team-mate Gethin Jenkins in the 17-13 win against Samoa on Friday. Shanklin is expected to be fit for Wales's final autumn Test against Australia on 28 November.
Jonathan Davies replaced Shanklin against Samoa and the Scarlets centre would be favourite to start against the Pumas this weekend. The Ospreys centre Andrew Bishop has been called into the Wales training camp as cover.
Eight months after leading Ireland to a Six Nations Grand Slam and a day after scoring the try that earnt his team a draw with Australia, Brian O'Driscoll has been named among seven nominees for the International Rugby Board's player of the year.
The Ireland captain and his countryman Jamie Heaslip join two South Africa players, Francois Steyn and Fourie du Preez, New Zealand's Richie McCaw, Australia's Matt Giteau and England's Tom Croft on the shortlist.
The winner will be announced after the final round of international games on 28 November.
Off key: Reggae singer hits back
Having become a pariah for butchering the South African national anthem before the match against France in Toulouse on Friday, Ras Dumisani has leapt to his defence: the reggae singer has accused organisers of the pre-match entertainment of "sabotaging" his performance. "I felt they wanted to sabotage my concert," he told a South African radio station. "I want to apologise to all the people at home." Dumisani's performance drew a volley of protest in South Africa.