The expected return of Ma'a Nonu is set to provide the All Blacks with a much needed boost of experience ahead of their crunch Rugby Championship Test against South Africa at Eden Park on Saturday.

With captain Richie McCaw out for the next four-five weeks with a knee injury, Nonu's reintroduction at second five-eighth adds stability to the All Blacks after Francis Saili's debut against Argentina produced both the rocks and diamonds game he is renowned for.

Nonu, capped 81 times, isn't immune from a Jekyll and Hyde performance either but in an All Blacks jersey he has more often that not come up trumps.

"Yeah (it is) huge (to have Nonu back), you know it was pretty challenging last week," his partner in crime Dan Carter told media today.

"I was pretty proud of Francis, he made the most of his opportunities in a great debut but I guess it was tough not played beside him before so I guess there was missed timing with the combination.

"But having Ma'a back - he's been in good form for the All Blacks all year and he'll be looking to continue that and he's excited to play as well. To sit back last week would have been frustrating and he'll be in for a big game this weekend."

And he will need to be. This weekend Nonu will go head-to-head with in-form Springboks captain Jean de Villiers whose power running and physical presence in defence mirrors the way the South African's play the game.

Another big factor on Saturday is the set-piece. The All Blacks' scrum was far from stable against the formidable Argentinean pack last Saturday while their lineout worked ably in unfriendly conditions.

But the Springboks are a different story altogether. In Saturday's 38-12 hammering of the Wallabies, they disrupted both set piece operations and will no doubt target these area against the All Blacks.

"South Africa always have a really good lineout so we have to make sure we get our processes right and go from there. If we stick to that - we'll be fine," lock Sam Whitelock said.The wet weather forecast this Saturday will put an even big emphasis on the basics but the All Blacks believe they can adapt after last weekend's rain in Hamilton.

"We haven't played a lot of rugby this year in the conditions that we had last weekend and I think it took a while to adjust so having that experience means we're backing the learning's that we got from last weekend's game," Carter said
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