Sun. Oct 24th, 2021


Siya Kolisi and Ardie Savea will captain South Africa and New Zealand on Saturday, live on Sky Sports

Siya Kolisi and Ardie Savea will captain South Africa and New Zealand on Saturday, live on Sky Sports

Sparks are guaranteed to fly when the All Blacks and South Africa meet for the first time since the last World Cup this weekend, as the Rugby Championship plays host to the 100th clash between the nations.

New Zealand will be strongly favoured to wrap up a 12th southern hemisphere championship title with a win at North Queensland Stadium, live on Sky Sports, but there is a lot more than that at stake in a fierce rivalry that goes back a century.

The All Blacks prevailed in a high-quality pool clash at the 2019 World Cup but it was the Springboks who headed home from Japan with the Webb Ellis Trophy, their third triumph matching New Zealand’s record.

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The South Africans missed last year’s Rugby Championship because of the COVID-19 pandemic and were bumped off the top of the world rankings by the All Blacks in the wake of a second successive loss to Australia last week.

While New Zealand have enjoyed by far the better of the rivalry since South Africa returned from their Apartheid-era isolation, the fixture still holds a special place in the rugby calendar for both nations.

“The whole of the country is really excited about playing South Africa again and that’s a mark of respect for them, isn’t it?” All Blacks coach Ian Foster said on Thursday.

“We’re no different, we’ve had an eye on this. There’s a lot on the line for them and a lot on the line for us.”

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster says he is aware the whole nation is excited for Saturday's Test

New Zealand head coach Ian Foster says he is aware the whole nation is excited for Saturday’s Test

Foster has put out the best side available to him, bringing Beauden Barrett back at fly-half and loading up his pack with gnarly veterans for a huge forward battle in the first of two Tests in two weeks against the the Boks.

Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber, who apologised to fans after the second loss to the Wallabies last week, has also gone for experience as his team bids to keep alive their slender hopes of winning the championship.

“It’s always a massive task to face the All Blacks,” said Nienaber. “We know that we need to deliver a quality 80-minute performance against them to turn the corner after two disappointing defeats.”

South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber knows a tough task awaits, but needs a response following two losses

South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber knows a tough task awaits, but needs a response following two losses

Kolisi: Boks must execute our game-plan

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi says his side have no special plans to counter the threat of New Zealand and that executing their own game-plan better is key for them on Saturday.

The world champions are smarting after back-to-back losses to Australia that have allowed New Zealand to take the number one world ranking, and Kolisi acknowledged the Springboks last two performances dropped far below the standard they set for themselves.

For Kolisi, Saturday’s Test is all about returning to what has made his team successful in the last few years: an accurate kicking game and forward domination through their pack.

“We have been disappointed losing two games in a row, but our main focus has been on looking at what we have done and to improve on it,” Kolisi told media on Friday.

“Against Australia we deviated from our usual plan and paid for it, now we want to go back to what has made us successful.

Siya Kolisi says the Boks must execute their game-plan, and also reminded many of his team-mates they have beaten the All Blacks before

Siya Kolisi says the Boks must execute their game-plan, and also reminded many of his team-mates they have beaten the All Blacks before

“We messed up things we normally get right, so we want to get on top of what we need to do.

“It’s tough to lose two in a row, we want to win every game. But the biggest thing we have focused on is to get our stuff right this weekend.”

Kolisi has called on his teammates to remember how they beat the All Blacks in Wellington in 2018, handing New Zealand a rare home defeat with many of the current Boks involved in that game.

“I have told the guys we are not being asked to do something we have not done before. A lot of this side have won against the All Blacks,” he said.

“As a team we have our own plans, systems and goals, and as players we know what people at home (in South Africa) are expecting and want to see happen tomorrow.”

South Africa were dispatched 30-17 by Australia in their Rugby Championship clash last week

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South Africa were dispatched 30-17 by Australia in their Rugby Championship clash last week

South Africa were dispatched 30-17 by Australia in their Rugby Championship clash last week

Australia were able to stop South Africa’s vaunted rolling maul in the 30-17 win in Brisbane last weekend and were also vastly superior at the breakdown.

“New Zealand and Australia stop the maul differently and we have sorted that out,” Kolisi said. “At the breakdown, we will not do anything different, it is just about executing properly.”

Savea: All Blacks wary of wounded Springboks

All Blacks captain Ardie Savea says it is scary to think what the under-fire Springboks will bring to the contest when the southern hemisphere superpowers meet for the 100th time.

“Regardless of previous results, when the two nations collide, it’s a big one,” Savea told media on Friday.

“They’re under pressure with the previous results they’ve had, under pressure back home in their own country and when you say it like that, it’s a scary thought.

“In the 100th Test match, we can expect what the Springboks are going to come and do, and we’ve acknowledged that. We’ve tried to just think about ourselves and at the same time have at the back of our minds what’s to come.”

Savea, who captains the All Blacks in the absence of Sam Cane and Sam Whitelock, says NZ are wary of South Africa but know what's coming

Savea, who captains the All Blacks in the absence of Sam Cane and Sam Whitelock, says NZ are wary of South Africa but know what’s coming

The hulking loose forward said he was unable to feel his body the day after his first encounter with the Springboks in 2016 and expects no less of a physical test on Saturday.

“The All Blacks against the Springboks is one of the most iconic Test matches ever played in rugby,” he added.

“We all know what the South Africans are like and how they play. They’re very big, physical men and they just want to dominate. So, it’s an exciting challenge and it’s something I hope I’m ready for.”

While New Zealand could wrap up the Rugby Championship title with a victory on Saturday, Savea suggested that there was much more on the line than that.

New Zealand secured a comfortable 36-13 victory over Argentina in their most recent Rugby Championship clash

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New Zealand secured a comfortable 36-13 victory over Argentina in their most recent Rugby Championship clash

New Zealand secured a comfortable 36-13 victory over Argentina in their most recent Rugby Championship clash

“There’s obviously been a lot of hype around this being the 100th Test match and us being number one,” Savea said.

“For us, this is how we measure ourselves, against the Springboks, because they are world champions.”

Team News

New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara; 1 Joe Moody, 2 Codie Taylor, 3 Nepo Laulala, 4 Brodie Retallick, 5 Scott Barrett, 6 Akira Ioane, 7 Ardie Savea (c), 8 Luke Jacobson.

Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Quinn Tupaea.

Brothers Scott and Beauden Barrett are just two of the players Foster is able to recall for New Zealand

Brothers Scott and Beauden Barrett are just two of the players Foster is able to recall for New Zealand

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk; 1 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 3 Frans Malherbe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Lood de Jager, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 7 Kwagga Smith, 8 Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn.





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