The long-awaited meeting between the Springboks and All Blacks is mere hours away, with South African fans cautiously optimistic about their chances. While the New Zealand outfit find themselves in a slump, the last two matches between the two nations had a margin of just two points.

Since the South African franchises pulled out of the Super Rugby Competition and joined the URC, there’s been no way to tell how we measure up to the Pacific nations. The nations enjoyed a long, healthy relationship, and the break-up was quite mature. That separation of ties has given this match a much bigger sense of urgency and importance.

History becons in Mpumalanga

This will be the first-ever meeting between the Boks and All Blacks in Mbombela. The two nations were scheduled to meet at the home of the Pumas in 2020. However, Covid-19 saw it called off.

The Springboks will be keen to capitalize on the Kiwis’ poor form, as the South Africans last got one over the All Blacks in their backyard, in 2014. An epic game at Ellis Park where a 27-25 win was sealed thanks to a 52-meter penalty kick from Pat Lambie.

The last time the All Blacks were in town was in 2018, when they sealed a late 32-30 win in Pretoria.

While the Springboks fell to a historic last-minute loss to Wales midway through their series last month, the Boks’ record at home has been impeccable. The Green and Gold machine won six of their last seven matches on home soil. They will be keen to improve their win/loss record against the All Blacks. The Boks have lost nine of the last twelve matches against the men from Aotearoa.

“We’ve all got some points to prove.” – Ian Foster

 

“I think it’s a big one for the southern hemisphere countries,” head coach of the All Blacks, Ian Foster, said.

“We had a July series where clearly we didn’t get what we wanted against Ireland. We’ve had England do well in Australia. We had Argentina win a close series against Scotland and we had South Africa lose their first time to Wales in their own country. So, we’ve all got some points to prove and I think for the Southern Hemisphere this Rugby Championship is a key one for us. We can’t wait to get into it.”

The Teams

All Blacks:

Backs – Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Caleb Clarke, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith.

Forwards – Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (captain), Akira Ioane, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Angus Ta’avao, Samisoni Taukei’aho, George Bower.

Reserves: Dane Coles, Ethan de Groot, Tyrel Lomax, Tupou Vaa’i, Shannon Frizell, Finlay Christie, Richie Mo’unga, Quinn Tupaea.

Springboks: 

Backs – Damian Willmese, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Lukhanyo Am, Damian Willemse, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk.

Forwards – Jasper Wiese, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Trevor Nyakane.

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Salmaan Moerat, Franco Mostert, Kwagga Smith, Jaden Hendrikse, Willie le Roux.

 

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