RECAP: New Zealand v South Africa
READERS’ FORUM: Welcome to this Rugby Championship Round Two encounter between New Zealand and South Africa in Wellington.
This is international rugby’s most intense international rivalry.
Prediction: New Zealand has won 12 of their last 14 Tests against South Africa, including a 32-30 win in their most recent encounter. South Africa picked up a 36-34 victory over New Zealand in their last clash in New Zealand and will be looking to win consecutive iterations of such fixtures for just the third time in Test history (1937 & 2008/2009). New Zealand has won 22 of their last 25 Tests, including their last two on the bounce. New Zealand has won 20 of their previous 24 Tests played at Westpac Stadium. However, they have lost two of their last three at the venue, including a two-point defeat to South Africa. South Africa have won three of their last four Tests after having won only two of their six prior to that run. South Africa have won only two of their last 12 games away from home in The Rugby Championship; though, they will be looking to pick up back-to-back wins in such fixtures for the first time since 2013. New Zealand (77 percent) and South Africa (62 percent) have the two highest win rates of any Tier One teams in Test rugby history. New Zealand needs just six more points to become the first team in Test rugby history to score 16,000 points – no other team is yet to break the 14,000 mark. South Africa scored two tries within the final quarter of their 35-17 win over Australia in Round One of The Rugby Championship 2019 -as many as they had managed in that period across the entire 2018 campaign. Ngani Laumape (New Zealand) gained 7.2m per carry in Round 1 of The Rugby Championship 2019, the most of any player to make at least 10 carries. History favours the All Blacks. In the last 10 matches between New Zealand and South Africa, New Zealand has won eight, South Africa two. In World Rugby’s rankings, New Zealand is ranked top, South African fifth. New Zealand would be expected to win – at home, a more settled side that looks like an A team while the Springboks still have an experimental air about them, and yet everybody knows that every man in those two teams on Saturday will be giving of his fearless best, going flat out to win. In the full knowledge that prediction is mainly futile madness, we suggest that New Zealand will win by about eight points.
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New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Thomas Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 George Bridge.
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Rudolph Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel.
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)