South Africa v New Zealand - Teams and Prediction
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND SIX: Springbok captain Siya Kolisi says it’s his team’s execution that is the problem and not the game plan as they prepare for their final Rugby Championship clash this weekend.
The Springboks plan to unleash another box-kick bombardment against the All Blacks on Saturday as the world champions face the prospect of four straight defeats for the first time since 2016.
The South Africans continually punted the ball high in a tight 17-19 loss to New Zealand last week and believe the game plan can deliver victory in the return fixture on Australia’s Gold Coast.
“Our game plan gets us to where we want to be and all we need to do is just take those opportunities when we get there,” Kolisi told reporters during an online media conference on Friday.
“We are not going to change our game plan, but we are going to look in front of us and take those opportunities in front of us.
“That’s why we do what we do, to get into positions to play rugby. If you look at the World Cup, we did the same thing and that is how we scored our tries.
“It wasn’t because we were playing amazing rugby, it was because of turnovers and we were able to score.
“I remember Cheslin’s try [in the World Cup Final]. Somebody knocked it on and Pieter-Steph [du Toit] picked it up and sent it went wide and we had a mismatch.
“That’s where our kicking game gets us to. Now that we are failing it is because we are not taking those opportunities when we work to get into a perfect position.
“As a team, we need to keep on doing what we are doing, but when the opportunity comes we have to take it.”
Expect the unexpected
Meanwhile, All Blacks coach Ian Foster knows another aerial battle awaits his team, but he is also preparing his team for the unexpected.
While the Boks still opted for a kick-oriented game in the second Test against Australia two weeks ago, they added some expansive running into their repertoire and tried to exploit their opposition out wide.
The tactic wasn’t necessarily especially effective, however, with the backs looking uncertain what to do will ball in hand and passes often finding the turf.
“We’ve got to come prepared for that because we’ve seen them do that in the past,” Foster said.
“We’ve seen them do that in the second test against the Wallabies.”
The All Blacks have moved Rieko Ioane to the wing and they have brought in Sevu Reece to help with the aerial contests this week.
Assistant coach John Plumtree said he knows what is coming this weekend in terms of the kicking game.
“It’s a different way to build pressure, isn’t it?” Plumtree said earlier this week.
“We’ll know what to expect next week now because they’ll definitely bring that again.”
Preview continues below…
Players to watch
For South Africa: There will be a spotlight on Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard again. The Springboks’ game plan is very predictable and there will be some interest to see whether those two players can vary their play, especially on attack. If the Boks do send more ball out wide, it could be interesting to see what a player like Lukhanyo Am can do with it. He is a strong ball runner in the No.13 jersey, but most of his work in recent weeks involved defending. In the pack, Retshegofaditswe ‘Ox’ Nché will start at loosehead prop and he has shown in past games that he can bring more in open play than some of the more experienced players in his position. Siya Kolisi was the Boks’ best player on the field last weekend and he will need to bring more of the same against a powerful All Blacks side.
For New Zealand: There are some big changes to the backline after some nervy performances under the high ball last week. Sevu Reece and Rieko Ioane are the wings this week and they have a big job on their hands trying to secure possession when Faf de Klerk launches those box kicks. Brad Weber gets the No.9 jersey and he can be very dangerous around the rucks. He also has plenty of speed to change the tempo of the game. In the pack, Luke Jacobson is at No.8. He was due to start last week’s match, but had to withdraw because of illness. The 24-year-old is a powerful ball-runner and he gets stuck in when it comes to work at the breakdowns. Hooker Codie Taylor was phenomenal with ball in hand last week and the Boks will do well not to give him too much space.
Head to head
- New Zealand have lost only one of their last 11 men’s Tests against South Africa (W9, D1), and are undefeated in their last four meetings (W3, D1); though, only one of those four fixtures was decided by a margin of more than two points on the day.
- New Zealand have lost only one of their 12 men’s Tests in Australia against teams other than the Wallabies (W11), a 15-25 defeat to Argentina in November 2020.
- South Africa boast the best line-out (89 percent) and scrum success rate (97 percent) of any team in the 2021 edition of The Rugby Championship; although, the Springboks are the only team yet to score a try starting possession from a scrum in the tournament this year.
- Malcolm Marx (South Africa) has a 92 percent success rate on his line-out throws in the Rugby Championship this year (33/36) – the best rate of any player to make at least three throws.
- Ardie Savea (New Zealand) has provided three try assists in the 2021 edition of the Rugby Championship, the most by any player in the tournament.
@rugby265com: All Blacks by six points.
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Albertus Smith, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nché.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn.
New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 David Havili, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Ardie Savea (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 George Bower, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Damian McKenzie.
Date: Saturday, October 2
Venue: Robina Stadium, Gold Coast
Kick-off: 20.05 (23.05 NZST, 12.05 SA time; 10.05 GMT)
Expected weather: It will be partly cloudy but warm with a high of 27°C and a low of 15°C.
Referee: Matthew Carley (ENG)
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy (AUS), Jordan Way (AUS)
TMO: Brett Cronan (AUS)
@rugby365com, @RugbyPass & AFP
* Statistics provided by Opta Sports