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Preview: South Africa v New Zealand

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Sportal.co.nz     03 Oct 2013     Getty Images

HEAD TO HEAD: Played: 86, South Africa 34, New Zealand 49, Drawn 3

LAST TIME: South Africa 15 lost to New Zealand 29, Eden Park, September 14, 2013

WALKING WOUNDED: South Africa's only injury concern was centre JJ Engelbrecht who was bracketed with Jan Serfontein when the team was selected. New Zealand have captain Richie McCaw recovered from a knee injury suffered in the side's first Test against Argentina but will have to do without tighthead prop Owen Franks who has been unable to recover quickly enough from a groin strain suffered against Argentina last weekend.

FORM: The sides are clearly the form sides in the competition with the only loss either has suffered being the match at Eden Park where South Africa spent so much time with only 14 men on the field due to Bismarck du Plessis' issues. South Africa have been attempting to develop a more expansive game, a style that has suited them against the competition lesser lights Argentina and Australia. New Zealand have been continuing their development, both in game style and in bringing younger players through, probably the most significant aspect of their season.

WE THINK: The game has all the hallmarks of a classic, one to fit the intense rivalry developed between the sides since 1921. The fact that it will be played on the spiritual home, in New Zealand eyes at least, of South African rugby, Ellis Park, lends even more lustre to the contest. Much has been made of South Africa's need to win with a four-try bonus point while denying New Zealand a bonus point. That approach brings its own issues, and pressures, for the home team who will be looking to assert themselves physically, from the outset. The need to throw more ball around also increases risks for those who are not so used to playing that way under pressure. New Zealand know what to expect and will be looking to their defensive co-ordination to hold the line and frustrate the home side into risk. It will be a classic chess match. We pick New Zealand by 5.

TEAMS:

South Africa: 1.Tendai Mtawarira, 2.Bismarck du Plessis, 3.Jannie du Plessis, 4.Eben Etzebeth, 5.Juandre Kruger, 6.Francois Louw, 7.Willem Alberts, 8.Duane Vermeulen, 9.Fourie du Preez, 10.Morne Steyn, 11.Bryan Habana, 12..Jean de Villiers (c), 13.JJ Engelbrecht/Jan Serfontein, 14. Willie le Roux, 15. Zane Kirchner.

Reserves: 16.Adriaan Strauss, 17.Gurthro Steenkamp, 18. Coenie Oosthuizen, 19.Franco van der Merwe, 20.Siya Kolisi, 21.Ruan Pienaar, 22.Pat Lambie.


New Zealand: 1.Tony Woodcock, 2.Andrew Hore, 3.Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, 5.Samuel Whitelock, 6.Liam Messam, 7.Sam Cane, 8.Kieran Read (captain), 9.Aaron Smith, 10.Aaron Cruden, 11.Julian Savea, 12.Ma'a Nonu, 13.Conrad Smith, 14.Ben Smith, 15.Israel Dagg.

Reserves: 16.Keven Mealamu, 17.Wyatt Crockett, 18.Charlie Faumuina, 19.Jeremy Thrush, 20.Steven Luatua, 21.Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22.Beauden Barrett, 23.Charles Piutau.