Match details: All Blacks v South Africa, Saturday 25 September, 7.05pm NZT, (5.05pm local time), QLD Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Won: All Blacks 59, South Africa 36, Drawn 4
Last time: All Blacks 23, South Africa 13 (21 September 2019)
Referee: Luke Pearce
There are many great rivalries in rugby but arguably none match the intensity, passion and competitiveness of the All Blacks and Springboks. Since the first Test 100 years ago at Dunedin’s Carisbrook, the two great rivals have stamped their place in rugby history with numerous epic encounters and classic moments. The All Blacks winning percentage of 59.60 against South Africa is its lowest against any nation - underlining what a tough rival South Africa is for the team in black. Visit our #NZLvRSA100 HUB to get fully immersed in the rivalry.
The All Blacks have selected their strongest scrumagging combination to take on the rugged South Africans upfront. Joe Moody retains his place in the number one jersey after a long injury lay off while Codie Taylor returns at hooker and Nepo Laulala is back at tighthead prop. The Springboks have named a strong starting front row in the form of Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe. Even more ominous is their bench with Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Koch all poised to make an impact later in the game. The All Blacks have also named three front rowers on the bench - Samisoni Taukei’aho, Karl Tu’inukuafe and Ofa Tuungafasi.
PREVIOUS FORM MEANS NOTHING
All Blacks coach Ian Foster said despite South Africa coming into the game on the back of two losses to the Wallabies, they cannot be underestimated in Townsville. "What we have learned is not to be surprised at the intensity of the opponent's build up and not to get lulled into a sense of their previous two weeks and their previous form and think that that is going to be an indicator of what happens on Saturday," Foster said. "We've had a lot of big games already but this has got a bit of a legacy moment about it, 100 Tests and 100 years and that has made it a bit special and so does the fact we haven't played South Africa for a couple of years and we've got a bunch of players that are really keen to measure themselves.”
SCRUM HALF BATTLE
One of the most intriguing head-to-head battles on the park will come in the nine jersey where the Springboks world class halfback Faf de Klerk will take on the highly-skilled TJ Perenara. De Klerk has faced off several times in the past against Aaron Smith and said that Perenara offers an equally difficult challenge to mark. "TJ has several Test caps, and he's a special player. They (Smith and Perenara) play a similar style but also add their own spice. So, it's going to be great to play against him,: de Klerk said.
The All Blacks are on a winning streak of nine Tests in a row. The last time they won more tests on the bounce was an 18-Test winning streak that ended in 2016.
All Blacks (caps in brackets)
1. Joe Moody (52) 2. Codie Taylor (62) 3. Nepo Laulala (35) 4. Brodie Retallick (87) 5. Scott Barrett (46) 6. Akira Ioane (8) 7. Ardie Savea (54) – captain 8. Luke Jacobson (9) 9. TJ Perenara (73) 10.Beauden Barrett (96) 11. George Bridge (15) 12. David Havili (9) 13. Rieko Ioane (42) 14. Will Jordan (8) 15. Jordie Barrett (30)
Reserves: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho (6) 17. Karl Tu’inukuafe (22) 18. Ofa Tuungafasi (40) 19. Patrick Tuipulotu (39) 20. Ethan Blackadder (5) 21. Brad Weber (12) 22. Damian McKenzie (35) 23. Quinn Tupaea (3)
1: Trevor Nyakane, 2: Bongi Mbonambi, 3: Frans Malherbe, 4: Eben Etzebeth, 5: Lood de Jager, 6: Siya Kolisi (capt), 7: Kwagga Smith, 8: Duane Vermeulen, 9: Faf de Klerk, 10: Handre Pollard, 11: Makazole Mapimpi, 12: Damian de Allende, 13: Lukhanyo Am, 14: Sbu Nkosi, 15: Willie le Roux.
Reserves: 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