Match details: All Blacks v South Africa, Saturday 2 October, 11.05pm NZT, (8.05pm local time), Cbus Stadium, Gold Coast.
Won: All Blacks 60, South Africa 36, Drawn 4
Last time: All Blacks 19, South Africa 17 (25 September 2021)
Referee: Matthew Carley
CHASING A GRAND SLAM
Victory on the Gold Coast will make it a ‘Grand Slam’ of six wins from six Tests in the Fortinet Rugby Championship for the All Blacks. The All Blacks have achieved the feat four times in the last decade with the last Grand Slam coming in 2017. Earlier in the week coach Ian Foster acknowledged the significance of the potential accomplishment. "We know to achieve what we want to achieve and to get that Grand Slam we are going to have to lift up a couple of cogs," Foster said.
SUBTLE BUT KEY CHANGES
Ian Foster has named a largely settled side with a couple of key changes in both the forwards and backs. After being ruled out with a stomach complaint late last week, Luke Jacobson returns to the line-up at No.8 with captain Ardie Savea moving to the openside. Anton Lienert-Brown returns from injury at centre with Rieko Ioane shifting to the left wing. Brad Weber gets the nod in the nine jersey with TJ Perenara on the bench. Perhaps the biggest feature of the side is the selection of Richie Mo’unga on the bench. Mo’unga left quarantine on Tuesday after delaying his arrival in Australia due to the birth of his second child.
MORE AERIAL GAMES
The Springboks adopted an aerial bombardment of the All Blacks in the first Test which led to a try in the opening five minutes and put the back three under pressure throughout the whole Test. While the tactic of box kicking while on attack deep in the All Blacks half drew plenty of raised eye brows from pundits, Springboks first five Handre Pollard said the All Blacks can expect more of the same on the Gold Coast. "The aerial contest is an aspect of the game where we feel we are the best in the world, and we work hard at it, and will keep doing it because we trust Jacques' plan and the process. It is a bit unorthodox at times, but we believe in it," Pollard said.
WORD FROM THE SKIP
All Blacks captain Ardie Savea said the experience in a tight game against South Africa last week had been a great learning curve for him and the leadership team. "I'm just trying to trust and be myself but, honestly, the leaders I have around me, they complement me, and we all complement each other." Savea also said he was looking forward to shifting back to openside flanker with Luke Jacobson back at No.8. "You love playing with fellows like that and having them beside you. I'm looking forward to being able to run alongside him this week.”
All Blacks captain Ardie Savea’s three try assists so far in the 2021 Fortinet Rugby Championship are the most by any player in the competition.
All Blacks (caps in brackets)
1. Joe Moody (53) 2. Codie Taylor (63) 3. Nepo Laulala (36) 4. Brodie Retallick (88) 5. Scott Barrett (47) 6. Akira Ioane (9) 7. Ardie Savea (55) – captain 8. Luke Jacobson (9) 9. Brad Weber (13) 10. Beauden Barrett 97) 11. Rieko Ioane (43) 12. David Havili (10) 13. Anton Lienert-Brown (52) 14. Sevu Reece (13) 15. Jordie Barrett (31)
Reserves: 16. Asafo Aumua (3) 17. George Bower. (7) 18. Ofa Tuungafasi (41) 19. Patrick Tuipulotu (40) 20. Ethan Blackadder (6) 21. TJ Perenara (74) 22. Richie Mo’unga (26) 23. Damian McKenzie (36)
1: Ox Nche, 2: Bongi Mbonambi, 3: Trevor Nyakane, 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: S’busiso Nkosi, 15: Willie le Roux.
Reserves: 16: Malcolm Marx, 17: Steven Kitshoff, 18: Vincent Koch, 19: Franco Mostert, 20: Jasper Wiese, 21: Herschel Jantjies, 22: Elton Jantjies, 23: Francois Steyn.