PREVIEW: All Blacks v South Africa (Johannesburg)

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Match details: All Blacks v South Africa, Sunday 14 August, 3.05am NZT (local time: Saturday 13 August, 5.05pm), Emirates Airlines Park (Ellis Park), Johannesburg


Played: 102

Won: All Blacks 60, South Africa 38, Drawn 4

Last time: All Blacks 10, South Africa 26 (6 August 2022)

Referee: Luke Pearce




The All Blacks have made big changes up front with props Ethan de Groot and Tyrel Lomax gaining their first starts of 2022 alongside impressive hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho. On the bench, 69-Test veteran Codie Taylor returns in place of Dane Coles while Crusaders strongman Fletcher Newell is in line for a Test debut. Other changes to the starting side include the elevation of Shannon Frizell from the bench into the six jersey and Richie Mo’unga starting in the 10 jersey for the first time in 2022 with Beauden Barrett shifting to the bench. Ian Foster said he had full faith in the ability of the front row to match the intensity of the Springboks up front. "Ethan and Tyrell both played well last week. They're both strong scrummagers. And, we're looking at a bit of a change-up, particularly with Fletcher Newell coming off the bench for his first Test and having Cody [Taylor] and George [Bower] alongside him in the second half, at a time that the South Africans have a big focus on the scrum,” Foster said.




South Africa has made six changes to their side with the most eye-catching coming at No.8 where veteran Duane Vermeulen returns. Coach Jacques Nienaber welcomed the 35-year-old back by saying he was an enforcer, both on attack and defence, who would be keen to make his mark against an old foe. Nienaber said: "If you've played as many Test matches as Duane has, I don't think you can prepare for a game against the All Blacks any differently that you already have with that amount of experience”. There are also changes in the front row where Bongi Mbonambi starts ahead of Malcolm Marx at hooker and Ox Nche replaces Trevor Nyakane at loosehead prop. Jaden Hendrikse will start at halfback after replacing Faf de Klerk 40 seconds into the first Test, while Jesse Kriel is in for the suspended Kurt-Lee Arendse on the right wing.



Much like how Eden Park holds mythical status for touring teams to New Zealand, so to does Ellis Park for visiting teams in South Africa. The intimidating arena holds over 60,000 fans and has played host to some of South Africa’s greatest moments – including the 1995 Rugby World Cup final victory over the All Blacks. The All Blacks record of five wins from 14 Tests played at Ellis Park shows just how hard it is to gain victory on South Africa’s hallowed ground. Richie Mo’unga said it didn’t get any bigger than a Test match against the Springboks at Ellis Park. "Nothing compares to it. For me, this is the pinnacle. This is where you want to be playing - against a team that is awesome,” Mo’unga said. "The noise, 60,000, the altitude, you feel the blood in your lungs, you can taste that but just understanding the history that has gone there before. It's a privilege to be able to have the opportunity to play at a place like that."




All Blacks coach Ian Foster said no one had gone through the Rugby Championship winning six out of six games since 2017, and the All Blacks hadn't beaten South Africa twice since the same year. "The challenge is still there. We're not out of anything. I know there's a lot of messaging that says we are, but we're not,” said Foster. "We think this is a massive chance for us to go into a big ground, a massive occasion and, again, show that we are growing our game. And, that's our goal."



South Africa have won 37% of their Test matches against the All Blacks – the highest win rate of any team in history against the All Blacks. The next highest is Australia with a win percentage of 26% against the All Blacks.

TEAMS (caps in brackets)


All Blacks (* denotes debut)


1. Ethan de Groot (5) 2. Samisoni Taukei’aho (12) 3. Tyrel Lomax (15) 4. Sam Whitelock (135) 5. Scott Barrett (51) 6. Shannon Frizell (18) 7. Sam Cane © (81) 8. Ardie Savea (63) 9. Aaron Smith (106) 10. Richie Mo’unga (36) 11. Caleb Clarke (6) 12. David Havili (17) 13. Rieko Ioane (51) 14. Will Jordan (16) 15. Jordie Barrett (40)


Reserves: 16. Codie Taylor (69) 17. George Bower (15) 18. Fletcher Newell * 19. Tupou Vaa’i (13) 20. Akira Ioane (15) 21. Finlay Christie (7) 22. Beauden Barrett (105) 23. Quinn Tupaea (10)


South Africa

1. Ox Nche (10) 2. Bongi Mbonambi (51) 3. Frans Malherbe (49) 4. Eben Etzebeth (101) 5. Lood de Jager (59) 6. Siya Kolisi (66) - captain 7. Pieter-Steph du Toit (61) 8. Duane Vermeulen (61) 9. Jaden Hendrikse (5) 10. Handre Pollard (63) 11. Makazole Mapimpi (28) 12. Damian de Allende (61) 13. Lukhanyo Am (29) 14. Jesse Kriel (52) 15. Damian Willemse (19)


Reserves:16. Malcolm Marx (50) 17. Steven Kitshoff (62) 18. Vincent Koch (35) 19. Franco Mostert (54) 20. Jasper Wiese (14) 21. Kwagga Smith (22) 22. (4) 23. Willie le Roux (75)



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