Match Details: New Zealand v South Africa, Twickenham, August 25, 7.30 pm (6.30 am Saturday NZT)
Won: New Zealand 62, South Africa 38, Drawn 4
Last time: All Blacks 35-20 South Africa, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, July 15, 2023
Referee: Matthew Carley
Since their last meeting in Auckland last month, the All Blacks have wrapped up both the Lipovitan-D Rugby Championship and the Bledisloe Cup with two wins over Australia 38-7 and 23-20, while South Africa have beaten Argentina twice, 22-21 and 24-13 and Wales 52-16.
NO COTTON WOOL
Coach Ian Foster said when announcing his side for Friday, "The gap between the last Test and the France game [at the World Cup] is too big for us to use this game as a cotton wool exercise. We've got two or three players we're looking after from an injury perspective but it's a great Test two weeks before a World Cup. The only way to go into this is full throttle. If you go in half-hearted and worrying about the consequences those things are almost guaranteed to happen. The same thing is going to happen in the World Cup. You don't want injuries in any game. This is ideal for us. It's the sort of build-up we need to make sure we keep climbing our performance levels."
South Africa will have a new midfield combination with Andre Esterhuizen at second five-eighths and dynamic wing Canan Moodie at centre. Coach Jacques Nienaber said, "The All Blacks will provide a different challenge to Wales, and we believe this group of players is the right mix for this match. New Zealand play a high-tempo game, and they turn on the intensity from the starting whistle as they showed in Auckland, so it's vital we start well this week. We took the lessons from that match, and we've built good momentum since, so this will be a fantastic Test before we went our Rugby World Cup campaign." Experienced lock Eben Etzebeth said the World Cup wasn't on his mind ahead of Friday's game. "It is the Springboks versus the All Blacks. It is impossible to play them and hold something back. We are going to give everything to win."
In their six previous Tests on neutral soil, the All Blacks have won four (2003 Melbourne 29-9, 2015 London 20-18, 2019 Yokohama 23-13, 2021 Townsville 19-17) and lost two (1999 London 18-22 and 2021 Gold Coast 29-31).
South Africa will have an inexperienced combination in the midfield. Canan Moodie will be playing his first Test at centre after seven appearances on the wing, including his last outing against Wales, in which he scored two tries. Andre Esterhuizen inside him has played 13 Tests.
TEAMS (caps in brackets)
1.Ethan de Groot (16), 2.Dane Coles (86), 3.Tyrel Lomax (26), 4.Scott Barrett (61), 5.Samuel Whitelock (145), 6.Luke Jacobson (14), 7.Sam Cane (captain) (89), 8.Ardie Savea (74), 9.Aaron Smith (118), 10.Richie Mo'unga (48), 11.Mark Telea (4), 12.Jordie Barrett (51), 13.Rieko Ioane (62), 14.Will Jordan (24), 15.Beauden Barrett (115).
RESERVES: 16.Samisoni Taukei'aho (24), 17.Tamaiti Williams (2), 18.Fletcher Newell (7), 19.Tupou Vaa'i (21), 20. Josh Lord (3), 21.Dalton Papali'i (25), 22.Cam Roigard (1), 23.Anton Lienert-Brown (62).
1.Steven Kitshoff, 2.Malcolm Marx, 3.Frans Malherbe, 4.Eben Etzebeth, 5.Franco Mostert, 6.Siya Kolisi, 7.Pieter-Steph du Toit, 8.Duane Vermeulen, 9.Faf de Klerk, 10.Manie Libbok, 11.Makazole Mapimpi, 12.Andre Esterhuizen, 13.Canan Moodie, 14.Kurt-Lee Arendse, 15.Damian Willemse.
RESERVES: 16.Bongi Mbonambi, 17.Ox Nche, 18.Trevor Nyakane, 19.Jean Kleyn, 20.RG Snyman, 21.Marco van Staden, 22.Cobus Reinach, 23.Willie le Roux.