PREVIEW: All Blacks vs Springboks

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The All Blacks will attempt to take their winning streak to 15 Tests as they host the Springboks in Christchurch on Saturday.

New Zealand has conquered all comers so far in the Rugby Championship and on form, the Springboks look like the next victims.

All Blacks livewire Ardie Savea will make his run-on debut in the clash, with Sam Cane (hamstring) out for up to six weeks. Lima Sopoaga will feature in the 23 after an injury to Aaron Cruden.

South Africa has made two starting changes for the clash, looking to snap a two-game losing streak.

Pieter-Steph du Toit will start in the second row after Lood de Jager bruised his knee in last weekend’s clash with the Wallabies.

Vincent Koch will start in the front row, replacing Tendai Mtawarira, who has shifted to the bench.


Johan Goosen has impressed for the Springboks. Photo: Getty ImagesSpringboks fullback Johan Goosen leads the Rugby Championship in run metres, racking up 209 metres through three matches.

All Blacks prop Owen Franks is on the verge of his 84th Test without a try, a run that would the longest in international rugby history.

Springboks captain and hooker Adriaan Strauss leads the Rugby Championship in throw percentage, with a 97 per cent accuracy, ahead of Dane Coles, with 91 per cent.


Pieter-Steph Du Toit is straight into the cauldron. Photo: Getty Images

Pieter-Steph Du Toit vs Sam Whitelock

The All Blacks dismantled the Wallabies lineout with ease in the Bledisloe Cup matches and their defensive reads are better than any other team in the competition. The Springboks have always had a strong lineout but a shakeup in their combination, there will be plenty of pressure on Du Toit.

Beauden Barrett vs Elton Jantjies

It’s a rematch of the Super Rugby final but the paths of the two in-form 10s of that competition have diverged since that night a month ago. Jantjies has struggled for Test form and was under an injury cloud leading into their clash with the Wallabies. Barrett has escalated in estimations post-Super Rugby, dominating the Rugby Championship. Another dominant display from the Hurricanes playmaker could take the game well and truly out of South Africa’s hands.


The forwards will play out a pivotal battle. Photo: Getty ImagesThe forward pack will be the deciding element in this big clash. The All Blacks’ backline is light years ahead of its Springboks counterpart, and basically every other country’s attacking lineups as well. If South Africa wants to compete it will likely be in a grind, with any dominance eked out in the tight five.


Joe Moody,  Dane Coles,  Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Samuel Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Ardie Savea, Kieran Read, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett,  Julian Savea, Ryan Crotty,  Malakai Fekitoa, Israel Dagg,  Ben Smith. Reserves:  Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett,   Charlie Faumuina, Luke Romano, Matt Todd, TJ Perenara, Lima Sopoaga, Anton Lienert-Brown.


Tendai Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss, Vincent Koch, Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Francois Louw, Oupa Mohoje, Warren Whiteley, Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies, Francois Hougaard, Juan de Jongh, Jesse Kriel, Bryan Habana, Johan Goosen. Reserves: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Lourens Adriaanse, Franco Mostert, Willem Alberts, Jaco Kriel, Morne Steyn, Damian de Allende.