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New Zealand v South Africa – Teams and prediction

RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP, ROUND TWO: Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick says history has not been part of the conversation in the Bok camp ahead of their clash against the All Blacks in Auckland.

The last time the Boks recorded a win against the All Blacks in the city was in 1937 and that was a statistic that was brought up in a media conference on Friday.

“It’s the first time I hear about that history. I don’t think it was something in our heads and we didn’t talk a lot about it,” Stick told reporters.

“I can guarantee you that we spoke about playing the All Blacks away from home and how special it is to win here.

“The majority of us were there in 2018 when we won against them in Wellington.

“When you play them away from home it is always tough and it is something that we all live for.

“We know the history between the two sides and it is massive. It is not about winning against them in Auckland, it is just about playing New Zealand in New Zealand, which is a tough task.

“It will be massive for our boys if they can win the game and make sure that we keep building towards the World Cup.”

With a match at Twickenham between the two sides in August and a possible meeting in a World Cup quarterfinal later this year, there have been questions on whether both teams will show their full hand or will they hold back in terms of their plans.

“Regarding us showing our full hand, I’m not really sure what that means,” Stick added.

“You are playing against the All Blacks and you want to win against them. You must be at your best even if you are building towards the World Cup.

“The main thing for us is that we perform at our best. I don’t think we are going to hold back on anything.

“We are just going to make sure that we do everything in our powers to make sure that we win that game against the All Blacks because it is not going to be easy.”

Meanwhile, a lot of the spotlight has been on Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth ahead of the game.

The lock’s father, Harry, passed away earlier this week, but Etzebeth will still be leading his team out onto the field on Saturday.

Ahead of the game, All Blacks head coach Ian Foster said his team’s thoughts were with the skipper.

“It’s tragic news for him. I’m sure they will deal with it in the right way,” said Foster.

‘A game of chess’
On the game, Foster has prepared his team to face a Bok outfit that has added more strings to their bow.

“They’re a quality team. You’re not world champions for nothing. And they can play a wide game, a fast game, but they’ve also got that Springbok DNA of control and set-piece and the aerial battle,” said the All Black coach.

“You’ve got to expect both, and we’d be foolish to prepare for one.

“We can’t pigeonhole their game. In some ways, you’ve got to look at it as a game of chess going on here too.

“We play each other again at Twickenham [next month], and there might be a potential game later in the World Cup tournament, so how much do you show and how much do you not show?

“In our mindset, we’re keeping it nice and simple. It’s an All Black-Springbok Test, and these mean a lot to us.

“It’s special because there’s a lot of mutual respect. That’s on the field and off the field. The guys relate to them, and we have the same mindset.

“There’s nothing better than playing South Africa. It brings out the best of both teams.

“We love these games and we will get a marker of where we are at but again, it’s just another little step on the ladder.”

Players to watch
For New Zealand: Will Jordan returns to wear the No.14 jersey and he will give the All Blacks an extra dimension on attack. He has 21 tries in 21 Tests, which is an excellent trike rate. On the other wing, Mark Telea gets an opportunity after an incredible Super Rugby season with the Blues. He has power and pace and Cheslin Kolbe could have his hands full. After Damian McKenzie’s great performance in the win over Argentina, Richie Mo’unga will have some pressure on him going into this match, but he has plenty of experience on the international stage. In the pack, Brodie Retallick starts in the No.4 jersey and he will be called on to bring some extra physicality up front against a strong Bok pack. Hooker Codie Taylor will also have a spotlight on him as he tends to disappear in big games on the international stage.

For South Africa: The match will be Eben Etzebeth’s first since suffering a shoulder injury three months ago and it will be interesting to see how he manages the collisions. There will also be the added emotion after his father passed away this week. Duane Vermeulen was outstanding in the No.8 jersey against the Wallabies and now it’s time for Jasper Wiese to impress the Bok coaches. Wiese was immense for Leicester Tigers in the Premiership and his powerful carries will give the All Blacks a few problems. In the backline, Damian Willemse steps into the No.10 jersey and his game management against the All Blacks will be important. He has the x-factor with ball in hand, but decision-making in that No.10 channel will be crucial. Last weekend, Kurt-Lee Arendse showed how dangerous he can be with three tries and the Boks will be looking for something similar from Cheslin Kolbe. However, that all depends on the amount of ball he gets in Auckland.

Head to head

New Zealand by 8pts


New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Dalton Papali’i, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Braydon Ennor, 23 Caleb Clarke.

South Africa: 15 Willem le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mampimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Rudolf Snyman, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Daniel Johannes Vermeulen, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Immanuel Libbok

Date: Saturday, July 15
Venue: Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
Kick-off: 19.05 (09.05 South African time; 07.05 GMT)
Expected weather: There will be a few clouds with a temperature of 12C and a moderate breeze.
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant Referees: Angus Gardner (Australia) & Pierre Brousset (France)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

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