The winners from the opening round of the Rugby Championship will clash in Wellington, New Zealand on Saturday. The All Blacks will be the home side against South Africa, the best performing team from round one of the competition.
New Zealand welcome back a number of Crusaders players who were rested following the Super Rugby Final. Notably among them is fly half Richie Mo’unga who will start with the usual no10 Beauden Barrett named to play at fullback.
A new front-row sees the Crusaders trio of Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, and Owen Franks all named to start together. They will be joined by their franchise captain, Samuel Whitelock who will partner Brodie Retallick in the second-row.
The rested Matt Todd, and Kieran Read both start in the back-row. It is not only Crusaders changes in the side, however. At flanker one Tongan-born player replaces another with Shannon Frizell taking over from Vaea Fifita.
In the backs Sonny Bill Williams is back to fitness and will play inside center, joining Jack Goodhue in the mid-field. With Beauden Barrett at fullback, Ben Smith moves to the right wing while Rieko Ioane completes the back-three. Finally, at scrum half Aaron Smith makes way for TJ Perenara.
South African Head Coach Rassie Erasmus has also rung the changes. In total there are twelve changes with only Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, and Makazole Mapimpi retained. Despite maintaining his spot in the team, Etzhbeth passes the captaincy to Duane Vermeulen.
Vermeulen, and du Toit are to join Kwagga Smith in the back-row while Etzebeth will partner Franco Mostert in locking the scrum. The front-row is entirely new with Tendai Mtawarira, Bongi Mbonambi, , and Trevor Nyakane making way for Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx, and Frans Malherbe.
In the backs Faf de Klerk and Handré Pollard will play in the halves and Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am are to be the centers. They will have plenty of speed outside them with Makazole Mapimpi,, Cheslin Kolbe, and Willie le Roux in the back-three.
There have been 97 prior test matches between New Zealand, and South Africa. There most recent in New Zealand was a thriller with the Springboks upsetting the All Blacks 36-34 also in Wellington. Overall New Zealand has 58 wins and South Africa 36 while there have also been 3 drawn matches.
Despite this being match that either team could win. New Zealand enter Saturday’s match as the favorites. The All Blacks are projected to win by 8 points.
RugbyRedefined World Rankings – Possible points change
NZL (on 92.54 points) at home -vs- RSA (on 85.30 points)
|Possible Outcome||Rating Point
|If NZL win by 1-15 points||0.000||92.54||85.30||No|
|If NZL win by more than 15||0.000||92.54||85.30||No|
|If result is a draw||1.000||91.54||86.30||No|
|If RSA win by 1-15 points||2.000||90.54||87.30||No|
|If RSA win by more than 15||3.000||89.54||88.30||No|
15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tuungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 George Bridge
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel
Date: Saturday, July 27
Kick-off: 7:35am local
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)