Rugby Championship

'Boks aren't favourites', insists Stick despite All Blacks downward spiral

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  • Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said they hadn't earned the right to be called favourites for Saturday's Rugby Championship Test against the All Blacks.
  • The All Blacks go into the game on the back of four losses in five Tests but haven't lost to the Springboks in SA since 2014.
  • Stick also hasn't been part of a Bok coaching group that's beaten the All Blacks in South Africa.

In Mbombela

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick said there's no way they are favourites ahead of their Rugby Championship clash against the All Blacks at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday.

The All Blacks go into the game on the back of four losses in five Tests, something unheard of from the All Blacks in the professional era.

They lost five Tests in 1998, but they still remained a formidable side that John Hart coached at the time.

Stick used the first Test against Ireland as a warning as to what happens to a team that doesn't rock up properly against the All Blacks.

READ: Nick Mallett | Desperate All Blacks under huge pressure, but so are Nienaber and the Springboks

The Irish did bounce back to win the series 2-1, but Stick said it required the Irish to play out of their skins to get that result.

"There's no such thing as the Springboks going into an All Black Test as the favourites," Stick said.

"I've never heard of that and the games against the All Blacks are always tough. With the history between the teams, you can't underestimate anyone when these teams meet.

"The matches leading up to that game don't count as those games are always massive. I think it's the biggest game in World Rugby.

"We're not going into this game with the mindset of being favourites because the Irish series results definitely don't say much.

"It took a world-class performance from the Irish to beat them, but what happened in the first Test of that series tells you what happens when you have an off-day against the All Blacks."

Teams

South Africa

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Kurt-Lee Arendse, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Trevor Nyakane

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Franco Mostert, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Jaden Hendrikse, 23 Willie le Roux

New Zealand

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Samisoni Taukei'aho, 1 George Bower

Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ethan de Groot, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Quinn Tupaea

Stick also dispelled the notion that Southern Hemisphere teams had fallen behind their Northern Hemisphere counterparts.

The Irish and the English won their Test series against New Zealand and Australia, respectively, but Wales and Scotland fell short against the Springboks and Argentina.

READ | Springboks' home All Blacks hoodoo: Pat Lambie believes class of 2022 can end 8-year 'bogey'

Stick said the world rankings had a tendency of being misleading as the outcomes of Springbok and All Black Tests generally determine, who the world's best side.

"In the next two games, you'll be able to tell who the best team in the world will be. One can talk about the Northern Hemisphere sides, but they're at the end of their season cycle," Stick said.

"I think in the next four weeks, the log will change, even though that's something we don't stress about.

"The table may not reflect such right now, but I can guarantee the fact that things will change in the next three to four weeks.

"A Southern Hemisphere side will be the best in the world."

Saturday's Test kicks off at 17:05.

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