Boks unchanged for All Blacks

Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Auckland - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer named an unchanged match-23 to face New Zealand at Eden Park in Auckland in the fourth round of the Lager Rugby Championship on Saturday.

“We’re very fortunate to have a touring squad of 28 fit players to choose from but following the performance last weekend against Australia, it made sense not to make any changes,” said Meyer.

“Continuity in selection has been something we wanted to address this year and I’m very happy that we’ve not been forced into making too many changes yet. The 23 who played against Australia deserved another chance this week as we believe in rewarding good form.

“I have faith in all the players in the squad and I feel we’ve now got to a situation where any player can come in at any stage without too much disruption.”

After beating Australia for the first time at Suncorp Stadium last weekend, the Springboks travelled to New Zealand where they will face the tough task of securing their first away victory over the All Blacks since 2009.

“We had a good win last weekend, but that is in the past now,” said Meyer.

“Playing the All Blacks in New Zealand is the ultimate challenge in rugby and one we’re very excited about facing.

“But the hard work is never done as we want to continuously improve as we evolve as a team, on all aspects of our game.

“We’re only halfway through the Rugby Championship with three very tough games ahead, but this weekend we’re facing the best team in the world and it will not be easy.”

Kick-off is at 09:35 (SA time) on Saturday.

Stats and facts:

• The Springbok starting team boasts a total of 582 Test caps (334 in the backline and 248 in the forwards), with a further 131 caps worth of experience on the bench.

• South Africa and New Zealand have played each other 85 times since 1921, with the Springboks winning 34 tests, losing 48 and three was drawn. The Springboks have scored 1 313 points and 127 tries and conceded 1 612 points and 168 tries for an average score of 15-19.

• Jean de Villiers will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok centre, with 75 Tests in this position. He also moved into fourth place on the list of most-capped Springboks of all time when he played in his 90th Test last weekend.

• Bryan Habana will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok wing, with 88 Tests in this position and if he scores a try, will extend his record of 51 Test tries for South Africa. He also just needs one try to equal the Castle Lager Rugby Championship record of Christian Cullen (New Zealand) who scored 16 tries in his Rugby Championship (Tri-Nations) career.

• Morné Steyn will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok flyhalf, with 47 Tests in this position. If he scores a try, Steyn will extend his record of seven Test tries as a flyhalf for South Africa. He will also extend his Springbok career record of 112 points against New Zealand in Tests.

• Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis will extend their SA record of playing together in 27 Tests for South Africa. If he scores a try, Bismarck will also extend his own record of seven Test tries for South Africa as a hooker.

• If he goes on and scores a try, Gurthrö Steenkamp will extend his own record of six tries as a prop for South Africa.

•    The referee is Romain Poite of France. This will be his third Test involving South Africa. The Springboks have won both previous encounters. His last game was the Test against Scotland on 15 June, 2013 at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit in the Castle Lager Incoming Series, where South Africa beat Scotland 30-17.

Springbok Test match records at Eden Park in Auckland:

Most points - 15 (5 penalties) by Braam van Straaten on 25 August, 2001.
Most tries - three by Ray Mordt on 12 September, 1981 (tries were still worth four points at that time).
Most conversions - two by Naas Botha on 12 September, 1981.
Most penalty goals - five by Braam van Straaten on 25 August, 2001.
Most drop goals - one by Gerhard Morkel on 27 August, 1921.

The Springboks and New Zealand have played nine times at Eden Park with the Boks only winning two - in 1921 (9-5) and in 1937 (17-6). In 1994 the game ended in a draw, 18-18.


New Zealand:


South Africa:

15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss , 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Juandré Kruger, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein
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