Rugby Championship

The Great All Blacks v Springboks Debate


Cape Town - Sport24 pundits Lloyd Burnard and Herman Mostert debate who will win Saturday's Rugby Championship encounter between the All Blacks and Springboks in Wellington.

Kick-off is at 09:35 SA time and will be broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1.

Great Debate (File)


Why the All Blacks will win by 10 points

Make no mistake, the Boks will fancy their chances after their heroics in 2018 and this has all the ingredients to be another blockbuster. 

There is quality on both sides all over the park, but I feel that the All Blacks will win the battle of the backlines and out-score the South Africans.

15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 TJ Perenara - those names speak for themselves and together they can punish even the slightest mistakes.  

This fixture is considered a dress rehearsal for the September 21 World Cup Pool A clash between the two sides in Yokohama, but given what happened in 2018, the All Blacks will want to set things right on home soil.

It's no surprise perhaps that the Boks have only ever secured back-to-back wins over the All Blacks in New Zealand on two previous occasions.

The Kiwis are incredibly proud of their home record and they will desperately want to restore their dominance over the Boks.

The All Blacks were far from their best against Argentina in Buenos Aires last week, emerging as narrow 20-16 winners, and there is a feeling that they are not firing on all cylinders at the moment.

That makes them even more dangerous than usual.

The Boks will be well up for this and I don't see them being outplayed, but as the game goes on, expect the All Blacks to emerge as the better side.

The Boks will give another encouraging performance and score some impressive tries, but the All Blacks will score more.

When it's all over, I reckon the hosts will leave as comfortable winners by around 10 points in a highly entertaining contest.


Why the Springboks will sneak a 3-point victory

The Springboks will go into Saturday's Test firmly believing they can once again upset the apple cart.

After last year's 36-34 win in Wellington, there's no more mental barrier.

South Africa should have won the return Test in Pretoria as well, before some questionable substitutions saw them throw away a 30-13 lead heading into the final quarter.

The Boks physically dominated the All Blacks in that match at Loftus Versfeld and coach Rassie Erasmus won't make the same mistakes.

That Loftus clash - the last 15 minutes aside - was a template on how to tackle the All Blacks.

And the Springboks have some world-class personnel at their disposal.

Malcolm Marx is the best hooker in the world, captain and No 8 Duane Vermeulen will not stand an inch back for opposite number Kieran Reid, while halfbacks Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard proved their mettle at Test level in recent times.

Pollard will get the Boks on the front foot, while enforcers like Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert will ensure the All Blacks do not dominate up front.

Kwagga Smith's addition will add a vital "ball scavenger" dimension, much like Heinrich Brüssow did in 2009 when the Boks beat the All Blacks three times.

The Bok front row should also stand their man at scrum time but, and perhaps vitally, reserve front-rankers Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira and Trevor Nyakane will be brimming with confidence after destroying the Wallabies scrum last week.

I also feel coach Erasmus played a masterstroke when he sent several of his frontline stars to New Zealand a week early - this will prove vital and ensure the Boks won't run out of puff late in the game.

The All Blacks will also not feel overly confident after their narrow escape against Argentina last week.

They were completely dominated in the second half and were lucky to get away with several transgressions in the red zone late in the game.

The Kiwis have also gambled by selecting some of their star players out of position, with Beauden Barrett at fullback and Ben Smith on the wing.

Why play the best player in the world out of position? It may just come back to bite the hosts.

If Pollard's boot is on song and substitute Frans Steyn can add a few "monster" penalties late in the game, the Boks can sneak a 3-point win.


New Zealand

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 (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody. 

Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 George Bridge

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel

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