Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tri Nations Rugby: New Zealand v South Africa

New Zealand v South Africa in Bloemfontein (Tri Nations)

New Zealand has had to travel extensively since their test against Australia last weekend. They will be tired after that test and even more tired after their journey. This will count against them.

South Africa meanwhile has had time to freshen up after their three battles against the Lions. They are a very strong forward unit, possibly the strongest in the world. Their backline is more pedestrian than the All Blacks but they work well behind that dominant pack. But the question is how much depth is their in their squad. Remember the third test against the Lions?

There is very little between these two teams on paper. The difference will be how these teams play to their strengths. Last week we saw the All Black forwards dominant so it will be a huge battle up front.

Last Five Encounters
16.08.2008 New Zealand 19-0 in Capetown (Tri Nations)
12.07.2008 South Africa 30-28 in Dunedin (Tri Nations)
05.07.2008 New Zealand 19-8 in Wellington (Tri Nations)
14.07.2007 New Zealand 32-6 in Christchurch (Tri Nations)
23.06.2007 New Zealand 26-21 in Durban (Tri Nations)

New Zealand has certainly been dominant on the scoreboard. New Zealand hasn't lost two in a row against South Africa since 2004.

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-New Zealand 1st, South Africa 4th

Prediction: These two teams haven't drawn a test match since 1994, an I haven't predicted a draw in any test match for some time, so I'll do it right now.
Draw 14-14

Teams (as per planet-rugby)

South Africa
15 Frans Steyn, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 John Smit (c), 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Jannie du Plessis, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Morne Steyn, 22 Wynand Olivier.
Head coach: peter de Villiers

New Zealand
15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Joe Rokocoko , 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Rodney So'oialo, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Isaac Ross, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Owen Franks, 18 Jason Eaton, 19 Kieran Read, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Luke McAlister, 22 Cory Jane .
Head Coach: Graham Henry

For a complete record of all test matches played by both New Zealand and South Africa, go to

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