South Africa v New Zealand in Auckland
Venue: Eden park
Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)
If ever we had a match planned as a world championship rugby final this game would be close. These two nations are holding No.1 and No.2 position in both ranking systems listed below. Both remain undefeated in 2010 and both come to the paddock with impressive recent results. And to cap it off both these nations have a long history of passionate rivalry matches by no other nations. It'll be a cracker!
Both sides have called veteran players into their sides. New Zealand in the mid field, South Africa at lock. For both sides there is a look of long experience (New Zealand 667 test caps total, South Africa 661) so after June tests where experimentation was the go, it looks as though both coaches are going all out for broke.
The pressure on New Zealand succeeding in this game is almost unbearable. The pressure is on for the Kiwis to perform. My personal opinion is that peaking too early has been New Zealand's problem in all their World Cup finals ventures since 1991. So perhaps a little underdone might be a good idea and let the All Blacks peak about..say..October next year.
Last Five Encounters
12.09.2009 South Africa 32-29 in Hamilton (Tri Nations)
01.08.2009 South Africa 31-19 in Durban (Tri Nations)
25.07.2009 South Africa 28-19 in Bloemfontein (Tri Nations)
16.08.2008 New Zealand 19-0 in Capetown (Tri Nations)
12.07.2008 South Africa 30-28 in Dunedin
Last Five At Eden Park
25.08.2001 New Zealand 26-15 (Tri Nations)
09.08.1997 New Zealand 55-35 in Auckland (Tri Nations)
06.08.1994 Drawn 18-18
12.09.1981 New Zealand 25-21
18.09.1965 New Zealand 20-3
South Africa last won a test v New Zealand at Eden Park in 1937, winning 17-6.
Last Five by New Zealand
26.06.2010 v Wales in Hamilton Won 29-10
19.06.2010 v Wales in Dunedin Won 42-9
12.06.2010 v Ireland in New Plymouth Won 66-28
28.11.2009 v France in Marseilles Won 39-12
21.11.2009 v England at Twickenham Won 19-6
New Zealand has won their last 9 tests in a row. Their last loss was against South Africa in Hamilton, September 2009.
Last Five by South Africa
26.06.2010 v Italy in East London Won 55-11
19.06.2010 v Italy in Witbank Won 29-13
12.06.2010 v France in Capetown Won 42-17
05.06.2010 v Wales in Cardiff Won 34-31
28.11.2009 v Ireland in Dublin Lost 10-15
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 1st, South Africa 2nd
IRB Rankings-New Zealand 1st (91.68), South Africa 2nd (89.46)
Prediction: New Zealand by 7 points
M Muliaina (Waikato); C Jane (Wellington), C Smith (Wellington), M Nonu (Wellington), J Rokocoko (Auckland); D Carter (Canterbury), J Cowan (Southland); K Read (Canterbury); R McCaw, Capt. (Canterbury), B Thorn (Canterbury),T Donnelly (Otago), J Kaino (Auckland)' T Woodcock (North Harbour), K Mealamu (Auckland), O Franks (Canterbury).
Replacements: C Flynn (Canterbury), B Franks (Canterbury), Sam Whitelock (Canterbury), L Messam (Waikato), P Weepu (Wellington), A Cruden (Wellington), R Kahui (Waikato).
Head Coach: Graham Henry
South Africa: Z Kirchner (Bulls); J de Villiers (Western Province), J Fourie (Stormers), W Olivier (Bulls), B Habana (Stormers); M Steyn (Bulls), R Januarie (Stormers); G Steenkamp (Bulls), J Smit (Sharks, capt), J du Plessis (Sharks), B Botha (Bulls), V Matfield (Bulls), S Burger (Stormers), F Louw (Stormers), P Spies (Bulls)
Replacements: C Ralepelle (Bulls), BJ Botha (Ulster), A Bekker (Stormers), D Rossouw (Bulls), R Pienaar (Sharks), B James (Bath), G Aplon (Stormers)
Head Coach: Pieter de Villiers