Saturday, July 17, 2010

TEST RUGBY: Tri Nations NZ v South Africa

South Africa v New Zealand in Wellington (Tri Nations)

Venue: Westpac Stadium

Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)

Can South Africa bounce back from their heavy defeat by New Zealand last weekend? The South Africans were outplayed in every area. They had a player sent off who was then banned for 9 weeks for foul play. But beware of a wounded springbox! There is a steeliness and resolve about most South African rugby teams. They will bounce back! The All Blacks will be fully aware of that.

The Kiwis will need to be on their guard and produce the same level of play they did last weekend. They have made two changes to their starting line up, on the wing and at half back. Ranger makes his test debut on the wing in place of the injured Rockoko, whilst Weepu takes over at half back from the out-of-sorts Cowan

Coach Pieter de Villiers has remained faithful to most of the players from last weekend's team. The pressure will be on them to perform. At this level of international rugby and with so much at stake, second chance is about all you get.

There are some interesting milestones being reached in this game. South Africa has a total of 700 test caps, making it the most experienced side ever placed by the South African's on a rugby field at test level. With a new test player, New Zealand's count has dipped somewhat.

If Richie McCaw's team wins he will become the most capped winning All Black player with 75 tests, one more than Sean Fitzpatrick, and fourth on the world list, behind George Gregan, Jason Leonard and Fabian Pelous.

Richie McCaw. Will he become New Zealand's most winning test player?

Springbok Dannie Roussouw will play his 50th test.

The build up and interest before last weekend's test was heart-pounding stuff. This game has the same expectant feel about it. I can't wait! It'll be a cracker!

Last Five Encounters
10.07.2010 New Zealand 32-12 in Auckland (Tri Nations)
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)

Last Five in Wellington
05.07.2008 New Zealand 19-8 (Tri Nations)
22.07.2006 New Zealand 35-17 (Tri Nations)
20.07.2002 New Zealand 41-20 (Tri Nations)
25.07.1998 South Africa 13-3 (Tri Nations)
23.07.1994 New Zealand 13-9

South Africa's record in Wellington is better than it is in Auckland. South Africa won 24-12 in 1981 and 8-3 in 1956.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-New Zealand 1st, South Africa 2nd
IRB Ranking-New Zealand 1st (92.40). South Africa 2nd (88.74)

Prediction: New Zealand by 9 points



New Zealand
Mils Muliaina, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Rene Ranger, Daniel Carter, Piri Weepu, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Jerome Kaino, Tom Donnelly, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: Corey Flynn, Ben Franks, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Jimmy Cowan, Aaron Cruden, Israel Dagg.
Head Coach: Graham Henry


South Africa
Zane Kirchner, Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie, Wynand Oliver, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Ricky Januarie, Pierre Spies, Francois Louw, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw, CJ van der Linde, John Smit (captain), Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, BJ Botha, Andries Bekker, Ryan Kankowski, Ruan Pienaar, Butch James, Gio Aplon.
Head Coach: Pieter de Villiers

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