Friday, August 20, 2010

RUGBY TEST MATCH: Tri Nations Again

New Zealand v South Africa in Johannesburg (Tri Nations)

Venue: FNB Stadium, Soweto

The stadium will host its first ever rugby test on Saturday. Image thanks to wikipedia

The Stadium is famous as the venue of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

South Africa will celebrate their captain's 100th test match when John Smit runs out onto the local soccer-er-rugby stadium in Soweto. He will become the second South African, behind Percy Montgomery, who achieved his milestone in 2008.

John Smit holding the Webb Ellis Trophy in 2007. Image thanks to

What can South Africa do to prevent the All Blacks continuing their winning streak? There will probably not be a great deal between these two sides. The team that makes less mistakes, that controls the ball in the air and is first to break downs will win the game.

New Zealand's captain will achieve a record of his own. On Saturday Richie McCaw will equal the record, 51 tests, played by a New Zealander as captain of their country in test matches. He will stand side-by-side with the great Sean Fitzpatrick.

New Zealand only needs a bonus point from this match to sew up the Tri Nations trophy. South Africa has made a number of changes to the side after a lethargic and disappointing tour of Australia and New Zealand in July.

It's difficult to see New Zealand losing at the moment although expect a huge effort from the South Africans with pride and a special occasion for their captain to play for.

Last Five Encounters
17.07.2010 New Zealand 31-17 in Wellington (Tri Nations)
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)

Last Five in Johannesburg
14.08.2004 South Africa 40-26 (Tri Nations)
19.08.2000 South Africa 46-40 (Tri Nations)
19.07.1997 New Zealand 35-32 (Tri Nations)
31.08.1996 South Africa 32-22
24.06.1995 South Africa 15-12 (World Cup, Final)

Johannesburg has not been a happy hunting ground for New Zealand over the last fifteen years. The Kiwis have won only one game in that time. Who can forget the dramatic win by South Africa in the 1995 Rugby World Cup? New Zealand has only won 3 times in a total of 17 tests played in Johannesburg between these two famous rugby nations since 1928. That is a proud record South Africa will want to maintain. There is the small factor that the test will not be played in the heart of South African rugby, Ellis Park. What effect will that have? Well the FNB Stadium holds 90,000 and I'm assuming 99% will be hooting (perhaps blowing) their support for the Springbox.

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table: New Zealand 1st, South Africa 3rd
IRB Rankings: New Zealand 1st (93.68), South Africa 2nd (86.76)

Prediction: New Zealand by 8


South Africa
15 Gio Aplon, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Juan Smith, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Victor Matfield, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 John Smit,Capt. 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Francois Louw, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Butch James, 22 Wynand Olivier.
Head Coach: Pieter de Villiers


New Zealand
15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Josevata Rokocoko, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 James Cowan, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw, Capt 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Thomas Donnelly, 4 Bradley Thorn, 3 Benjamin Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
16 Corey Flynn, 17 John Afoa, 18 Samuel Whitelock, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Israel Dagg.
Head Coach: Graham Henry

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