Saturday, September 14, 2013

NEW ZEALAND v SOUTH AFRICA: Rugby Championship


Venue: Eden Park, Auckland

Referee: Romain Poite (France)

This is the big one! It doesn’t get much bigger that two super giants of world rugby slugging it out. It is the Brazil v Germany of world soccer; it’s an AFL final for two Melbourne teams; it’s the Muhammad Ali v Joe Fraser clash.

All New Zealand and South African supporters will be cancelling EVERYTHING to watch this game. Eden Park is a sell-out and millions will be watching on TV.

Both teams arrive at the park undefeated so far this year. Both have been impressive leading up to this game. New Zealand has continued to set the highest of standard at this level of rugby whilst South Africa has managed to shed a lot of the baggage around the dimensions that this side plays its rugby.

During the week I wrote ‘The big game of the year so far will be South Africa against New Zealand at Eden Park. Both are undefeated in this competition and in all games so far this season. The number one and number two teams in the world lock horns. It’ll be a cracker! New Zealand will face their biggest challenge since the 2011 Rugby World Cup final and will be without Richie McCaw injured. South Africa’s team is unchanged from last weekend.’

New Zealand has an amazing record at Eden Park which will under threat tonight. They have not lost a rugby test match here since 1994. South Africa overcame to hoodoo of Brisbane last weekend. It will be a phenomenal occasion if they can break another hoodoo tonight.

New Zealand is not the same team without McCaw. He has been in blinding form since his return to the test scene. New Zealand has to be a better team without him if they are to defeat South Africa tonight. I believe they can-just!

Last Five Encounters
06.10.2012 New Zealand 32-16 in Johannesburg (Rugby Championship)
15.09.2012 New Zealand 21-11 in Dunedin (Rugby Championship)
20.08.2011 South Africa 18-5 in Port Elizabeth (Tri-Nations)
30.07.2011 New Zealand 40-7 in Wellington (Tri-Nations)
21.08.2010 New Zealand 29-22 in Johannesburg (Tri-Nations)

New Zealand Last Five P 5, W 5
07.09.2013 v Argentina W 28-13 in Hamilton (Rugby Championship)
24.08.2013 v Australia W 27-16 in Wellington
17.08.2013 v Australia W 47-29 in Sydney (Bledisloe Cup; Rugby Champ.)
22.06.2013 v France W 24-9 in New Plymouth
15.06.2013 v France W 30-0 in Christchurch

South Africa Last Five P 5, W 5
07.09.2013 v Australia W 38-12 in Brisabne (Rugby Champ., Mandela Cup)24.08.2013 v Argentina W 22-17 in Mendoza (Rugby Championship)
17.08.2013 v Argentina W 73-13 in Bloemfontein (Rugby Championship)22.06.2013 v Samoa W 56-23 in Pretoria (Quadrangular Tournament)
15.06.2013 v Scotland W 30-17 in Nelspruit (Quadrangular Tournament)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table: New Zealand 4th, South Africa 6th

IRB Ranking Points
New Zealand 91.64, South Africa 88.94

Prediction: This could go either way it will be that close. In the end New Zealand will just edge South Africa by 2 points.



South Africa

15   Zane Kirchner Leinster, Ireland
14   Willie le Roux  Griqualand West
13   JJ Engelbrecht  Blue Bulls
12   Jean de Villiers (capt.)  Western Province 
11   Bryan Habana  RC Toulonnais, France
10   Morne Steyn  Blue Bulls
9   Ruan Pienaar  Ulster, Ireland
8   Duane Vermeulen  Western Province 
7   Willem Alberts  Natal Sharks
6   Francoise Louw  Bath, England
5   Flip van der Merwe  Blue Bulls
4   Eben Etzebeth  Western Province 
3   Jannie du Plessis  Natal Sharks
2   Bismarck du Plessis  Natal Sharks
1   Tendai Mtawarira  Natal Sharks
16   Adriaan Strauss  Free State Cheetahs
17   Gurthrö Steenkamp  Stade Toulousain, France
18   Coenie Oosthuizen  Free State Cheetahs
19   Juandré Kruger  Racing Metro 92, France
20   Siya Kolisi  Western Province
21   Jano Vermaak Blue Bulls
22   Patrick Lambie  Natal Sharks
23   Jan Serfontein  Blue Bulls
    HEAD COACH: Heyneke Meyer


New Zealand

15   Israel Dagg  Hawkes Bay
14   Benjamin Smith  Otago
13   Conrad Smith Wellington
12   Ma'a Nonu  Auckland
11   Julian Savea  Wellington
10   Daniel Carter Canterbury
9   Aaron Smith  Manawatu
8   Kieran Read (Capt.) Canterbury
7   Samuel Cane Bay of Plenty
6   Liam Messam  Waikato
5   Samuel Whitelock  Canterbury
4   Brodie Retallick  Bay of Plenty
3   Owen Franks  Canterbury
2   Daniel Coles Wellington
1   Tony Woodcock  North Harbour
16   Keven Mealamu  Auckland
17   Wayne Crockett Canterbury
18   Charlie Faumuina  Auckland
19   Steven Luatua Auckland
20   Matthew Todd Canterbury
21   Tawera Kerr-Barlow  Waikato
22   Beauden Barrett Taranaki
23   Charles Piutau Auckland
    HEAD COACH: Steven Hansen

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