Saturday, September 13, 2014

SOUTH AFRICA v NEW ZEALAND: Rugby Championship

South Africa v New Zealand in Wellington (Rugby Championship)

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Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)

New Zealand and South Africa have a long rugby history going back to the 1920’s. One would need to dig deep to come up with a contest between these two nations which, on form, would look to be so one-sided.

South Africa lost to Australia by one point. Their scrum was, on occasions, pushed back by Australia. They suffered the same inglorious happening against Argentina this year twice. All is not well with the South Africa scrum. This is almost unheard of. Against a New Zealand side that could match if not better that scrum and can play the game at greater speed and better skills, South Africa well deserves the underdog tag for this match. What Meyer can do to solve the problem I don’t know. What he is doing is bring back scrum veterans like Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha to shore up what could be argued as South Africa’s weakest scrum, ever.

New Zealand is just doing what they do better than anybody else. They win ball. They play the game at an astonishing pace. They play the game with a skills expectation which, as against Australia in game 1, can be breath taking. They can also do this for a full eighty minutes. Australia and South Africa can achieve similar standards but not for a full eighty minutes.

I cannot think of a single area in the game where South Africa could dominate. The lineout perhaps. Matfield still reigns supreme. But even in this area New Zealand is producing some outstanding jumpers in Rodick and Kieran Read. South Africa will need to play well above what they have produced so far and New Zealand a shocker for the Sprinbox to take this one.

Last Five Encounters
05.10.2013 New Zealand 38-27 in Johannesburg (Rugby Championship)
14.09.2013 New Zealand 29-15 in Auckland (Rugby Championship)
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)

New Zealand Last Five P 5, W 4, D 1
06.09.2014 v Argentina W 28-9 in Napier (Rugby Championship)
23.08.2014 v Australia W 51-20 in Auckland (Bledisloe Cup, Rugby Champ.)
16.08.2014 v Australia D 12-12 in Sydney (Bledisloe Cup, Rugby Champ.)
21.06.2014 v England W 36-13 in Hamilton
14.06.2014 v England W 28-27 in Dunedin

South Africa Last Five P 5, W 4, L 1
06.09.2014 v Australia L 23-24 in Perth (Rugby Champ.,Mandela Cup)
23.08.2014 v Argentina W 33-31 in Salta (Rugby Championship)
16.08.2014 v Argentina W 13-6 in Pretoria (Rugby Championship)
28.06.2014 v Scotland W 55-6 in Port Elizabeth
21.06.2014 v Wales W 31-30 in Nelspruit

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table:New Zealand 1st, South Africa 3rd

IRB Ranking Points
New Zealand 93.56, South Africa 88.42

Prediction: I just can’t see South Africa catching New Zealand on recent form.
New Zealand by 20 points.



New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Benjamin Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read,
7 Richie McCaw (Capt.), 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Joseph Moody, 18 Benjamin Franks, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Samuel Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Cory Jane.
Head Coach: Steve Hansen


South Africa
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (Capt.), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Warren Whiteley, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Patrick Lambie,
23 Damian de Allende.
Head Coach: Heyneke Meyer

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