THIS IS THE FIRST OF THE BIG ONES THIS WEEKEND
Referee: Jérôme Garcès (France)
This has been a game long coming. The chances of these two giants of world rugby clashing has always been a possibility once the draw was known. Today they clash in the knockout semi-final played at Twickenham.
South Africa is always a tough, feared and much respected opponent. The rivalry with New Zealand goes back to 1921 and apart from the apathied years, has continued with the same intensity.
New Zealand and South Africa have always been tough sides. No quarter is given and the forward battle is often brutal. But are the teams on equal terms.
South Africa began this tournament with a shock loss to japan. They have recovered and are beginning to play like they usually do-tough and hard physically. They have a young backline with some exciting new players. Their pack is experienced. But their play is predictable with a heavy reliance on their pack.
New Zealand has progressed quietly through their pool matches without displaying what they can really do. That came during the quarter final match against France in which they played almost the perfect game and won 62-13. Amazing.
New Zealand will win but South Africa will push them close in what will be a bruising encounter.
Last Five Encounters
25.07.2015 New Zealand 27-20 in Johannesburg (Rugby Championship)
04.10.2014 South Africa 27-25 in Johannesburg (Rugby Championship)
13.09.2014 New Zealand 14-10 in Wellington (Rugby Championship)
05.10.2013 New Zealand 38-27 in Johannesburg (Rugby Championship)
14.09.2013 New Zealand 29-15 in Auckland (Rugby Championship)
New Zealand has dominated South Africa in recent history although in the last two years the results have been very close.
South Africa Last Five P 5, W 4, L 1
17.10.2015 v Wales W 23-19 at Twickenham (World Cup, Quarter Final)
07.10.2015 v United States W 64-0 in London (World Cup, Pool B)
03.10.2015 v Scotland W 34-16 in Newcastle (World Cup, Pool B)
26.09.2015 v Samoa W 46-6 in Birmingham (World Cup, Pool B)
19.09.2015 v Japan L 32-34 in Brighton (World Cup, Pool B)
New Zealand Last Five P 5, W 5
17.09.2015 v France W 62-13 in Cardiff (World Cup, Quarter Final)
09.10.2015 v Tonga W 47-9 in Newcastle (World Cup, Pool C)
02.10.2015 v Georgia W 43-10 in Cardiff (World Cup, Pool C)
24.09.2015 v Namibia W 58-14 in London (World Cup, Pool C)
20.09.2015 v Argentina W 26-16 in London (World Cup, Pool C)
World Cup Encounters
08.11.2003 New Zealand 29-9 in Melbourne (Quarter Final)
04.11.1999 South Africa 22-18 in Cardiff (Playoff 3rd-4th)
24.06.1995 South Africa 15-12 in Johannesburg (Final)
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table: South Africa 2nd, New Zealand 7th
World Rugby Ranking Points
New Zealand 92.89, South Africa 86.80
Prediction: New Zealand by 3 points. Score 21-18
15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende,
11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez (Capt.), 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Ruan Pienaar, 22 Patrick Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.
Head Coach: Heyneke Meyer
15 Benjamin Smith, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (Capt.), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick,
3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joseph Moody.
16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Benjamin Franks, 18 Charles Faumuina, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Samuel Cane, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Sonny Bill Williams.
Head Coach: Steve Hansen