Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Rugby World Cup: New Zealand v South Africa Preview

Rugby World Cup: New Zealand v South Africa Preview

NZ's Sonny Bill Williams is tackled during the Rugby Championship rugby union match between the New Zealand All Blacks and South Africa Springboks at Westpac Stadium in Wellington,

The Springboks can gain a massive psychological boost with victory over the All Blacks in their Rugby World Cup Pool B opener at the Yokahama International Stadium on Saturday.

Photo Copyright Steve Haag Sport - Hollywoodbets 

New Zealand v South Africa
RWC Pool B preview
21 September 11h45
Yokahama International Stadium

To Win
New Zealand 7/20
Draw 25/1
South Africa 21/10

New Zealand (-6.5) 9/10
South Africa (+6.5) 9/10

After copping huge losses to New Zealand in 2016 and 2017, Siya Kolisi’s men bounced back to earn an invaluable win in Wellington last year before drawing at the same venue two-odd months ago.

In fact, the total amount of points each team has accumulated over their last four meetings is just 106-107 in favour of the world champions, which includes two New Zealand wins to South Africa’s one plus the draw.

It’s no wonder then that Saturday’s matchup is being billed as arguably the game of the pool stages, with both sides on course for a rematch in the Final in spite of the result on the weekend.

Whichever team comes out on top is likely to go on to play Scotland in the quarter-finals, with the loser set to face Ireland in the last eight. Considering the latter’s results over the last two years, both southern hemisphere giants will be keen to avoid Joe Schmidt’s well-oiled machine in favour of Gregor Townsend’s somewhat off-colour Scottish brigade.

Still though, to be crowned the world’s best one needs to have the ability to beat all before them en route to lifting rugby’s greatest prize. The Boks and Kiwis will know this well, making Saturday’s clash even more important.

With rain a possibility, the tactical kicking games of Handre Pollard and, depending on who is selected as the AB’s No 10, Beauden Barrett or Richie Mo’unga, will need to be pinpoint.

The set-piece will also play a key role in determining the game’s outcome, with the continued absence of Brodie Retallick perhaps hampering New Zealand in this facet of play.

Many expect Steve Hansen’s charges to adopt a new strategy to cope with the Boks’ defensive linespeed. If and how they do so will be vital.

Verdict: Draw
There won’t be much in this one, with the Boks’ confidence sure to lift them to a big performance against the reining back-to-back champions of the world. With so much riding on the outcome of this one, I’d put my money on the two heavyweights sharing the spoils in their tournament opener.

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets 

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