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PREVIEW: Springboks seeking Rugby Championship redemption

Jacques Nienaber’s men have been cruelly brought back down to earth following a disastrous Rugby Championship campaign and will want to make amends against the All Blacks.

Trevor Nyakane and Bongi Mbonambi of the Springboks Rugby

After suffering three defeats on the bounce, the Springboks will be desperate to bring the curtain down on the Rugby Championship with a win over the All Blacks this weekend.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

To Win Match

South Africa 3/1
Draw 28/1
New Zealand 1/4

Handicap

South Africa (+9.5) 9/10
New Zealand (-9.5) 9/10

The Boks will be hurting following the heartbreak of this past Saturday’s last-gasp defeat at the hands of the All Blacks. In truth, it was an error-strewn affair that Ian Foster was relieved to have won.

Looking ahead, the Boks haven’t made any major changes to their side. Ox Nche comes in for Frans Malherbe who has a neck niggle, while Jasper Wiese replaces Marco van Staden on the bench. Nche’s addition to the side sees Trevor Nyakane shift to tighthead.

New Zealand’s pack remains unchanged, but there are a couple of changes to the backs. George Bridge and Will Jordan – who both struggled beneath the aerial bombardment last week – are replaced by Sevu Reece while Rieko Ioane moves from midfield to the right wing to make room for the returning Anton Lienert-Brown. Bred Weber replaces TJ Perenara at 9.

Looking ahead, don’t expect the Springboks to change their game plan at all. Expect Faf de Klerk to pepper the Abs two new wingers with high bombs once again. He’ll need to avoid Jordie Barrett who looked secure under the high ball last weekend and actually initiated a number of counterattacks.

Truthfully, the All Blacks weren’t at their best last time out, coughing up possession through a string of uncharacteristic handling errors. If they are able to stamp these niggles out of their game, they should get a bit more joy against a Springbok defensive system that hasn’t looked so flash lately. 

Teams

South Africa:

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn

New Zealand

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 David Havili, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Ardie Savea (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 George Bower, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Damian McKenzie

Verdict: South Africa (+9.5) 9/10

The Boks looked good in patches last week against the All Blacks but were ultimately undone in the end. Expect another tightly-contested affair that’ll likely see the Springboks remain within the 9.5-point handicap.

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