So after being denied what should have been an absolute classic test between the two best sides in world rugby (due to previously discussed refereeing
FiretrUCK ups ‘whoopsies’) we now have a re-match and what should be the test of the year, this time at Ellis Park.
The All Blacks only need one bonus point from the game to win the Rugby Championship but they will be desperate to beat the Springboks at a stadium where they have only won three times since 1928, with their last win coming back in 1997. They will know that a win at a sold out Ellis Park against a fired up Bok side will be massive and will show that they are still the best side in world rugby by a fair margin.
The equation for the Bokke is simple, score four tries, deny the All Blacks four tries and win by more than seven. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! Not really, I just like that saying. It will of course be incredibly difficult. Incidentally, the last team to pull this off was the Springboks, nine years ago in the Tri-Nations in 2004. The venue that day…Ellis Park. Coincidence? I don’t believe in coincidence.
Before we dive in, balls deep, check who was spotted at Newlands last week.
The dude abides.
Rugby Championship round 6, Saturday 5th of October 2013
Springboks vs All Blacks
Coach Hansen has made two changes to his side, bringing in prop Charlie Faumuina for the injured Owen Franks and Richie captain charming McCaw, who made a surprising recovery from a knee injury, coming back to lead the side, with Sam Cane dropping to the bench. Hansen has opted for Dan Coles on the bench instead of Kevin Mealamu and has kept Andrew Hore at hooker. Aaron Cruden will once again start at flyhalf but expect Beauden Barrett to get an extended run in the second half.
Heyneke Meyer has made two changes himself with Bismark du Plessis swapping with Adriaan Strauss and lock Juandre Kruger coming in for the recently banned Flip van der Merwe. Kruger’s place on the bench is taken by Lions lock, Franco van der Merwe, who will earn his debut cap when he runs on. Nice one Franco! JJ Englebrecht has a thigh injury and will be given until Friday to prove his fitness. Jan Serfontein will take his place if he fails to recover in time.
Looking at the respective teams and individual match ups it is hard to see any team having a big advantage. The Bokke appear to have a better front row, the ABs the slight edge at the breakdowns, the lineouts are evenly balanced and both backlines have scored superb tries this season. I will say that Conrad Smith is far better than JJ or Jan Serfontein but Captain Jean de Villiers is currently better than Ma’a stiff arm Nonu.
Meyer has spoken of how the Bokke will ‘go for it’ in reference to winning with four tries and I applaud him for that but at the end of the day, I will take a win no matter how it comes. Not many teams beat the All Blacks but the Bokke should do so on Saturday, whether or not they will do enough to win the Rugby Championship is the question.
Either way the atmosphere at the ground will be phenomnoms and I am looking forward to a quality test match between two fantastic sides, with hopefully as few referee talking points as possible. Remember, it is not just about whether you win or lose but
how hard you throw rocks at the All Black bus when they arrive to enjoy the game of rugga, played at an amazing stadium.
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-Off: Sat, 5:00pm (SA time)
Referee: Nigel Owens
Springboks vs All Blacks Prediction: Springboks by 5-12