Five delicious competitions that could mark the 100th Springbok / All Black Test


The All Blacks celebrate the victory against the Springboks in Loftus Versfeld in 2018.

Gordon Arons / Gallo Images

  • The 100 The test between South Africa and New Zealand is full of delicious competitions that can affect the outcome of the game.
  • The teams will meet on Saturday in Townsville for the fifth time in neutral territory.
  • Covid-19 restrictions in New Zealand forced the game to be moved to Queensland.

The Springboks and All Blacks may meet for perhaps the 100th time since they first met in August 1921, but no game has been anticipated with greater anticipation.

The All Blacks beat the Springboks the last time they met in the pool stages of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but it was Rassie Erasmus’s team that had the last laugh when they won the trophy.

The All Blacks have changed coach and appointed a new captain, but will have a hard time proving that they are better than SA.

Recent results show that the All Blacks are on an upward trend while the Boks are stagnating after the success of the British & Irish Lions series.

The form book tends to fall out of the window when those sides clash, however, and here are five competitions that will liven up the game-changing game:

13 – Lukhanyo Am – Rieko Ioane

The fact that the British & Irish Lions had to change their midfield in this series was an indication of Am’s excellence. The All Blacks are a different cauldron for backline fish, however, and have silky operators.

The lack of continental super rugby has also resulted in Ioane not being fully tested on defense by South African teams, but for his franchise and his country, he’s doing well in that position.

Am’s standards slipped in the two Australian defeats, but he can hardly be blamed for the all-round malfunction when the problems from a game management perspective were 9 and 10.

That said, the Boks haven’t played to Am’s strengths, but he has evolved nonetheless, while Ioane has benefited from a system that allows backs to express themselves.

10- Handre Pollard versus Beauden Barrett

There is a notion that Barrett survived despite weak packs when he played for the Hurricanes. As England demonstrated in the 2019 World Cup semi-finals, every flyhalf requires parity to find traction in a game. Nonetheless, Barrett remains New Zealand’s Premier 10 despite the necessary flirtation with Richie Mo’unga, but should the All Black come under pressure it will be interesting to see how he reacts.

For Pollard, the less that is said about his all-round game in Australia, the better. Although he recovered from a knee injury, but in the two defeats against the Wallabies he failed on two bases: defense and kick.

The former is being put to the test by the All Black Strike Runners and Pollard has to find form and speed in this game.

8 – Duane Vermeulen versus Luke Jacobson

Vermeulen was generally at his best when faced with the All Blacks, but it feels like he played to himself after his ankle injury. He can’t afford that against New Zealand, and without a number 7 specialist, the responsibility for the job rests with Vermeulen.

Jacobson is a fairly unknown quantity internationally, but with him in the back row they look steer and beefier. This is a division that wants to prove itself and to compete against and defeat Vermeulen will give Jacobson international brownie points.

4 – Etzebeth versus Brodie Retallick

This fight will gain additional significance as Retallick has not played against the Springboks since the 2019 16-16 draw when he was mentored by RG Snyman. Snyman is not there, but in Etzebeth Retallick faces a long-time archenemy.

That Retallick is more skilled than Etzebeth is out of the question, but what is required of Retallick is extreme physicality to counter that of Etzebeth.

He has never been lacking in the past but whether he will be the same player after the Wellington incident remains to be seen. He remains New Zealand’s most influential striker while Etzebeth, with plenty of testing kilometers this year, will have to find that extra gear to deal with Retallick.

Fight in the front row

Joe ‘Tripod’ Moody will have a lot to prove, especially how he got out of jail not being punished for his shaky scrumming in the 2019 World Cup fight. Nepo Laulala is a solid fighter, but no SA should lose sleep while Codie Taylor remains world class.

While not the most mobile, Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Karl Tu’inukuafe are New Zealand’s best scrummaging props and are on standby to face off with Steven Kitshoff and Vincent Koch.

Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi and Frans Malherbe will then have to step in early to ensure the Boks get in the lead, especially when it is known that the All Blacks often get the green when it comes to office.


All Black

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 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

Deputies: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Quinn Tupaea


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 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Trevor Nyakane

Deputies: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn


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