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The Rugby Championship trophy can be won tonight by the All Blacks as they take on the Springboks for the 100th time in a Test. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 5:05pm (AEST).
Having regained the number one spot in the world after last week’s results, Ian Foster has made a number of changes as he looks to continue his side’s unbeaten streak this year.
The front row is made up of Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Nepo Laulala whilst Scott Barrett has earned a starting XV role and will join Brodie Retallick in the second row.
The back row will see Akira Ioane continue his great season with Luke Jacobson and Ardie Savea who will skipper the side again in this special test.
The backs are full of pace with TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett in the halves and David Havili will partner with Rieko Ioane in the centres. The back three sees the third Barrett brother, Jordie, get the full back spot ahead of Damian McKenzie and on the wing Will Jordan and George Bridge will be ready for the aerial bombardment the Boks will likely bring.
Jacques Nienaber has made just two changes to his starting line up with Lood de Jager and Kwagga Smith joining the pack. Smith is a very clever player but it will be interesting to see if his relatively small size allows him to get the momentum over the gain line that South Africa will need from its back row.
Nienaber has opted for a different strategy on the bench with more attacking threat being brought in to have an impact in the second half. Instead of his usual forward heavy replacement list, today will see Elton Jantjies and Frans Steyn join the bench.
Head coach Jacques Nienaber has also ditched their Bomb Squad 6-2 split on the bench that includes six forwards to add muscle in the second half, and instead recalled experienced fly-half Elton Jantjies and centre Frans Steyn among the replacements along with scrum half Herschel Jantjies.
The Boks know that this game matters for many reasons and they will be desperate to put in the type of performance that gets rid of all the criticism they’ve been on the end of recently. They are a powerful side with some real talent out wide but unfortunately they will not be able to keep up with the pace that the All Blacks play at and after a brutal opening 20 minutes the Kiwis will start to pull away from the chasing Boks.
New Zealand by 12.
Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville
Kick-off: 5:05pm (AEST)
Live stream: Stan Sport
Betting: New Zealand $1.23, South Africa $4.10 – odds via PlayUp
Referee: Luke Pearce
1. Joe Moody, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Nepo Laulala, 4. Brodie Retallick, 5. Scott Barrett, 6. Akira Ioane, 7. Ardie Savea (c), 8. Luke Jacobson, 9. TJ Perenara, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. George Bridge, 12. David Havili, 13. Rieko Ioane, 14. Will Jordan, 15. Jordie Barrett
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
1. Trevor Nyakane, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 3. Frans Malherbe, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 5. Lood de Jager, 6. Siya Kolisi (c), 7. Kwagga Smith, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 9. Faf de Klerk, 10. Handre Pollard, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 12. Damian de Allende, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 14. Sbu Nkosi, 15. Willie le Roux
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