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All Blacks and Springboks prepare for 100th meeting

All Blacks and Springboks prepare for 100th meeting

All Blacks and Springboks prepare for 100th meeting

The All Blacks will take on South Africa for the 100th time exactly 100 years since the first meeting of the two sides.

And New Zealand can clinch the 2021 Rugby Championship title against their rivals in Townsville, with Ian Foster naming a strong side for the occasion.

He has made eight changes in total from the team that triumphed over Argentina last time out, six of them coming in the pack.

Scott Barrett and Brodie Retallick make up a formidable new-look second row, while Akira Ioane and Luke Jacobson get the nod alongside skipper Ardie Savea in the back row.

Nepo Laulala and Codie Taylor also return in what is close to full strength in the absence of the two Sams, Cane and Whitelock.

More crucial could be the changes in the backline, where Beauden Barrett returns at fly-half, while David Havili will line up outside him in the centres.

South Africa, by contrast, have made just two changes from the team that lost to Australia for the second week running.

Kwagga Smith is preferred to Franco Mostert in the back row, while Lood de Jager is fit again and comes into the second row.

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Elsewhere, however, Jacques Nienaber is backing the team that were beaten by the Wallabies to respond against New Zealand, who have just leapfrogged the Springboks to top the world rankings for the first time since the 2019 World Cup.

In that tournament, the All Blacks won the pool meeting between these two, but South Africa walked away with the big prize after knocking off New Zealand’s conquerors England in the final.

The biggest test for South Africa will be Nienaber’s much-vaunted defence. So far New Zealand have managed 24 tries in four matches, compared to just nine for the Boks.

If New Zealand can maintain that rate of six tries per match, it will be a tall order for South Africa to stop them. However, the Springboks have conceded just six tries in total in the Rugby Championship – four of those coming last time out against Australia.

If they can tighten back up again, then they will hope to get hand the All Blacks a first loss of 2021 while keeping their own slender hopes of winning the Rugby Championship alive.

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

Replacements: 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.

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; 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.

Replacements: 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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