The All Blacks have named their team to take on the Springboks in Dunedin, the first time the two rugby union juggernauts have played against each other since last year’s Tri Nations. Both teams will be looking to put aside their last performances behind them, with South Africa drawing with Argentina and losing to Australia, and New Zealand had a error-ridden victory over Argentina in appalling conditions.
The blossoming career of halfback Aaron Smith has hit its first speed bump, with him swapping positions with last week’s bench player Piri Weepu. The swap had been telegraphed following the two player’s respective performances in last week’s creaky victory over Argentina in Wellington.
As expected, Liam Messam takes over from Victor Vito at number six, the former continuing his stellar year and showing he has the inside running on the competitive blindside flanker jersey vacated by Jerome Kaino. The established Sam Whitelock takes back his locking jumper from new-comer Brodie Retallick.
Dan Carter continues to be ruled out through injury, his place at flyhalf being taken over by Aaron Cruden.
The All Blacks lost the last match these two teams played against each, 5 – 18 in Port Elizabeth South Africa. They were later criticized for rotating too many players for the trip to South Africa. It was argued that by doing so they had removed some if their invincibility ahead of the world cup. They would also lose the following match against the Wallabies in Australia. Only a handful of starting players remain from that loss, Israel Dagg, Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock and Tony Woodcock. Although, Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore, Piri Weepu, Cory Jane and Victor Vito were involved in the 22 of each game.
RugbyFix Pick: All Blacks by 6
All Blacks Team to play South Africa:
Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea, Aaron Cruden, Piri Weepu, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (c), Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock.
Reserves: Keven Mealamu, Charlie Faumuina, Brodie Retallick, Victor Vito, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett, Tamati Ellison.
The Springboks named their team to play the All Blacks yesterday
Springbok Team to play New Zealand:
Zane Kirchner, Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers (c), Frans Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Juandre Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira.
Reserves: Tiaan Liebenberg, Dean Greyling, Andries Bekker, Marcell Coetzee, Johan Goosen, Juan de Jongh, Patrick Lambie.