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All Blacks v Springboks: What you need to know


Analysis – The greatest rivalry in rugby writes another chapter in its long history tomorrow, this time at the neutral venue of Twickenham in London.

About 82,000 fans will pack into the famous stadium to watch the two most successful sides in test history go to battle, so here is everything you need to know.

Full strength

Both teams are coming out with their top available line ups, however Boks coach Jacques Nienabar has shifted a couple of his pieces around.

Young Canan Moodie moves off the wing into centre, a move that Ian Foster hinted that the All Blacks may try and exploit.

Damien Willemse is at fullback, but the All Black backline is looking very solid with Will Jordan and Mark Telea the strike weapons out wide.

Richie Mo’unga vs Manie Libbok at first five will be an interesting watch.

Will Jordan of New Zealand during the Rugby Championship test match, New Zealand All Blacks versus South Africa Springboks at Mt Smart Stadium In Auckland, New Zealand on Saturday 15 July 2023.

Will Jordan of New Zealand during the Rugby Championship test match, New Zealand All Blacks versus South Africa Springboks at Mt Smart Stadium In Auckland, New Zealand on 15 July 2023.
Photo: Photosport / Alan Lee


“This is not a friendly game. We’ve never had any friendlies against the All Blacks.”

Springbok skipper Siya Kolisi put to rest any lingering doubts that this match does not mean much, despite how close it is to the World Cup starting.

Yes, both teams’ seasons will not be defined at all by this one but both Kolisi and Sam Cane were at pains to point out how important it was in terms of momentum.

Jacobson with a point to prove

Luke Jacobson is an only injury-enforced change to the All Black loose forward trio, but he will be itching to get stuck into the Boks after spending most of the test season watching from the sidelines.

While Shannon Frizell has probably done enough to secure the starting blindside spot for the time being, he is leaving after the World Cup to play in Japan, so Jacobson can rip in with an eye for a future in Scott Robertson’s All Blacks.

2022 Autumn Nations Series, Twickenham Stadium, London, England 26/11/2022  
England vs South Africa   
South Africa's Siya Kolisi and South Africa's Damian de Allende 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

South Africa’s Siya Kolisi and Damian de Allende.
Photo: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan, ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Kolisi is back

The All Blacks’ 35-20 win over the Springboks last month did not feature the talismanic Springbok captain, who has returned from a long injury layoff.

He was in good form against Wales last weekend, but Warren Gatland’s side is absolute rubbish right now so it is hard to really use it as a good gauge.

Kolisi is one of the best players in the world on his day, so the All Black loose forward trio will need to be at their best to contain him.

Hansen distraction

Steve Hansen’s link with the Wallabies this week has been interesting and humorous, but probably not what the All Blacks wanted to have to deal with.

Whatever the truth around what he actually knew, and when, is unlikely to ever be known.

But Foster did see the funny side of it at least, joking that Hansen was going to send him pages of notes from the Wallaby camp.

Of course, the real joke is that the way Eddie Jones’ team has been going this year, Foster should not even waste his time reading it anyway as the two sides are pretty unlikely to meet at the business end of the World Cup.

The RFU would have to possibly sell iconic Twickenham to make ends meet if England was relegated from the proposed Nations Championship.

Twickenham Stadium.
Photo: Photosport

Crowd factor

About 82,000 Kiwis and South Africans (and a fair few locals) will cram into rugby’s largest stadium for what should be a unique and vibrant atmosphere.

Tests abroad are notoriously only really attended by All Black fans who have the sort of time on their hands to follow the team around, so older folks, but this London demographic should make for a fun and loud occasion.

World Cup statement

The All Blacks started this year out of a lot of people’s World Cup discussions, but five test wins in a row means that is rapidly changing.

A big win over the world champions would keep accelerating that chat even more, while the likes of Ireland and France will be extremely wary of the threat this revitalised All Black side now possesses.

Are they back to being the dominant force in world rugby? No, but things are looking an awful lot better than they were last year.

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