It is a daunting task for South Africa in order to win the 2021 Rugby Championship after losing back-to-back matches against Australia.
They trail New Zealand by 10 points in the table heading into the final two fixtures of the tournament, meaning they have to win both matches against them with a bonus point while stopping their opponents from picking up a single point.
That will be a huge task against the now number one team in the world. The All Blacks had a two-year hiatus from their usual spot at the top of the World Rugby rankings and under Ian Foster they have been mightily impressive and fully deserve to be in the position they are now in.
Historical 100th Test
This will be the 100th meeting between these two heavyweights. The Kiwis currently lead that head-to-head with 59 wins since their first meeting back in 1921, although since the start of 2018, their record reads a closer W2-D1-L1.
In fact, only one game between the two has been separated by more than two points since 2017, coming in the 2019 World Cup when New Zealand ran out 23-13 winners in the pool stage.
Most people have written off the Springboks following their poor performances over the last fortnight, but we’re inclined to give them one more chance given the quality they possess.
South Africa +15.5 Point Handicap
Of course, the Kiwis have now won six straight matches against Tier One nations dating back to mid-November, but all those games came against Argentina and Australia, and although the Aussies downed South Africa, the Boks tend to find their best form in the big games as they showed when winning the World Cup in Japan.
Jacques Nienaber has opted to start Lood de Jager and Kwagga Smith in the forwards which should improve the pack and give them the much needed mobility at set-pieces where they’ll likely win the game.
They will still be without Cheslin Kolbe, but they have solid options out wide to replace him.
It’s easy to forget that 10 months ago the All Blacks lost back-to-back matches against the Pumas and Australia and so they’re not untouchable.
They’re still the most likely winners in our eyes, but we reckon the Springboks can at least take the game to them on Saturday.
SPRINGBOKS +15.5 HANDICAP