All you need to know: All Blacks vs Springboks

By Alex McLeod

New Zealand's Jerome Kaino dives to score a try at the Rugby World Cup Semi Final, South Africa v New Zealand All Blacks, Twickenham Stadium, London, England. Photo / Paul Thomas - photosport.co.nz
New Zealand's Jerome Kaino dives to score a try at the Rugby World Cup Semi Final, South Africa v New Zealand All Blacks, Twickenham Stadium, London, England. Photo / Paul Thomas - photosport.co.nz

Here's all the information you need to know ahead of tonight's match between the All Blacks and South Africa.

AMI Stadium, Christchurch, 7:35pm kick-off

The 92nd test match between two of the greatest rugby playing nations on the planet will take place at AMI Stadium in Christchurch tonight, as South Africa will be looking for revenge on the All Blacks following their Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat at Twickenham, London in October last year.

That match between the two was just the third match played at a neutral venue. The other two neutral venues were Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in the 1999 Rugby World Cup 3rd & 4th playoff match, and the 2003 Rugby World Cup quarter-final held at Telstra Dome in Melbourne.

Of the remaining 88 internationals played between the two, 41 have been played in New Zealand, and 47 have been hosted in the Republic.

Eight of those tests between the All Blacks and the Springboks have been played in Christchurch, with the first of those being played nearly 80 years ago on 4 September 1937.

On that occasion, the South Africans walked away victorious, following a 13-6 win.

Despite getting off to a difficult start ageist the Africans in the Garden City, the All Blacks have fared well over the course of time in matches between the two in Christchurch, winning a total of six out of their eight encounters.

New Zealand's only other loss to the South Africans was a 19-16 defeat in 1965.

Despite having played eight times against each other in Christchurch, this will be the first time the two rivals have faced off against one another at the new AMI Stadium, formerly known as the Addington Showgrounds.

This will be the fourth test match played at the Addington AMI Stadium, and the All Black will hope to maintain their 100% win rate at the improvised home of Canterbury rugby.

Their first match at the 18,000-capacity stadium came in 2012, where a last minute Dan Carter drop goal sealed a 22-19 win for the home side.

Since then, wins over France in 2013 (30-0) and Argentina in 2015 (39-18) have been much more comfortable outings for the men in black than their debut appearance at the Canterbury Rugby League-owned ground.

The All Blacks' tight 20-18 Rugby World Cup semi-final win over the Springboks 11 months ago was the last time the two teams have met, but the last time they met in a Rugby Championship fixture was in a near-equally tough encounter played at the Springboks' fortress of Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

With lock James Broadhurst and first-five-eighth Lima Sopoaga making the international debuts for the All Blacks, and prop Vincent Koch and midfielder Lionel Mapoe making their international debuts for the home side, the visitors managed to come away with a 27-20 victory, securing the Freedom Cup - New Zealand and South Africa's equivalent of the Bledisloe Cup - for the sixth year in succession.

The last time the teams played in New Zealand was at Westpac Stadium in Wellington in 2014, where a Richie McCaw try meant the All Black came out on top of another bruising battle 14-10.

The most recent defeat the All Blacks have had at the hands of the Springboks was just three weeks after that Wellington win, as replacement first five Patrick Lambie converting a 78th minute penalty goal to hand the Springboks a 27-25 victory, while also dishing out the All Blacks their first ever Rugby Championship defeat since its inception in 2012.

Despite that win two years ago, South Africa have not had much to cheer about when facing the All Blacks, having only won two of their previous 13 tests against the reigning world champions.

The last time the South Africans managed back-to-back wins over the All Blacks was seven years ago in 2009, where they whitewashed the All Blacks 3-0 throughout the Tri-Nations and won the Freedom Cup for just the second time in their history.

Like last week, the All Blacks will be hoping to add to a number of the winning streaks they currently hold.

43 straight matches undefeated on New Zealand soil, dating back to their 2009 loss to tonight's opponent in Hamilton, 14 straight wins on the bounce and 18 straight years of playing in Christchurch without defeat are all records that can be extended by the All Blacks tonight.

Line ups:

Like last week, the All Blacks have made minimal changes to the starting line up that defeated Argentina at FMG Stadium Waikato last Saturday.

Coach Steve Hansen's only change to the starting line up is the inclusion of openside flanker Ardie Savea, who is a straight swap for the injured Sam Cane, who damaged his hamstring against the Pumas and is expected to be out of action for between 4-6 weeks.

It will be Savea's first start in the black jersey, having made all of his previous five test appearances from the bench.

Three-test Crusaders and Canterbury flanker Matt Todd, who has been called in as Cane's injury replacement for the remainder of the Rugby Championship, has been thrust into the matchday 23, slotting onto the bench in place of Savea.

The only other change to the side comes in the form of the replacement first-five-eighth, as two-test Highlanders and Southland pivot Lima Sopoaga finally has a chance to stake his claim for a constant spot in the matchday 23 against the side that he made his international debut against last year.

He replaces Aaron Cruden on the bench.

For the Springboks, coach Allister Coetzee has made two changes to the starting side that lost 23-17 at the hands of the Wallabies at a half-full Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane last week.

Lock Pieter-Steph du Toit replaces Lood de Jager in the starting line up, after a knee injury during the loss against Australia ruled him out of this weekend's match.

In addition to this, tighthead prop Vincent Koch has been promoted from the bench and into the number 3 jersey in the place of Lourens Adriaanse, who takes Koch's spot in the reserves.

On the bench, Willem Alberts, drafted into the Springboks squad as injury cover for de Jager, vacates the empty seat at lock, while Stormers midfielder Damian de Allende moves into the matchday 23 in the place of Lionel Mapoe.

New Zealand: Ben Smith, Israel Dagg, Malakai Fekitoa, Ryan Crotty, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read (c), Ardie Savea, Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Joe Moody.

Reserves: Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Luke Romano, Matt Todd, T.J. Perenara, Lima Sopoaga, Anton Lienert-Brown.

South Africa: Johan Goosen, Bryan Habana, Jesse Kriel, Juan de Jongh, Francois Hougaard, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley, Oupa Mohoje, Francois Louw, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Vincent Koch, Adriaan Strauss (c), Tendai Mtawarira.

Reserves: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Lourens Adriaanse, Franco Mostert, Willem Alberts, Jaco Kriel, Morne Steyn, Damian de Allende.

Odds:

The TAB have the All Blacks as immense favourites to take out the test, paying out at $1.04 for a New Zealand win, while a Springboks upset is paying at $9.00.

Like last week, Julian Savea is favourite to score the first try of the test, paying out at $6.50, while outside backs Ben Smith and Israel Dagg are the joint favourites to score a try at any point in the match, paying at $1.85.

The South African favourite to score a try at some point in the match is veteran speedster Bryan Habana, who is paying at $4.25.

However, just like the Argentines last week, no try scorer is the lowest paying option for South Africa, with nobody to score for the Springboks in the match paying at $2.25.

How to watch:

Sky TV will be showing the match live on Sky Sport 1 at 7:30pm, with pre-match coverage beginning at 6:30pm. RadioSport will have live commentary.

Australia vs Argentina:

Following on from the All Blacks vs Springboks match, the Wallabies take on Argentina at Perth's nib Stadium at 10:05pm, with Australia looking to build momentum from their first win of the year last week against South Africa, while the Pumas will be looking to bounce back from the heavy 57-22 defeat they suffered against the All Blacks.

Key facts:

- The Wallabies have won 11 of their last 12 games against the Pumas, including victories the last two times these teams have met.

- The Wallabies have won their last 11 games against Argentina on home soil and the only time the Pumas have earned a win in Australia was in July 1983 - the first ever clash between the sides in the country.

- The Wallabies enjoy a 76% win rate against Argentina, their best rate against any international team they've faced more than 20 times.

- Australia have boasted the best scrum success rate in The Rugby Championship so far (95%) however their lineout success sits at a competition-low 75%, with the Wallabies losing 3.3 lineouts per game on average on their own throw.

- The final quarter of games this campaign is the only quarter in which the Wallabies have scored (12) more points than they have conceded (10), the same quarter in which Argentina have conceded 34 more points than they've scored.

- Argentina are on the hunt for a second win in a single Rugby Championship campaign for the first time since they joined the competition in 2012, they also need only 35 more points to eclipse their most points in a TRC campaign (105 in 2014).

- All three of the Wallabies' tries have come on the back of a lineout win so far this campaign, only the All Blacks (5) have scored more frequently after beginning possession with a lineout.

- Argentina have conceded just 13 turnovers per game so far this campaign, the fewest of any team, while they win an average of 7.7 turnovers per game in reply.

- Bernard Foley has kicked eight goals from nine attempts, giving him the best goal kicking accuracy (89%) of any player who has made more than two attempts at the sticks.

- Argentina's Facundo Isa has made 41 carries in three games so far this campaign, the most of any player and five more than the next busiest player, Israel Folau (36).

- NZ Herald

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