Saturday will be arguably the Springboks’ most promising chance to defeat the All Blacks. The World Champions have wrapped up the competition, so there’s not too much at stake for Boks, and they should be throwing everything they have at the Steve Hansen’s men.
There are some notable milestones taking place at Ellis Park this weekend, as well as some potential records being broken, so let’s have a look at 8 facts you need to know before the big game:
•The Springbok starting team boasts a total of 657 Test caps (282 in the backline and 375 in the forwards), while there are a further 296 caps worth of experience on the bench.
•Jean de Villiers will become the first Springbok to play in 50 matches in the Tri-Nations / Castle Lager Rugby Championship. Only Richie McCaw (54) and Keven Mealamu (52) have played more Rugby Championship games.
•De Villiers will also extend his record as the most-capped Springbok centre, with 86 Tests in this position and will captain South Africa for the 30th time, placing him third behind John Smit (83) and Gary Teichmann (38).
•Victor Matfield will extend his record as the most capped Springbok in history (116 Tests). He will also extend his record of 116 Tests as a lock and will also be playing against New Zealand for the 26th time to extend his record.
•Bryan Habana will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok wing, with 101 Tests in this position. If he scores a try, he will extend his record of 56 Test tries for South Africa as well as his Castle Lager Rugby Championship record of 18 tries, and will extend his own SA record of seven career tries against New Zealand.
•If he scores a try, Bismarck du Plessis will extend his record of nine Test tries for South Africa as a hooker. Bismarck and his older brother Jannie will extend their record of playing together in 39 Tests for the Springboks. Bismarck, Jannie and Tendai Mtawarira will also extend their record of 17 Tests as a front-row trio for South Africa.
•It will be the second time in history (first last week) that a Springbok team will have three centurions in the starting line-up.
•The referee is Wayne Barnes of England. This will be his 10th Test involving South Africa. The Springboks have won six and lost three of the previous Tests. The last time he refereed South Africa, was against France on 23 November 2013 at the Stade de France in Paris. The Boks won 19-10.
The Springbok team to face the All Blacks on Saturday is the following:
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Duane Vermeulen/Schalk Burger, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira. Subs: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Schalk Burger/Warren Whiteley, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 JP Pietersen.
All Blacks team:
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Joe Moody. Subs: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Ryan Crotty.
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