The Springboks face on of the toughest tasks in rugby this weekend – taking on the formidable All Blacks who themselves are in spectacular form. However, the Springboks do have homeground advantage, with Durban playing the venue for the titanic clash; but before proceedings get underway, here’s everything you need to know about the Springboks’ and All Blacks’ Rugby Championship encounter:
Head to head:
• South Africa and New Zealand square off for the 93rd time since their first Test match in 1921. South Africa won 35, lost 54 and three matches were drawn for a win percentage of 38%.
• The inaugural Tri-Nations Test between New Zealand and South Africa was played in Christchurch on 20 July, 1996. To date 44 matches in the Tri-Nations and currently Rugby Championship were played between the two countries of which South Africa have won 12 and lost 32.
• The complete South African record in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship against New Zealand is: Played 44, Won 12, Lost 32, Points for 842, Points against 1 219, Tries for 77, Tries against 122, Average score 19-28.
• South Africa and New Zealand are the only two Tier 1 countries who hold the record for most consecutive wins – between 1965 and 1969 New Zealand recorded 17 consecutive wins before the Springboks beat them in Pretoria on 25 July, 1970. During 1997/98, South Africa equalled the record with 17 consecutive Test victories before losing to England in December 1998.
• New Zealand repeated this feat and won 17 consecutive Test matches during 2013/14, this time being stopped by Australia who drew their first Rugby Championship match of 2014 in Sydney 12-12.
• On 1 August, 2009, Morné Steyn established a new world record by scoring all 31 points against the All Blacks in Durban with a try, conversion and eight penalty goals.
• The All Blacks will start Saturday’s match with 16 consecutive wins behind them.
• The match officials for this match are: Referee – Jérôme Garcès (France); Assistant referees – John Lacey and George Clancy (both Ireland) with the TMO Jim Yuille (Scotland).
• It will be Garcès’ ninth appearance as referee in Test matches involving South Africa. The Springboks won three and lost five of the previous eight Tests.
• Kings Park in Durban has a seating capacity of 52 000. The Springbok’s record at this stadium is: Played 31, Won 19, Lost 9, Drawn 3, Points for 749, Points against 508, Tries for 77, Tries against 45. The average score is 24-16.
• The most points scored in a Test match by a Springbok at this stadium are 31. Morné Steyn scored all the points – a try, a conversion and 8 penalty goals against New Zealand in August, 2009. South Africa won that Test 31-19.
• The complete Championship record at Kings Park against New Zealand is: Played 4, Won 2, Lost 2, Points for 99, Points against 98, Tries for 9, Tries against 9. The average score is 25-25.
• There is a total of 623 Test caps in the starting line-up are – 321 in the backline and 302 among the forwards. The combined Test caps on the bench are 123. The average caps per player for the match-23 is 27.
• The youngest player in the 23-man squad is Lood de Jager (23y, 9m) while the oldest member of the team is Bryan Habana (33y, 3m).
• The following players will play in their ninth consecutive match in the starting XV under Allister Coetzee’s reign: Francois Louw, Eben Etzebeth, Adriaan Strauss and Tendai Mtawarira.
• Bryan Habana is the top try scorer (8) for South Africa against New Zealand while Morné Steyn is the top points scorer with one try, 10 conversions, 31 penalty goals and two drop goals for a total of 124 career points in 12 appearances against the All Blacks.
Milestones and records:
• Bryan Habana is the Springbok record holder for most career tries (8) against New Zealand.
• Damian de Allende will play in his 20th Test match.
• Eben Etzebeth will play in his 30th consecutive Test match, which places him in third place for most consecutive Tests matches in a Springbok career behind Gary Teichmann (39) and John Smit (46).
• Morné Steyn made his Test debut against the British & Irish Lions at this stadium on 20 June, 2009. His second Test match at this stadium was against the All Blacks on 1 August, 2009. During this match he established a new world record by scoring all 31 points with a try, a conversion and 8 penalty goals. The final score was 31-19.
• Steyn kicked four successful penalty goals against Australia at Loftus Versfeld last Saturday and is now the new record holder for most career penalty goals in Tests for South Africa (149). He only needs one successful penalty goal for his 150th. He is also now the new record holder with six drop goals in his Rugby Championship career.
Springboks – 15 Pat Lambie, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Jaco Kriel, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Willie le Roux.
All Blacks – 15 Ben Smith, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 George Moala.
What is your prediction for the match? Will the Springboks pull off a shock win or will the All Blacks remain dominant? Let us know by tweeting us @MenStuffZA!