With the last round of the Castle Rugby Championship this weekend it is all about pride for the Springboks after New Zealand already clinch the championship last weekend with their narrow win over the Springboks.
It was certainly not pretty but at the end it was Jordie Barrett with a penalty that clinched it for the All Blacks in the 100th test match between the two nations.
Jacques Nienaber and his coaching team has come under heavy criticism form fans for their kicking game plan they played yet again and with almost no attacking play form the backs. Fans have also been upset with Nienaber for not giving some other players a chance in this tournament as he stuck with his core starting XV throughout the tournament.
Sure fans will again be fuming after Nienaber did not change much in this weekend side to face the All Blacks in their second test match.
The back three are staying the same with Le Roux and fullback and Nkosi and Mapimpi on the wings. In the midfield we have Am and De Allende with Pollard and De Klerk as the halfback pair again.
In the pack Nienaber made some changes. WIth Malherbe out for this one Nienaber went with Retshegofaditswe Nché at number one and Trevor Nyakane switching to three with Bongi again at hooker.
The second row sees again De Jager and Etzebeth with Smith, Kolisi and Vermeulen as the loose trio.
On the bench, Wiese takes the place of Van Staanden who picked up an injury last week with Franco Mostert again part of the Bomb Squad.
The rest of the bench looks the same with Marx, Kitshoff and Koch covering the front row and Herschel Jantjies, Elton Jantjies and Frans Steyn covering the backs.
Now the question remains if the Springboks will follow the same plan this weekend against the All Blacks or will they surprise them like they did against England in the World Cup final?
Clearly Nienaber and the players as put this game plan down as their DNA and I believe we should not expect anything else come Saturday. Execution is given as therein reasons they did not score more form their kicking game. One must also take into account that the only time this year that the Springboks was outscored by the opposition was in the second test against Australia.
The problem with the game plan for most fans is not that they persist in it but the fact when opportunities in the game presents itself they do not even think twice to kick the ball rather than look at the space for an attacking play.
The major difference for the Springboks of 2019 and this team playing in the Rugby Championships are that they do not look for other opportunities in the game when it presents itself and stick to the high ball for that 50/50 chance to retain it and attack from that.
The All Blacks coach Ian Foster has also made some changes to his side for the second test match against the Springboks this weekend.
Both Bridge and Jordan has loss out for this weekend after they struggled against the Springboks high ball and he brought in Reece and moved Rieko Ioane to the left wing. They will form the back three with last week match winner Jordie Barrett.
WIth Ioane moving to the wing Foster has brought in Anton Lienert-Brown in the midfield to partner with David Havili. The halfback combinations also have a change with Barrett combining with Weber this weekend.
Luke Jacobson who missed out last weekend will start at number eight with the rest of the starting pack staying the same.
New Zealand did not had the greatest test against the Springboks last weekend. They were put under pressure and they made plenty of mistakes because of it. Like any other team in the world at this level, when you are being put under pressure, you start making mistakes.
The Springboks will try and unsettle the All Blacks again this weekend and hope that they can convert the opportunities this time into points.
The All Blacks on the other hand would have worked hard this week to see how they can take this Springbok game plan and turned it into their attacking game to pull away on the scoreboard. If you want to look at a DNA for any All Blacks side, then it is running the ball and scoring tries.
Against the Springboks defence, which is most properly one of the best in the world you need to do something special and if their is one team that can come up with something special, then it is the All Blacks.
As much as people hate the Springboks game at the moment, nobody really have much answers how to force their game on the Springboks. The only team that manage that was Australia in their second test match against the Boks.
This is going to be a huge battle this weekend and be sure that he packs will go hard at each other to secure ball for their backs to execute their games. The question is who’s game plan will force the other team to change this weekend.
The test is live on SuperSport this Saturday at 12:05 so do not miss it.
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Albertus Smith, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nché.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn.
New Zealand: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 David Havili, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Ardie Savea (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 George Bower, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Damian McKenzie.
Rugby Championship 2021