All Blacks sealed the Rugby championship with a game to spare but instead of opening the champagne bottles, the men in black have a score to settle with the Springboks who provided the only dent in their rugby championship armour this year.
New Zealand outplayed Argentina on the weekend to grab yet another title but the pain of the 36-34 loss to the Springboks looms large in the air. TJ Perenara and coach Steve Hansen echoed the same statement when they were quick to hint on how all celebrations had been put behind them to focus on the task at hand.
The All Blacks have been known to be their own harshest critics and will no doubt use this as a motivator to right the wrongs from that wellington defeat – New Zealand rarely lose at home but South Africa found a way to crack their dominance and now the All Blacks have an even bigger challenge on their hands as they travel to South Africa to beat the Boks in their own backyard.
Whether Hansen will go with his hungry understudies or deploy the “heavy artillery” will be interesting to see, will he opt for the unpredictable Richie Mounga or the consistent Beauden Barrett who seems to have regained his kicking prowess ? Does he go with the numerous understudies at eighth man or does old fox Kieran Read come back to show how its done.
Regardless of who will play, the goal is clear for the dominant World champions but there will be a point to be proven by the men in green who won’t want to lose at home and as well, won’t want to prove the critics right that called their result “lucky”
One thing is for sure, you have to score more than 30 points to beat the ABs but fitness and defence always get you over the line. Will South Africa show the same resilience once more or will they succumb to a team that will be taking them more serious than when they last met.
In preparation for the world cup, this is a mouth watering prospect for all rugby fans around the world regardless of one’s allegiance. Saturday’s clash is one that cannot be missed – what’s your take on the matter, who comes out on top ?