Why is NZ v Boks Rugby such a big game in sport?
The Springboks (South Africa) and the All Blacks (New Zealand) have been battling against each other for almost a century. The first Springboks vs All Blacks game was in 1921. Every rugby test match played since then has served to strengthen the rivalry and respect between these two proud rugby-playing nations.
A Springboks-All Blacks match is widely considered the benchmark of rugby greatness. Whilst the rivalry between them is characterised by gutsy competitiveness, beneath it all lies a mutual respect among every player who wears a black, or a green and gold jersey.
It’s a difficult job pinpointing which cluster of individual one-on-ones to particularly highlight for Saturday’s mouth-watering Wellington clash between grand old foes the All Blacks and Springboks (09:35 SA time).
Just about every positional duel has its tantalising aspects, a situation enhanced by the high level to which sprightly, dominating performances could influence starting berths in the respective sides at the bigger-picture RWC 2019 in Japan – and their virtually instant bilateral “rematch” in Pool B on September 21.
Etzebeth has a humble 2/11 win record, by contrast, against the All Blacks. But everyone also knows that that is through no special fault on his part – he always hurtles into them full-bloodedly, come what may on the scoreboard.
NZ v Boks Rugby Teams:
15 Beauden Barrett; 14 Ben Smith, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane; 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 TJ Perenara; 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Shannon Frizell; 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick; 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Substitutes: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 George Bridge
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel