Live updates: Rugby World Cup - All Blacks v South Africa at London's Twickenham Stadium

  • 26/08/2023

Live coverage has concluded, please click here for the full wrap

Kia ora and welcome to Newshub's live coverage of the All Blacks' World Cup warm-up clash against the Springboks in London.

The match represents the final chance for both sides to get out on the park before the tournament begins in just over two week's time, providing one last valuable hit-out before the real business begins.

Both teams have defied expectations and named near-full strength line-ups for the match, which will take place at the iconic Twickenham Stadium.

We'll have all of the action from 6:30am.

TAB betting odds: New Zealand - $1.45 South Africa - $2.80

All Blacks: 1-Ethan de Groot, 2-Dane Coles, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-Sam Whitelock, 5-Scott Barrett, 6-Luke Jacobson, 7-Sam Cane (c), 8-Ardie Savea, 9-Aaron Smith, 10- Richie Mo'unga, 11-Mark Telea, 12-Jordie Barrett, 13-Rieko Ioane, 14-Will Jordan, 15- Beauden Barrett

Reserves: 16-Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17-Tamaiti Williams, 18-Fletcher Newell, 19-Josh Lord, 20-Tupou Vaa'i, 21-Dalton Papali'i, 22-Cam Roigard, 23-Anton Lienert-Brown

Coach Ian Foster explains unusual All Blacks bench blend for Springboks test

At Twickenham on Saturday (NZ time), Ian Foster will experiment with a tactic he's not once employed in his tenure as All Blacks coach.

In an approach synonymous with his Springbok opponents, Foster has named a split of six forwards and two backs on the NZ bench for their World Cup warm-up clash in London.

Now referred to as the 'bomb squad', Jacques Nienabar's South African sides have routinely used the blend, which is designed for them to ensure they're able to capitalise on their trademark forward beef for maximum impact late in games, rather than using the traditional mixture of five forwards and three backs.

It may seem brave to try something so new this close to the World Cup, but Foster says the idea was inspired more by the team's current injury predicament than any attempt to replicate their opponents or trial any new initiative.

"That's effectively a squad management technique for this game," Foster explained, who has named halfback Cam Roigard and midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown as the only backs off the pine.

"We really want to manage our locking stocks, so we're taking advantage and utilising Josh Lord while he's over here."

Alongside Chiefs teammates Samipeni Finau and Brad Weber, lock Josh Lord joined the squad as injury cover for the one-off test this weekend. Foster has paired him alongside Tupou Vaa'i as substitutes, meaning both starting locks - Scott Barrett and Sam Whitelock - will be spelled at some stage of the contest.

Cam Roigard and Aaron Smith.
Cam Roigard and Aaron Smith. Photo credit: Getty Images

With injured lock Brodie Retallick likely to be unavailable for the opening game of the tournament against France on September 9, it allows Foster to lighten the load on his second-rowers to reduce the risk of any further damage to their locking depth.

"It gives us a good chance to manage the time that Scott [Barrett] and Sam [Whitelock] have," Foster added.

That's not to say we won't see the initiative rear its head during the World Cup, as self-professed "very open-minded" coach Foster admits.

"I'm quite intrigued how it goes," he said.

"I think it's a necessity for this game [but] we'll have a look at it afterwards and see what we think."

Incidentally, Foster says both Retallick and flanker Shannon Frizell are ahead of schedule with their respective injury rehabilitations, although neither will be available for selection until the second pool match against Namibia.

Unsurprisingly, the Springboks selectors have remained true to character and stuck with their traditional six-two split for Saturday, with fullback Willie le Roux and halfback Cobus Reinach the two backline representatives amid a mountain of prime South African beef.

Le Roux's use off the bench is one example of Nienaber taking the opportunity to test some combinations, as is the the shift of wing Canaan Moodie into centre.

There are no such chances being taken by Foster, who is adamant that playing their strongest line-up was the only option.

Many of the starters missed the All Blacks' second Bledisloe Cup test in Dunedin. Resting them again against the Boks would have meant a six-week absence from the field when the Cup opener came around - risking leaving them underdone for the 'big dance'.

"We thought the gap between the last test and the France game was too big for us to use this game as a cotton wool exercise," said Foster.

"Clearly we have two or three players we're looking after from an injury perspective. For the rest, it's a great test match two weeks before a World Cup and the only way to go into this is full throttle.

"This is a great way to test ourselves, rather than having a game that potentially didn't have the same edge to it and meant the build-up would be different.

"The build up is great for this because we know we have to turn up and match the intensity of the Boks and that's what we want."