All Blacks v Springboks: Lock Brodie Retallick braced for contrast of styles in historic 100th clash

Giant All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick is happy to flash his impressive record of never losing to South Africa over the an international career covering nine years and 87 games.

And he's determined this weekend's 100th meeting between the rugby superpowers at Townsville should not wreck that claim.

"It makes pretty good stat reading," he chuckles.

In 11 previous meetings, Retallick has helped New Zealand to 10 wins and a draw.

In fact, over the past 10 years and 15 encounters, the current world champions have only toppled the All Blacks twice - a pair of two-point thrillers at Johannesburg 2014 and Wellington 2018.

With victory over Argentina on Saturday, New Zealand have snatched the world No.1 ranking from their rivals, who slid to second with a second successive defeat to Australia.

As if the losses aren't enough, the Springboks have also drawn criticism for their unadventurous style of play, with former England World Cup-winning coach Sir Clive Woodward fearing they will kill rugby with their heavy reliance on set-piece

The All Blacks have gathered bonus points in each of their four victories over the Wallabies and Pumas, scoring 24 tries in the process, and need only one more bonus point against South Africa to clinch the Rugby Championship.

By contrast, the 'Boks have managed just nine tries and relied on the boot of Handre Pollard to stay close to the Aussies on Saturday.

"It is two completely different styles," agrees Retallick. "From our point of view, it's what we want to do with the ball.

"We don't want to get caught up, going set-piece to set-piece. If that does happen for periods, we need to control it and front there, but the boys are playing with some freedom,using the ball and creating opportunities - that's no doubt how we want to pay our game."

Both camps will be keenly aware of the significance of this 100th meeting, given the history between these two proud rugby nations. South Africa have easily been the All Blacks' most competitive rivals, winning 36 percent of their encounters.

"It's a battle that's gone a long way back between the two nations," says Retallick. "I think of one test in Jo'burg a few years back, I think 2014, which was a massive running battle and we came home late to win it.

"We'd just come from Argentina and those trips were always hard, going to South America and then over to Africa, but that one definitely sticks out in my mind."

Join us at 7pm Saturday for live updates of the All Blacks v South Africa Rugby Championship clash