Rugby World Cup: All you need to know for All Blacks' Rugby Championship showdown with Springboks

All Blacks v Springboks

When: July 15, 7:05 pm

Where: Go Media Stadium Mt Smart, Auckland (capacity: 25,000)

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)

Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Pierre Brousset (France)

TV official: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

The All Blacks and Springboks face off in a blockbuster test that is likely to decide the Rugby Championship, and suggest which of the southern hemisphere superpowers are best-placed to challenge for the World Cup later this year.

The first edition of one of rugby's great fixtures to be held in New Zealand since before the last World Cup and the COVID-19 pandemic, Saturday's clash at Auckland is one both teams have long had their eyes on.

The Springboks waltzed to a 43-12 victory over Australia in their tournament opener at Pretoria last week, despite sending 14 players as an advance party to New Zealand. Ten of them have been named in the matchday squad. 

The All Blacks can look forward to a huge battle up front from the Springboks pack, with six hefty forwards named on the bench to ensure full physicality until the 80th minute.

Barring the absence of injured regular first-five Handre Pollard, the backline is probably the strongest the world champions can put out, with plenty of power and flair to exploit any defensive gaps that pressure creates.

New Zealand opened their truncated three-game Rugby Championship campaign with a 41-12 win in Argentina, after pivot Damian McKenzie played the leading role in an early blitz of tries.

In an indication that they think game management and accurate placekicking might be more important than backline flair, New Zealand have replaced McKenzie with Richie Mo'unga.

Rieko Ioane looks to break clear against the Springboks last year.
Rieko Ioane looks to break clear against the Springboks last year. Photo credit: Getty Images

Beauden Barrett offers another playmaking option and plenty of pace at fullback, while brother Jordie remains in the centres, with the ability to punish Springbok ill-discipline with the longest of long-range penalties.

Up front, Sam Whitelock is absent, but the equally experienced Brodie Retallick returns alongside Scott Barrett in the second-row engine room, while Ardie Savea leads an abrasive back row from No.8.

While due deference will be paid to the Rugby Championship, both teams doubtlessly view the clash as key preparation for what they might face in the later rounds of the World Cup in France.

Beauden Barrett in action against the Springboks last year.
Beauden Barrett in action against the Springboks last year. Photo credit: Getty Images

The match between the only two countries that have won three World Cups is being played in the all but unprecedented context of neither the Springboks nor the All Blacks being in the top two in the world rankings.

Those spots belong to Six Nations champions Ireland and World Cup hosts France, both of whom will be on the same side of the draw as the southern hemisphere superpowers, when rugby's greatest prize is being decided in October.


All Blacks: 1-Ethan de Groot,  2-Codie Taylor, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-Brodie Retallick,  5-Scott Barrett, 6-Shannon Frizell, 7-Sam Cane (captain), 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-Nepo Laulala, 19-Tupou Vaa'i, 20-Dalton Papali'i, 21-Finlay Christie, 22-Braydon Ennor, 23-Caleb Clarke.

South Africa: 1 -Steven Kitshoff, 2 -Bongi Mbonambi, 3 -Frans Malherbe, 4-Eben Etzebeth (captain), 5-Lood de Jager, 6-Kwagga Smith, 7-Franco Mostert, 8-Jasper Wiese, 9-Faf de Klerk, 10-Damian Willemse, 11-Makazole Mapimpi, 12-Damian de Allende, 13-Lukhano Am, 14-Cheslin Kolbe, 15-Willie le Roux.

Reserves: 16-Malcolm Marx, 17-Thomas du Toit, 18-Vincent Koch, 19-RG Snyman, 20-Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21-Duane Vermeulen, 22-Grant Williams, 23-Manie Libbok.

TAB Odds: New Zealand - $1.37 South Africa $3.00

Weather forecast: According to Metservice, Saturday in Auckland will be mostly fine, with some isolated light showers. Fresh westerlies, easing in the evening.

Temperature at kickoff will be approximately 13 degrees celsius.


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