Nepo Laulala of the All Blacks is tackled by Eben Etzebeth of the Springboks (Getty)
- Minimal changes have been made by the Springboks and the All Blacks for Saturday’s second Rugby Championship Test on the Gold Coast.
- Some of the changes have led to some mouth watering contests.
- One of the eagerly awaited tussles will be the scrum battle between Joe ‘Tripod’ Moody and Trevor Nyakane.
Last week’s 100th Test between the Springboks and the All Blacks came and went and the caravan has now moved to the Gold Coast for the 101st instalment of the rivalry.
With Jacques Nienaber and Ian Foster making changes, different contests have been opened up.
Here are five battles that give the final Springbok/All Black game of the year a fair bit of weight:
Lukhanyo Am v Anton Lienert-Brown
Am didn’t have the best of games last weekend, but with his marshalling of the defence, he made sure that Ioane was kept on a leash. Lienert-Brown, or ALB, is a shrewder and stronger player with a better understanding of the nuances of midfield play.
With David Havili also having quite the chastening experience at 12 as Bok physicality got the better of him, ALB will have the double job of keeping his midfield partner in check and comfortable.
Whether Am will get more ball will be interesting as the Bok kicking game left him badly under-utilised.
Faf de Klerk/Handre Pollard v Sevu Reece/Rieko Ioane
That George Bridge and Will Jordan have been dropped for this Test speaks volumes about the success of the De Klerk/Pollard kicking game. That’s pretty much the only thing they got right in Townsville last week.
What Ioane lacks in midfield experience, he atones himself for in the aerial battle. He’s very efficient in this regard, but the same can’t be said of Reece, who’s an accomplished finisher, but not as savvy under the high ball.
Siya Kolisi v Ardie Savea
This leadership battle had a poignant touch off the field, but Kolisi stole a proper march on Savea with his best showing against the All Blacks in his career.
The Kolisi on view for the Boks currently reminds of the Kolisi who carried Grey High School’s first XV in 2009 where the skipper was in full flight regardless of the opposition.
Savea wasn’t a shrinking violet, but with the All Blacks decidedly second best in the collisions despite winning, he manned up on defence and the breakdown.
The All Blacks need to get go forward ball to get the best out of Savea.
Trevor Nyakane v Joe Moody
‘Tripod’ Moody had a lot to say about the Boks slowing down the game, but was strangely quiet about the working over he received from Frans Malherbe. Nyakane, like Malherbe, is a doer and not a talker.
The jury is out on Moody’s ability as a scrummager and it should be him, not Karl Tu’inukuafe, who should be out of the match-day 23.
Nyakane on the other hand, manhandled the British & Irish Lions props, who are streets ahead of anything New Zealand have in the front row at the moment.
Elton Jantjies v Richie Mo’unga
That Mo’unga will get a run in the second half is not to be disputed. Whether Jantjies will get a more than decent opportunity will be the biggest question.
These two, to use a colloquial term, love to ‘jol’ on the field. If the Boks get the kind of physical dominance from the first Test, Jantjies is the man to drive home their advantages.
Mo’unga has shown serious fallibility when playing behind a back-peddaling pack at the All Blacks, while thriving when the Crusaders give him front-foot ball.
If the game opens up, these two need to be allowed to have a crack at each other and one hopes Nienaber can trust Jantjies enough to test the All Blacks in a way Pollard failed to.
15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 David Havili, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Ardie Savea (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 George Bower, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Richie Mo’unga, 23 Damian McKenzie
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ox Nche
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Jasper Wiese, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn