For the second year in succession, the All Blacks have won the Rugby Championship with at least one round to play (Steve Hansen’s side claimed the title in 2016 with two rounds to play) and this just shows how New Zealand operate at a completely different level to Australia, Argentina and South Africa.
The All Blacks did receive a fright throughout this campaign, however. Most notably their narrow victory over the Wallabies in Dunedin. That game at the Forsyth Barr Stadium ended up in a 35-29 victory for New Zealand after Michael Cheika’s side rushed into a 17-0 lead.
However, what is most impressive about this All Blacks team is their ability to come back and secure victories when they are put to the pin of their collar – a true sign of a world-class team. Their next task is their second game against the Springboks. After they steamrolled South Africa in Albany, Allister Coetzee’s side will be determined to put in a better showing this time around in Newlands.
Steve Hansen has named his side for Saturday’s clash and as expected, the matchday 23 includes the five players who travelled to South Africa early. Samuel Whitelock returns to the second row alongside Scott Barrett, Liam Squire is at blindside flanker and Sam Cane is at openside, with Matt Todd moving to the bench.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) October 5, 2017
Ryan Crotty has been named at centre, while Nehe Milner-Skudder is on the right wing. Tawera Kerr-Barlow has been named at reserve halfback while Lima Sopoaga provides additional back cover alongside David Havili.
This will be the tenth time the All Blacks have played South Africa at Newlands, the last time was in 2008 where the Springboks succumbed to a 19-0 defeat.
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