Rugby World Cup 2019: New Zealand vs South Africa match preview
The much-anticipated clash between South Africa (a.k.a The Springboks) and New Zealand (a.k.a The All Blacks) is just around the corner as the two big teams will square off on 21st September at the International Stadium in Yokohama as part of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
This thrilling Pool B clash will feature some of the biggest names in the sport and could potentially decide which of the two teams top the group. The tied game between the two teams in the Rugby Championship just shows how nail-biting the game will be this coming weekend.
Although the result probably will not knock the losing side out of the competition, it might just give the side coming out on top a mental edge if they face each other at a later stage.
It will be interesting to see the side the Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus selects for the clash. The master tactician that he is, Erasmus might have a couple of surprises up his sleeve during this campaign.
The Boks will need to be organized in defense and make the most of the opportunities that they are given in the game. The set pieces will be crucial for the men from South Africa if they want to be dominant up front and in the tight phases.
The lock combination of Eben Etzebeth and Franco Mostert were exceptional against the hosts Japan in a warmup game. The Springboks would like to keep the game tight and force set pieces on The All Blacks. The tactical awareness and decision making of The Springboks Fly half Handre Pollard could decide the outcome of this tight battle.
Key Player: Handre Pollard
The men from New Zealand will be hurting after the last two results against The Springboks did not go their way, owing to some brilliance from Springbok replacement Scrumhalf Herchell Jantjies, who shattered the All Blacks' hopes of retaining the Rugby Championship in 2019.
The New Zealand coach Steve Hansen being the cool and calm character that he is never looks phased and would like to get back to business against their rivals. The All Blacks' squad is full of X-factor players and the matchday squad will be no different.
The New Zealanders will avoid the contact area and set pieces, thrive in loose play situations and will try to capitalize on the mistakes from their opponents. The All Black Scrumhalf Aaron Smith will be a key player in the outcome of the clash as the Springboks will need to keep their eyes on Smith around the ruck area.
Key Player: Aaron Smith
Prediction: All Blacks win by 8 points.
Kick-off time: 3.15 PM IST.
Venue: International Stadium Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama City
Referee: Jerome Garces