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S Africa – New Zealand

South Africa New Zealand rugby championship prediction

The Springboks will host the All Blacks in Pretoria, in the last round of the 2018 Rugby Championship. Even though New Zealand already won the title last week, this will still be arguably the biggest test of the year in International rugby – especially after South Africa shocked the world by winning in New Zealand three weeks ago.

The Springboks have definitely shown improvement in this tournament and for long stretches of games they looked like the giants they once were. The 36-34 win they claimed over New Zealand three weeks ago has been a huge result, and has been the main talking point in rugby since then. However, it has to be said that the Springboks also showed plenty of weaknessees, as they lost (badly) in the second round in Argentina, and were arguably second best in the two games they played against Australia. They lost the first one by 5 and won last week by 11 at home, but they were definitely fortunate to do so, as Australia was overall more dominant in the two encounters.

The All Blacks have been their usual selves in this tournament, claiming four big wins against Australia and Argentina by an average margin of 23.25 points. Last week Argentina gave them some trouble in Buenos Aires, but the All Blacks were always in control and won by 18 points despite resting a few key players. The big talking point however, was the home loss against South Africa, and the All Blacks will be out for revenge – a scary prospect for any side in the world.

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Team news & lineups:

South Africa will make three changes to the team which beat Australia last week, while New Zealand will make four changes to the lineup that won in Argentina. Both sides are mostly healthy and look strong on paper.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Francois Louw, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff

New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe

There`s no doubt that South Africa is a better team this year under Rassie Erasmus, but they still have a long way to go, and they do seem a bit overrated after that win in New Zealand.

Fact is that South Africa, while putting on a great performance, had no business winning that game, but Beauden Barrett was a disaster from the tee. He missed 4 conversions, at least two of which were harder to miss than to convert. The All Blacks also gifted South Africa a couple of tries with some mindblowing mistakes, mistakes which you rarely see, especially from them.

Australia was also close to winning in New Zealand last year, they just did not have the same good fortune as South Africa. That didn`t mean a shift of power was taking place (NZ beat AUS by 25 and 28 this year), and it isn`t happening now either. New Zealand remains heads and shoulders above the competition.

A fair case can be made that South Africa was also lucky in last week`s 11 point home win over Australia. The Wallabies dominated every statistic except for territory and, again, South Africa was fortunate with goalkicking – they converted everything, while Australia missed some easy points from the tee.

Bottom line, the Boks are an improved team and they showed patches of incredibly high level. But mostly in this Championship they were not as impressive as results might suggest, and had their fair share of luck.

The All Blacks have been eyeing this game even since that whistle sounded three weeks ago in that home loss to the Boks, and they will be focused and raring to go here. In these circumstances it`s hard to see them making the same errors they made in that loss, or in the games against Argentina, when focus maybe wasn`t at 100%.

There`s no doubt that the All Blacks will be devastating again with ball in hand, and their scrum has looked exceptional as well lately, particularly last week in Buenos Aires, when they simply murdered the Argentinean pack. It will be difficult for South Africa to find ways to stay in the game for 80 minutes unless the All Blacks will make mistakes. And they will not make the same blunders they made three weeks ago.

This should be a good game, but a line around 10 points is always attractive when the All Blacks are playing, and they should be able to cover this on Saturday in Pretoria. They will be out for revenge, while the Boks are slightly overrated right now. My tip is New Zealand to cover the 10 point handicap. Prediction: South Africa – New Zealand 21 – 39.

Pick: New Zealand -10
Odds: 1.92 @ Pinnacle
Stake: 10
Possible profit: 9.20
Event date: 6 October

About Rostick

Former bookie & water polo player. Rugby Union expert. - EDITOR INFO & STATS
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