The title decider of this year’s Rugby Championship comes to a head on Saturday as South Africa play hosts to New Zealand hoping to spoil the All Blacks’ parade.
In 11 outings in the competition over the last two years, Steve Hansen’s World Cup champions have gone undefeated in their journey, but could relinquish that record if caught napping this weekend.
The All Blacks currently lead the table, so Heyneke Meyer's Springboks need to win with a bonus point on Saturday, in addition to denying their visitors a bonus of their own.
A tall order by any side's standards.
The Springboks were always going to be the most likely challengers to New Zealand, but what isn’t quite as predictable is who will come out on top of the tournament’s climactic finale.
Read on to find all the times and viewing information you need to ensure you don’t miss a second of this clash of Southern Hemisphere titans.
What: South Africa vs. New Zealand
Where: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
When: Saturday, September 5
Time: 5 p.m. local/4 p.m. BST/11 a.m. ET
Viewing Info: Sky Sports 4 (UK), SuperSport One (SAF), Sky Sports New Zealand (NZL),
Fox Sports 2 (AUS)
Key Battles To Watch
Willie Le Roux vs. Julian Savea
Julian Savea has been nothing short of a revelation over the course of this tournament, majorly boosting his status at international level and assuring any potential sceptics that he’s ready for the big stage.
This weekend, the marauding 23-year-old will come up against Willie Le Roux once again, a winger who arguably had the best time of any of Savea’s markers in quelling his substantial talent.
As was evident in his runaway try against Argentina last weekend, give Savea an inch of space and he’ll gladly punish you for it, so it’s vital that the Springboks recapture some of the tighter play managed in the first half of their trip to Eden Park three weeks ago.
Both equipped with bags of speed, who wins this particular battle will depend a lot on who comes out on top of the central channels, with Jean De Villiers, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu and JJ Engelbrecht all involved.
Zane Kirchner vs. Israel Dagg
Zane Kirchner has taken his chances well since being handed South Africa’s No. 15 jersey halfway through his Rugby Championship, popping up with tries in two of his three matches.
However, it was Israel Dagg and a very physical All Blacks back line that kept the Springbok so quiet in Auckland last month and will look to do so again at Ellis Park.
Kirchner has shown himself to be a tremendously timed asset when appearing on the wings for his side, but it’s been seen just how much Dagg likes to utilise his talents through the middle of his backs.
Expect to see either fullback being caught out of his comfort zone on numerous occasions in Johannesburg, where the kicking game and South Africa’s need for a bonus point could also play their part.
Prediction: South Africa 18 – 24 New Zealand
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