26 Jul 2019

Capital Crime - can the Springboks roll the All Blacks again?

4:25 pm on 26 July 2019

The All Blacks host South Africa in a sold out test in Wellington tomorrow night and all eyes will be on whether the Springboks can conjure up another boil-over in the capital.

South Africa celebrate their win over the All Blacks 2018.

South Africa celebrate their win over the All Blacks 2018. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Despite all eyes being on the World Cup, there's still plenty to play for in the lead up to it, and some intriguing selections from coach Steve Hansen.

The Springboks upset the All Blacks 36-34 in the capital last September, with both New Zealand and South African fans left stunned by the result.

However, coach Hansen says vengeance isn't a motivating factor.

"No, it's not all about revenge, we're not into that."

Hansen is also keen to downplay the implications Saturday's result will have on their opening World Cup pool match against South Africa in September.

"In the big scheme of this year, does the result matter? I guess it will give whoever wins it a little confidence going in to the World Cup, but it won't mean whoever wins this one will automatically win the one in the World Cup."

"Even then whoever wins that game, it doesn't mean the other team is knocked out either.

"It gives everyone to have a wee look at each other and feel each other out, but I don't think it's going to affect the World Cup, no," Hansen said.

Brodie Retallick predicts another fiery encounter between the All Blacks and the Springboks in Wellington.

Brodie Retallick predicts another fiery encounter between the All Blacks and the Springboks in Wellington. Photo: Photosport

Lock Brodie Retallick believes the Boks are bullish about making it two in a row in Wellington.

"I think it's going to be a fiery one, yeah," Retallick said.

"The way that the All Blacks have approached it... and South Africa sent some of their boys straight here, there will be some fresh bodies so no doubt there's going to be plenty of energy.

"They won last time here in Wellington and obviously we want to be winning every time so I guess it will be a big one. We'll have to wait and see."

Springboks first-five Handre Pollard said other than self belief, there's little they can take from last year's upset.

He claims there's no one blueprint for beating the World Champions.

"Haha, no. It (last year's test in Wellington) was actually quite a weird game, especially if you look at the stats. I strongly doubt it will go the same way, if the result could be the same that would be good.

"But we'll take whatever comes out way. We'll rock up on Saturday night, we have a great plan, we're well prepared and we're ready for whatever comes our way."

South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus said no one remembers the Springboks beat the All Blacks in 2011, when New Zealand won the World Cup.

However, he's a little more forthcoming about the importance of tomorrow's occasion.

"In the bigger scheme of things one will always play down the this test match and say the World Cup is the most important, but in the same breath it's a New Zealand, South Africa test match.

"So for both teams it's very important. Because we're playing each other in the pool stage at the World Cup it spices it up. It's a spicy one it's going to be close and the team that wins will have a little more belief and momentum going into that pool match, so it's a big one."

Adding extra chilli to an already piquant test is the All Blacks' choice to start two first-fives, with regular Beauden Barrett moving to fullback and Richie Mo'unga starting at 10.

All Black Beauden Barrett congratulates Richie Mo'unga.

All Black Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo'unga will both start against the Springboks this weekend in Wellington. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It's a combination many have been crying out to see, and it seems the selectors agree.

Pundits have often claimed the electric Barrett is an inferior game manager or backline general to Mo'unga and should return to the open spaces of fullback where he shone in his early All Blacks years, when Dan Carter was still running the cutter.

Hansen believes Barrett can shine there again in a move the selectors have been mulling for quite a while.

"It's probably time. We've got a plan with a whole lot of things that we want to do before we get to the nitty gritty business (World Cup) and we just felt Saturday's the right time to try that particular part of the plan," he said.

"Obviously to replace Beauden at first five you've got to have someone that's pretty good.

"Richie's been playing very well for the last couple of years... you've got two ball players on the park and you've got two world class players."

Hansen has also picked Sonny Bill Williams at second five, as the injury blighted star races to prove his fitness before the World Cup.

He's barely played any rugby this year, his latest effort 50 minutes of club code three weeks ago.

Rounding out the midfield is Jack Goodhue, the last remaining member of the 'Mullet brothers" still rocking the controversial hair-do.

So does he fell deserted?

"Betrayed is the better word, hahaha. I don't want to talk about it."

"You've got to put it out of it's misery," suggested a reporter, with Rieko Ioane joking Goodhue's hair was "disgusting".

"What you don't like it? Get out!" Goodhue replied, to the mirth of those in attendance.

If he plays a leading hand in an All Blacks win tomorrow night, the mullet movement might rise from the ashes.

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