Beaudy discusses Sunday’s scary collision and looks ahead to this week’s game at Ellis Park. Video / All Blacks
Everything you need to know ahead of the second Test between the All Blacks and the Springboks at Ellis Park Stadium in South Africa on Sunday 14 August (kick-off 3.05pm):
Former New Zealand No 8 Kieran Read paused for a moment this week as he searched for a word to best describe the South African rugby fans at Ellis Park.
He chose “Maniacs”.
Richie Mo’unga, current Kiwi first-five, said the effect of the high altitude in Johannesburg’s massive stadium “makes you taste the blood in your lungs”.
The All Blacks face more challenges against South Africa in Sunday’s Rugby Championship at Ellis Park while already bearing the burden of becoming possibly the statistically worst New Zealand side in 73 years.
The world’s best-known and most successful rugby team, mired in crisis, could slip to a sixth loss in seven games in what would be their worst streak since 1949 and almost certainly spell the end of Ian Foster’s tenure as head coach. It could even be the end of the road for flanker Sam Cane as captain.
Foster and his players have been trying to block out the noise of an angry New Zealand public and scathing press since a historic home defeat to Ireland last month. The clamor grew louder last weekend after a 10-26 defeat by the Springboks in the first of their back-to-back tests in South Africa that mark the start of the New Zealand Rugby Championship title defense.
Now it’s off to Ellis Park where 60,000 barking South African fans will likely enjoy adding to the pressure currently being felt from their biggest rivals.
“The noise, 60,000 (people), the altitude. You can feel the blood in your lungs, you can taste that,” said Mo’unga, who was promoted from the bench to start 10th and direct the attack in one of the All Blacks’ most important games in recent times.
“But I’ve also gotten to the point where I don’t care about the outside noise,” added Mo’unga. “I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t care what you think if you’re not on our team, on our roster.”
Mo’unga said he was just desperate to “make another attempt” to make things right for the All Blacks, echoing comments made by his teammates this week.
“We’re dying to improve and perform better than we have been so the stakes are higher than ever,” Cane said.
The All Blacks have handled the altitude and Ellis Park crowd before, winning two of their last three in Johannesburg, where Tests have often pulsed between the two.
But this time the Springboks are close to their strongest showing after dominating the All Blacks in Mbombela last weekend.
South Africa could clinch a third straight win over New Zealand, something that seemed unthinkable five years ago when the All Blacks defeated the Boks 57-0 and South African rugby was at one of its lowest and darkest points.
“If you look at the All Blacks, I’m sure they’re going to do it right,” said Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber. “Our job is just to make sure they don’t do it right against us.”
Foster’s biggest decision for Saturday’s game was benching Beauden Barrett, the starting five starter, and replacing him with Mo’unga, making his debut this season and in a game that was Foster’s job is, the starting jersey number 10 was entrusted to the line.
New Zealand rugby CEO Mark Robinson is in South Africa with the squad and is reportedly ready to fire Foster if there is another loss on Saturday.
The Springboks have veteran No. 8 Duane Vermeulen back in the starting lineup, but injuries and a suspension forced three more changes, meaning hooker Joseph Dweba, halfback Jaden Hendrikse and wing Jesse Kriel were all drafted into the 15.
The Springboks are still not expected to stray far from their preferred tactics, which focus on powerful scrum and mauling play, uncompromising defense, and contestable high kicks into the opponent’s back three. That combination led to South Africa’s biggest win against New Zealand in almost 100 years last weekend.
“We expect them to put out a lot of the same stuff,” All Blacks captain Cane said.
All Black: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (Captain), Shannon Frizell, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Tyrell Lomax, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ethan by Groot.
Reserves: Codie Taylor, George Bower, Fletcher Newell*, Tupou Vaa’i, Akira Ioane, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Quinn Tupaea.
springbok: Damian Willemse, Jesse Kriel, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Jaden Hendrikse, Duane Vermeulen, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (Captain), Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Joseph Dweba, Ox Nche.
Reserves: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Jasper Wiese, Kwagga Smith, Hershel Jantjies, Willie le Roux.
All Blacks: $2.70
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referee 1: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referee 2: Christophe Ridley (England)
TMO: Brett Cronan (Australia)
The last five exams:
2022: All Blacks 10-26 Springboks
2021: All Blacks 29-31 Springboks
2021: All Blacks 19-17 Springboks
2019: All Blacks 23-13 Springboks
2019: All Blacks 16-16 Springboks
Catch the action:
The Herald will be blogging the test live, while live radio commentary will be available on Newstalk ZB, Gold Sport and iHeartRadio.
The game will be broadcast on Sky Sport 1 and streamed live on Sky Sport Now.
– with AP