All Blacks

All Blacks v Springboks 2: The Empire Strikes Back

All Blacks v Springboks 2: The Empire Strikes Back

CJ, BJ, JdV, FvdM or PdV?

Ground Control to Major Bakkies: Take your protein pills and put your helmet on.

Ground Control to Major Bakkies: Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong. Can you hear me Major Bakkies? Can you hear me Major Bakkies?

Apparently not. It’s obvious his team mates were mightily pissed off with him after last week’s debacle. Bliksem, a yellow card which turned the game and nine weeks chewing biltong on the sideline.

There’s some speculation that Butthead might be gone forever but I think that’s wishful thinking. Anyhow, Danie Roussow is a pretty handy replacement and at least poses less risk of 14 man rugby. I’d imagine he won’t be wanting to be sent off in his 50th test match.

He’s a very physical player and just the sort of guy to provide a bit of muscle to counter the Thorns and Kaino’s in the ABs, although he’s picked up a slight calf strain and may be in some doubt.

Andries Bekker could come into the test 15 if he’s ruled out although Bull’s lock Flip van der Merwe has been called over from South Africa as insurance. Bekker and Matfield are predominantly lineout exponents and it may be that a ‘tight forward’ like van der Merwe is preferred.

Snor has made two enforced changes to his side that were embarrassed by the All Blacks last weekend with CJ van der Linde coming directly in for Doc du Plessis (calf injury), in addition to Roussow. Ryan Kankowski moves onto the bench.

Jean de Villiers is again selected on the wing instead of at inside centre where he has previously forged a world class partnership with Jacques Fourie. It appears the player himself is disappointed with this situation.

Last week he was exposed defensively a number of times but didn’t get too many attacking opportunities to shine. He’s being played out of position so you’d expect a bit of collateral damage.

For the All Blacks, Smokin Joe is out with a dodgy hammy which brings Rene Ranger into the XV for his first start. He’s a big, strong, abrasive unit who will test JdV to the max.

Jimmy Cowan has been dropped to the reserves after a mixed performance last week (he’s recovered from his abdominal strain).

Richard Kahui has dropped off the bench due to an injured shoulder and has been replaced by Israel Dagg.

Kahui injured again

What can the South Africans do this week that they failed to do last Saturday? They’re going to have to bring far more intensity into their game for a start. They were lethargic and mentally just weren’t in the zone.

A need to compete more aggressively at the breakdown is a given. Whether that means committing more troops to the ruck or not remains to be seen but that lack of intensity filtered through to all aspects of their game.

I’m wondering what happened to their mauling game the other day, especially at lineout time? That’s an area that would usually gain them acres of yardage. Maybe they were a little stunned that the All Black lineout nullified their usual area of dominance and threw them off balance?

The Bokke scrum was also a tad wobbly and under severe pressure early on. CJ van der Linde’s experience and bulk should be a positive in rectifying that.

I can’t see the Boks changing their tactics too much so I’ll continue to expect that aerial game but they’ve actually got some decent talent in their backline if they’d only use them.

The All Blacks have found a winning formula and when you’re on to a good thing why would you change course? This will test their consistency and establish whether the AB mental strength of yore is entrenched.

Lance says: ‘It’ll be a different ball game this week and I think the Bokke are in with a chance. That said, I think the end result (but not necessarily the score) will probably be similar. All Blacks by 5’

South Africa: Zane Kirchner, Jean de Villiers, Jaque Fourie, Wynand Oliver, Bryan Habana, Morne Steyn, Ricky Januarie, Pierre Spies, Francois Louw, Schalk Burger, Victor Matfield, Danie Rossouw, C.J. van der Linde, John Smit (captain), Gurthro Steenkamp Reserves: Chiliboy Ralepelle, B.J. Botha, Andries Bekker, Ryan Kankowski, Ruan Pienaar, Butch James, Gio Aplon.

All Blacks: Mils Muliaina, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Rene Ranger, Dan Carter, Piri Weepu, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (capt.), Jerome Kaino, Tom Donnelly, Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock Reserves: Corey Flynn, Ben Franks, Samuel Whitelock, Liam Messam, Jimmy Cowan, Aaron Cruden, Israel Dagg.

All Blacks

Roscoe Tims (aka @LanceFree): A nasty, opinionated little man whose views are indeed narrow with a capital 'N'. Favourite Sport: mungo bashing. Does he ever have anything positive to say?

More in All Blacks