The Springboks may need to beat the rampant All Blacks in Durban to avoid finishing in the bottom half of the Rugby Championship table, writes JON CARDINELLI.
The Boks beat the Wallabies 18-10 at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday. The result marked the end of a three-game losing streak for Allister Coetzee’s men, and may have given the Boks hope of finishing the Rugby Championship in second place.
While the All Blacks have already won the tournament, the battle continues for that runners-up position. The result at Loftus has seen the Boks moving into second place on the log with 10 points ahead of the Wallabies who are on nine.
That may change after the last round, which sees the Boks hosting the All Blacks in Durban and the Wallabies taking on Argentina in London. The Wallabies will be favourites to beat the Pumas at Twickenham. The Boks, however, will be underdogs in the fixture against the All Blacks.
South Africa have lost eight of their last nine Tests against New Zealand. Steve Hansen’s side has moved up a gear since winning the 2015 World Cup. They were dominant in the series against Wales in June, and have won the first five matches of their Rugby Championship campaign by 20 points or more.
Hansen made nine changes ahead of the match against the Pumas in Buenos Aires. While there were times when the All Blacks battled to gel, they still managed to score five tries and win 36-17.
Hansen is likely to name his strongest available side for the coming match against the Boks at Kings Park. The All Blacks are now two wins away from breaking the record for the most consecutive wins by a tier-one Test side.
Argentina can do the Boks a favour by beating the Wallabies at Twickenham. That said, if the Boks lose by more than seven points and the Wallabies earn a losing bonus point in London, then it is the Australians who will move into second position by virtue of their superior points difference.
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