As anticipation mounts for the opening clash of the 2022 Rugby Championship between the Springboks and All Blacks, DEVIN HERMANUS previews the loose-forward showdown.
Jasper Wiese vs Ardie Savea
Wiese cemented his place at the back of the scrum for the Boks during the Wales series with a strong and matured showing, and in the face of a rising challenge from Evan Roos and Elrigh Louw.
The 26-year-old delivered a Man of the Match performance in the first Test after taking over from the injured Duane Vermeulen, who is in a race against time to face the Kiwis.
Man of the Match, Jasper Wiese v Wales ?
80 Minutes ⏰
10/10 Tackles made ?
1 Pass ?
17 Carries ?
1 Offload ?
6 Defenders beaten ?
57 Running metres ?
— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) July 4, 2022
Savea, who crossed twice in the All Blacks’ only win of a shock series defeat by Ireland in New Zealand, has the ability to get over the advantage line with ball in hand while is also tough to combat at the breakdown.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) July 4, 2022
Pieter-Steph du Toit vs Akira Ioane
Du Toit has routinely overcome injury setbacks in his career to remain one of the Boks’ most indispensable players under the current coaching regime.
The 2019 World Rugby Player of the Year missed the opening clash with Wales in Pretoria, but his experience and tireless work ethic was evident when the blindside flank returned for the remaining two fixtures.
The dynamic Ioane brings a physical and imposing presence to the loose-forward trio for the All Blacks.
He was a last-minute replacement for the injured Scott Barrett in the third and decisive Test against Ireland, and seized his opportunity with a powerful display in a losing effort.
? BEAST MODE! No other words are required to describe Akira Ioane’s performance against Australia in Perth.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) September 6, 2021
Siya Kolisi vs Sam Cane
Arguably the most influential player to pull on a Bok jersey, Kolisi continues to deliver the goods on the field while coping with the immense pressure off the field as the first black Springbok captain in history.
There are questions over why he rarely plays 80 minutes for the Boks but the SA skipper is a game influencer, with his well-timed try in Cape Town taking the contest away from Wales to clinch the series.
Calls for Cane to be axed as captain of the All Blacks grew following the series loss to Ireland, so pressure will undeniably be on the Kiwi to lead New Zealand to victory in the Republic.
Yet, the veteran loosie is a devastating tackler and scavenger, and his remarkable determination was showcased when he returned from a career-threatening neck injury in 2019.
Photo: Matt Roberts/Getty Images