South Africa looked to be heading towards a disastrous Rugby Championship campaign after successive away defeats to Argentina and Australia but they bounced back in the strongest possible way though with a 36-34 victory in Wellington to beat New Zealand, a game in which they started 22 point underdogs. They then returned to South Africa with a hard fought 23-12 win over Australia in Port Elizabeth last week and while they are unable to win the Rugby Championship they will be very keen to show that the Wellington result was no fluke.
New Zealand wrapped up the Rugby Championship with a bonus point victory against Argentina last week, they started off fast and eventually won 35-17 to narrowly beat the handicap. The only defeat of the campaign came against the South Africans in Wellington and of their 4 victories the 18 point winning margin over Argentina was the lowest of the Championship.
South Africa have lost their last 3 home games against New Zealand and while New Zealand have won all 4 matches at Loftus since readmission, the sides haven’t played here since 2006.
Betting – click here to bet
South Africa 7/2
New Zealand 2/9
South Africa +11.5 at 9/10
New Zealand -11.5 at 9/10
Suggested bet: Handicap, South Africa (+11.5) at 9/10.
South Africa’s victory in Wellington was built on defence and while they were perhaps fortunate that Barrett had an off day with the boot, they would have taken a lot from the fact that they were able to keep New Zealand out at the end and if they can replicate that intensity on Saturday, they have every chance of pushing the All Blacks close once again.
Note: Prices correct at the time of posting but are subject to change