2 heavyweights nations in international rugby union to slog it out at Willis Park

October 4, 2013 5:43 pm0 comments by:

Rugby SA vs New ZealandI enjoy watching various sporting events and appreciate the opportunity to write about it for The Continent Observer. The articles written so far, I have concentrated on football, lawn tennis and athletics. There is another sport Rugby Union played in a few countries in Africa. The sport may look like a simple game but there are plenty of laws and rules. Every player has to understand these simple and sometimes complex rules. For me, I understand enough the actions taken on the field to enjoy the sport. I also like to admit that, I prefer watching international matches than individual professional league matches.

This Saturday 5th October 2013 will be watching two heavy weights nations in international rugby union, slog it out in a title decider at Willis Park, South Africa. The official title at stake is the Annual Rugby Championship. The unofficial title at stake is which nation is the number 1 in the world.

You might be indifferent to the sport or new to Rugby Union but would encourage watching this particular international match this weekend.
South African and New Zealand face each other mostly in finals of tournaments. The two countries meet again in a final on Saturday at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
The match will be at the ground which hosted the 1995 World Cup final. In that year, South Africa won the title. However, the domination has been moved from one nation to another. But since the advent of international ranking in 2003, New Zealand can lay claim as one of the greatest sides. The current ranking has them as No 1 for 46 months, the longest period since the rankings were introduced in 2003.
South Africa have been the second best team behind New Zealand and occasionally taken the No 1 spot in 2007 and 2009. They have won the World Cup in 1995 defeating New Zealand and also in 2007 against England. They have been competitive and difficult opposition against the Top 5 Teams. They compete annually against New Zealand in the Annual Rugby Championship along with Southern-hemisphere counter parts Argentina and Australia. They have won the championship three times in 16 years, same as Australia. However, New Zealand has won it 10 times to indicate their dominance.

South Africa and New Zealand always provide enthralling match but New Zealand have the upper hand on current form and previous match ups. I have mentioned that they have been No 1 for almost 46 months. In that period, they have won the World Cup, and one of the three teams to inflict worse margin against South Africa in 1999, 2001 and 2003.This particular return match scheduled for this weekend 5th October 2013, South Africa lost the first match 29-15 last month.

Whilst the record is against South Africa, there are number of factors to indicate the outcome is far from over. There is home advantage, and the talisman for New Zealand Richie McCaw All Black captain was expected to miss these last two legs of the Rugby Championship (New Zealand beat Argentina, 33-15, in La Plata on Saturday night) because of injury.
He has put himself into contention to lead out the All Blacks on Saturday in the most hostile environment in world rugby. It is possible that Richie is not fully fit and will not be influential in the match. South Africa has defeated New Zealand in number of important matches.
The 1995 final was the highest-profile defeat and All Blacks have not won at Ellis Park since 1997, and have lost 10 out of 13 matches there. New Zealand knows what is coming their way, a ferocious test of their resolve.

South Africa Team is aware that they need to be at their best to win against New Zealand. The South Africa Coach Heyneke Meyer insists his side impressive record at Ellis Park will not be sufficient to defeat New Zealand. The Springboks (South Africa Team name) require a four tries and also stop All Blacks (New Zealand) from picking a bonus point to win the title.

South Africa Coach Meyer has made two changes to his team for the decider, with Bismarck du Plessis and Juandre Kruger named in the starting XV.
And skipper Jean de Villiers insists the side is ready, adding: “The All Blacks are the greatest team in the world and we want to test ourselves against the best.”

New Zealand have also made two changes, with captain Richie McCaw and prop Charlie Faumuina getting the nod following the win over Argentina.
And after beating Argentina last time out, the All Blacks now can’t wait to get stuck into the Boks

There is sense of excitement from both sides ahead of the match on Saturday. The preview comments from the analysts suggest a close game, with New Zealand doing enough to win the title. The question as to who actually wins the heavy weight match varies depending on who you talk to about the match.

I have feeling it is going to be a slog match, with a lot at stake.

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