It always matters when South Africa meet New Zealand but this Saturday the two face each other in a clash which could have massive ramifications. The noise around Ian Foster and the All Blacks is deafening and there are doubts over the 57-year old’s ability to take New Zealand into next year’s World Cup.
It’s been a poor run of form for the All Blacks who have lost four of their past five Test matches. Just last month they crumbled to a home series loss to Ireland. It was their first since 1994 but it was the manner of the defeat, with two humiliating losses following a win in the opening Test. In both losses they played second fiddle to Ireland who outperformed them in nearly every area of the field. Even more worrying than the poor performances there will be real concern that the past 12 months has seen the All Blacks air of invincibility begin to dissipate. For years it felt like teams were already beaten before the first whistle but now there is less fear around facing New Zealand, even on their home turf.
Now they face a tough test at the Mbombela Stadium where they face old foes South Africa in the first of a two-game series to open the Rugby Championship. South Africa are still reigning World Champions and come into this after beating Wales in a three-Test series. Against Wales they struggled at times, particularly in the second Test, which they lost by a single point.
The recent performances of the All Blacks are front-page news in a country which prides itself by it’s rugby. If Foster’s team struggle and get blown out by South Africa then it will raise further questions about his suitability for the role. However, if they can get a win on the road in South Africa then that pressure will ease and it could reinvigorate the team as they compete in the Rugby Championship and look forward into next year.
Source link : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2022/08/06/south-africa-v-new-zealand-live-score-rugby-championship-latest/
Publish date : 2022-08-06 14:43:57