Alun Wyn Jones will surpass Richie McCaw's record tally of 148 caps for his country when Wales face New Zealand in a mouthwatering Autumn Nations Series clash on Saturday.

Wales captain Jones matched legendary former All Blacks captain McCaw's astonishing number of Test appearances when he faced Scotland last year.

The British and Irish Lions skipper will set a new record for games played for a country at Principality Stadium this weekend.

Jones, who has played in 12 Lions Tests, will lead out a Wales side that has a blend of experience and youth.

 

Taine Basham made his first start at international level in the back row and Gareth Anscombe makes his return at fly-half against his country of birth over two years after his last Test appearance.

Anscombe has impressed after spending such a long spell on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Ken Owens was initially selected at hooker, but has since been replaced by Ryan Elias due to a back injury, with Kirby Myhill named on the bench.

Hooker Elliot Dee has been released from the Six Nations champions' squad due to a neck injury.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac said: "To win a World Cup you have to play against teams like New Zealand at some stage in the tournament and you have to win those games.

"It’s going to be a great experience for those guys who haven't played a lot of test rugby and they'll certainly know they’ve been in a match afterwards."

Wales have won only three of 35 Tests against the All Blacks ahead of the showdown in Cardiff.

 

Wales: Johnny McNicholl, Owen Lane, Jonathan Davies, Johnny Williams, Josh Adams, Gareth Anscombe, Tomos Williams; Wyn Jones, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Ross Moriarty, Taine Basham, Aaron Wainwright.

Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Rhys Carre, Dillon Lewis, Will Rowlands, Seb Davies, Gareth Davies, Rhys Priestland, Ben Thomas.

Will Jordan scored a hat-trick as rampant New Zealand tore the United States apart to win the inaugural 1874 Cup Test 104-14 in Washington DC on Saturday.

The All Blacks scored their crushing win at FedExField following a spine-tingling haka that was dedicated to Maori All Blacks star Sean Wainui, who died in a car accident at the age of 25 on Monday.

Ian Foster's side put on a scintillating display and racked up 16 tries in achieving New Zealand's biggest win in four matches against the Eagles, who were at least able to score their first two tries against the three-time world champions.

Luke Jacobson scored the opener after a brilliant burst from livewire full-back Damian McKenzie and went on to claim a first-half double along with wing Jordan.

Ethan de Groot marked his first Test start with a try, while McKenzie, the brilliant Richie Mo'unga, Angus Ta'avao-Matau and Quinn Tupaea also crossed in a first half that ended with the ruthless All Blacks 59-7 up.

The Eagles were unable to contain relentless New Zealand, with Ta'avao-Matau claiming his second try before Dalton Papali'i and Anton Lienert-Brown went over the whitewash.

Foster showed no mercy as he sent on Beauden Barrett, who duly got in on the act with a try prior to Jordan completing his treble. Dane Coles helped himself to try number 15 before TJ Perenara went in under the posts to take New Zealand to three figures right at the end.

Mo'unga scored 18 points with the boot as the USA were blown away, but Nate Augspurger scored a historic solo try for the Eagles at the end of the first half and Ryan Matyas finished after the break.

Australia won their fifth consecutive game after opening their end-of-year tour with a 32-23 win over Japan on Saturday.

Not since October 2015 had the Wallabies enjoyed a five-game winning streak but they ended that drought by holding off Japan in Oita.

Despite a disappointing second half, Australia snapped their run of five straight Tests without a win away from home, having outscored Japan five tries to two.

The Wallabies – winners of all five previous encounters against Japan by an average of 39 points per game – raced out to a 14-3 lead on the back of tries from Tom Wright and Jordan Petaia before Lomano Lemeki hit back for the hosts.

Taniela Tupou added to Australia's lead early in the second half and after Lemeki landed himself in the sin bin for a shoulder charger, Robert Leota also crossed over to make it 27-13 with 28 minutes remaining.

Just as Dave Rennie's men looked as if they would run away with victory, Japan closed within a converted try in pursuit of their first win over the Wallabies.

But Australia – who benefited from two conversions and a penalty from Quade Cooper – withstood some immense pressure on the road to stretch their unbeaten streak.

Will Skelton, Rory Arnold and Tolu Latu have been recalled to the Australia squad for their upcoming tour of the northern hemisphere.

The France-based trio were on Friday named in a 37-man party to face Japan at Oita Stadium on October 23 before travelling to Europe to take on Scotland, England and Wales next month.

Skelton has not played for the Wallabies since 2016, but the towering La Rochelle lock is set to add to his 18 caps.

Fellow second-rower Arnold, who plies his trade with Toulouse in the Top 14, and Stade Francais hooker Latu have not played for their country since the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Lalakai Foketi, Izaia Perese, Pone Fa'amausili and Connal McInerney are the uncapped quartet in the squad.

Japan-based trio Quade Cooper, Sean McMahon and Samu Kerevi – who has recovered from an ankle injury – were included on the back of Australia's second-placed finish behind New Zealand in the Rugby Championship.

Dave Rennie's side have won four consecutive games, seeing off world champions South Africa and Argentina twice.

Head coach Rennie said: "Firstly we're extremely grateful to be able to represent Australia on the world stage in the current environment and that's something that's not lost on this group.

"We've been building as a squad over the past 18 months or so and to get a chance to head to the northern hemisphere and test ourselves against four really strong International sides is a great opportunity to learn more about ourselves."

 

Australia squad: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Angus Bell, Quade Cooper, Filipo Daugunu, Pone Fa'amausili, Folau Fainga'a, Lalakai Foketi, Jake Gordon, Reece Hodge, Michael Hooper (captain), Len Ikitau, Feleti Kaitu'u, Andrew Kellaway, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tolu Latu, Rob Leota, Tate McDermott, Connal McInerney, Sean McMahon, James O’Connor, Hunter Paisami, Izaia Perese, Jordan Petaia, Matt Philip, Tom Robertson, Izack Rodda, Pete Samu, Will Skelton, James Slipper, Darcy Swain, Lachlan Swinton, Taniela Tupou, Rob Valetini, Nic White, Tom Wright.

South Africa's Elton Jantjies nailed a last-gasp penalty in a thrilling 31-29 win over New Zealand to deny the All Blacks a Grand Slam at the Rugby Championship.

Jordie Barrett, whose late kick secured the title in a 19-17 victory over the Springboks last week, looked to have sealed a sixth win from six for New Zealand in similar fashion on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

That was until Jantjies struck with the final action of an enthralling contest to end a 10-match winning streak for Ian Foster's men.

Lukhanyo Am's terrific behind-the-back pass led to Damian de Allende's opening try before an exchange of penalties kept South Africa five points ahead.

New Zealand levelled when Sevu Reece just made the corner after a fine Beauden Barrett kick, and despite another Handre Pollard penalty, the All Blacks were soon in command.

A fast, flowing move ended with Ardie Savea going over under the posts and Brad Weber added another try two minutes later following a lineout steal.

Then, momentum shifted. Pollard made no mistake with two more penalties to close the gap to three points, and the Boks were ahead 53 minutes in when Makazole Mapimpi crossed in the corner after the ball was worked from the opposite flank.

Replacement Jantjies stretched the lead further with another penalty, only after play was brought back following an advantage when Faf de Klerk fumbled at the breakdown barely a metre from the try line.

Jordie Barrett reduced the arrears as tensions began to build, although the Hurricanes back kept his cool to kick his side into the lead with five minutes left after South Africa were penalised for holding on.

A gripping finale saw Jantjies sink a brilliant drop goal a minute later only for Jordie Barrett to send another late kick sailing through the posts in what looked like a repeat from a week ago.

But South Africa came again, a lineout inside the New Zealand 22 leading to a penalty right in front of the posts, from which Jantjies made no mistake.

Boks rewarded for perseverance

At risk of a fourth consecutive Test defeat for the first time since 2016, the world champions were rewarded for a bold but clean display in which they refused to allow New Zealand to sustain first-half momentum.

This was only the second time the All Blacks have lost a Test match in Australia against anyone other than the Wallabies and showed the Springboks' performance in that narrow previous defeat was no flash in the pan.

All Blacks off the boil

This was something of an off-day for New Zealand after an exemplary championship, as they yielded both possession and territory surprisingly easily.

Giving up eight turnovers and losing six rucks overall did not help their cause in a game of fine margins.

A hat-trick from in-form Andrew Kellaway saw Australia close out their Rugby Championship campaign with a 32-17 victory over Argentina on Saturday.

Kellaway moved onto seven tries for the 2021 tournament in a one-sided contest on the Gold Coast as the Wallabies followed up last week's 27-8 win in style.

Dave Rennie's men have now won four Tests in a row for the first time since November 2017, while Argentina are on a six-match losing run, their worst such streak in two years.

Quade Cooper's 10th-minute penalty set Australia on their way against an Argentina side missing six players due to an unauthorised trip to Byron Bay.

Tomas Lavanini's repeated infringements in the lineout earned him a yellow card and Folau Fainga'a darted over for the first try from the resulting play.

Fainga'a and Rob Valetini combined to free Kellaway for his first try of the contest, with Samu Kerevi bursting through after patient build-up to make it 20-3 after the break, Emiliano Boffelli having kicked a penalty.

The Wallabies by now were in cruise control, Kellaway finishing with aplomb after more good build-up, and his hat-trick try in the same corner was served on a plate by Len Ikitau's clever lay-off.

A weary Pumas side had something to celebrate when debutant Thomas Gallo powered through near the posts, as Australia brought on 38-year-old Greg Holmes – now the oldest player to feature for the Wallabies since World War II – for his first cap since 2016.

Gallo got a late second after a pile-on at the try line to make the scores a little more respectable.

Rennie's men showing great promise

Kellaway, who now has more than twice the number of tries of anyone else at these championships, was a good advert for Australia's renewed vibrancy under Rennie.

This is the first time they have won four Rugby Championship matches in a row and the third Test in 2021 in which they have scored at least 30 points.

Little pride for Pumas

Argentina, meanwhile, are on their worst losing run since a 10-game span from September 2018 to September 2019 and sit bottom of the standings on zero and with a points difference of minus 135 from their six matches.

They have also taken just one win from their past 13 Tests against Australia.

Ian Foster says New Zealand must raise their game when they attempt to complete a Rugby Championship clean sweep by beating South Africa on Saturday.

The All Blacks defeated the Springboks 19-17 last weekend to maintain their 100 per cent record and seal the title.

New Zealand can complete a first Southern Hemisphere 'Grand Slam' since 2017 if they make it six wins out of six in their last game of the tournament against the world champions at Cbus Stadium.

Anton Lienert-Brown returns from injury at centre, with Rieko Ioane switching to the left wing and Sevu Reece starting on the right.

Luke Jacobson comes in at number eight, while Brad Weber gets the nod at scrum-half as Richie Mo'unga has to settle for a place on the bench along with TJ Perenara and Damian McKenzie.

Head coach Foster is demanding improvement from the newly-crowned champions on the Gold Coast.

He said: "We've achieved the Championship title, which we're really proud to have achieved.

"The fact that we now have the chance to achieve a potential Grand Slam against our Southern Hemisphere opponents is pretty special. I'm excited by that, and it has already given this weekend's Test an edge."

He added: "We learnt some lessons last week.  We didn't look after the ball as well as we could have and some of our work at the ruck wasn’t as good as we wanted. We have to lift our performance in that area and the team is keen to get that right this weekend."

Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber made two injury-enforced changes, with Ox Nche starting at loosehead prop and Trevor Nyakane switching to tighthead after Frans Malherbe was ruled out due to a neck injury.

Jasper Wiese comes into the matchday squad as a replacement as third-placed South Africa attempt to end the tournament on a high note.

 

New Zealand: Jordie Barrett, Sevu Reece, Anton Lienert-Brown, David Havili, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett, Brad Weber; Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Nepo Laulala, Brodie Retallick, Scott Barrett, Akira Ioane, Ardie Savea (captain), Luke Jacobson.

Replacements: Asafo Aumua, George Bower, Ofa Tuungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ethan Blackadder, TJ Perenara, Richie Mo'unga, Damian McKenzie.

South Africa: Willie le Roux, Sbu Nkosi, Lukhanyo Am, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Faf de Klerk; Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, Trevor Nyakane, Eben Etzebeth, Lood de Jager, Siya Kolisi (captain), Kwagga Smith, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Jasper Wiese, Herschel Jantjies, Elton Jantjies, Frans Steyn.

Six Argentina players have been ruled out of facing Australia in the Rugby Championship on Saturday after making an unauthorised trip to Byron Bay.

Pablo Matera, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, Felipe Ezcurra, Santiago Medrano, Santiago Socino and Sebastian Cancelliere were stopped at the state border when they attempted to return to their Gold Coast base from New South Wales on Wednesday.

Manager Lucas Chioccarelli and video analyst Rodrigo Martinez were also prevented from entering Queensland due to coronavirus rules.

The Argentine Rugby Union stated that the players will not be available to face the Wallabies in their final match of the tournament at Cbus Stadium this weekend.

Rugby Championship organiser SANZAAR said in a statement: "SANZAAR has informed Argentina Rugby that all members of this group are now ineligible to participate further in The Rugby Championship as they have breached tournament rules.

"SANZAAR is very disappointed that such a breach has occurred given the clear rules that are in place to ensure the health and safety of all players and staff, and compliance with all relevant health orders."

The Pumas are bottom of the table, having failed to pick up a point from five matches.

Meanwhile, Greg Holmes will become the oldest player to feature for opponents Australia since World War II at the age of 38 after the prop was named among the replacements by Dave Rennie.

Darcy Swain and Pete Samu come into the side, while back-rower Sean McMahon will also start on the bench as the Wallabies eye a fourth successive win to secure second place behind champions New Zealand.

 

Australia: Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia, Len Ikitau, Samu Kerevi, Andrew Kellaway, Quade Cooper, Nic White; James Slipper, Folau Fainga'a, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Darcy Swain, Pete Samu, Michael Hooper (captain) Rob Valetini.

Replacements: Lachlan Lonergan, Angus Bell, Greg Holmes, Matt Philip, Sean McMahon, Jake Gordon, James O'Connor, Tom Wright.

Argentina: Juan Cruz Mallia, Matias Moroni, Lucio Cinti, Santiago Chocobares, Emiliano Boffelli, Santiago Carreras, Gonzalo Bertranou; Rodrigo Martinez, Julian Montoya (captain), Enrique Pieretto, Guido Petti, Tomas Lavanini, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Marcos Kremer, Rodrigo Bruni.

Replacements: Facundo Bosch, Thomas Gallo, Eduardo Bello, Matias Alemanno, Francisco Gorrissen, Gonzalo Garcia, Domingo Miotti, Mateo Carreras.

New Zealand are on the brink of landing the Rugby Championship title ahead of their 100th Test against holders South Africa in Townsville on Saturday.

The All Blacks have been in a class of their own, taking maximum points from four matches to put one hand on the trophy and replace the world champions at the top of the rankings.

South Africa are smarting from back-to-back defeats to Australia, leaving them 10 points adrift of the leaders with two games against Ian Foster's side to play.

Australia are just a point behind the Springboks ahead of their clash with Argentina this weekend.

Here, we use Opta data to preview the double-header at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.

 

NEW ZEALAND V SOUTH AFRICA

Form

There appears to be no stopping New Zealand at the moment, with their winning run standing at nine matches following back-to-back defeats of Argentina.

The last time the All Blacks enjoyed a longer winning streak was in October 2016, when they completed a run of 18 on the spin.

South Africa, on the other hand, are two without a win and have not had a worse run since losing four in a row from October to November five years ago.

 

 


Ones to watch

Akira Ioane is one of eight New Zealand players to be facing South Africa for the first time. Starting at blindside flanker on Saturday, his potency in the Springbok half could be key – only Jordie Barrett (nine) has beaten more defenders in opposition territory than Ioane (eight) in the 2021 competition.

Lood de Jager is back following concussion to reunite with Eben Etzebeth in the Springbok second row. They, along with Argentina's Guido Petti, are the only players to have stolen multiple lineouts at this year's tournament.

AUSTRALIA V ARGENTINA

Form

Australia are on a high after two impressive wins over South Africa, playing some entertaining rugby in a 30-17 bonus-point win in Brisbane last weekend.

Argentina are rooted to the foot of the table without a point from four matches, with a points difference of minus 101.

Each of the last two Tests between these nations ended in a draw. Only once in Test history have any tier one nations drawn three in a row (England vs France from February 1959 to February 1961).

Ones to watch

Australia captain Michael Hooper tends to enjoy facing Argentina: his most recent five home Tests against the Pumas have yielded a personal haul of four tries and one assist.

Argentina's best hope of springing a surprise could rest on the shoulders of Marcos Kremer, who is the only player in this championship to have registered more than 30 in both carries (31) and tackles (48). Another big showing from flanker Kremer might give the South American side a sniff.

Eddie Jones has left experienced quartet Billy and Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and George Ford out of England's 45-man squad for this month's training camp.

Eight uncapped players – Mark Atkinson, Jack Kenningham, Louis Lynagh, Gabriel Oghre, Raffi Quirke, Sam Riley, Bevan Rodd and Ollie Sleightholme – have been selected.

The large group also contains nine players who made their debuts for England in their last batch of fixtures, including Jamie Blamire, Trevor Davison and Alex Dombrandt.

There are also recalls for Ben Youngs, Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marler, as well as England's 10-strong British and Irish Lions contingent.

Despite overlooking the Vunipola brothers, George and Ford, Jones insists the door will remain open for all four players.

"This is an exciting squad made up of experienced players and young guys who did well in the summer and have earned their place again," Jones said on Tuesday.

"We have left out some experienced players but we're really clear the door isn't closed to them, and we're looking forward to seeing them work hard to get back into contention."

England's training camp will run from Sunday 26 until Tuesday 28 and forms part of their preparations for the internationals against Tonga, Australia and South Africa in November.

 

England's 45-man training squad

Forwards: Jamie Blamire (Newcastle), Callum Chick (Newcastle), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter), Tom Curry (Sale), Trevor Davison (Newcastle), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Charlie Ewels (Bath), Ellis Genge (Leicester), Joe Heyes (Leicester), Jonny Hill (Exeter), Ted Hill (Worcester), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Jack Kenningham (Harlequins), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton), Lewis Ludlow (Gloucester), Joe Marler (Harlequins), George Martin (Leicester), Beno Obano (Bath), Gabriel Oghre (Wasps), Sam Riley (Harlequins), Bevan Rodd (Sale), Sam Simmonds (Exeter), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol), Will Stuart (Bath), Sam Underhill (Bath).

Backs: Mark Atkinson (Gloucester), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Furbank (Northampton), Ollie Lawrence (Worcester), Louis Lynagh (Harlequins), Max Malins (Saracens), Joe Marchant (Harlequins), Jonny May (Gloucester), Raffi Quirke (Sale), Adam Radwan (Newcastle), Harry Randall (Bristol), Dan Robson (Wasps), Henry Slade (Exeter), Ollie Sleightholme (Northampton), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Freddie Steward (Leicester), Manu Tuilagi (Sale), Anthony Watson (Bath), Ben Youngs (Leicester).

New Zealand returned to the top of the world rankings with their win over Argentina on Saturday, but coach Ian Foster is more concerned by the upcoming double-header against South Africa.

With a 36-13 defeat of the Pumas in Brisbane – their ninth consecutive Test win – New Zealand leapfrogged South Africa at the summit.

Foster's side also moved 10 points clear at the top of the Rugby Championship table and could wrap up the title even with a defeat against the Springboks next time out – if the All Blacks secure a losing bonus or prevent their opponents earning a try bonus.

But the opportunity to test themselves against the world champions is of greater interest in what will be the 100th Test meeting between the teams.

Asked about New Zealand's number one ranking, Foster said: "My mindset is you've got to beat number one to be number one.

"It's not on our mind at all. I'm not saying that to downplay it. We're about to play South Africa next week, we'll get excited about that.

"We're more interested in winning a Test match than where we sit [in the rankings].

"If we focus too much on the other thing, we'll get tripped up and won't be there for very long, and that doesn't interest us either."

Of the South Africa matches, he added: "We love playing Test matches, but we really love playing South Africa, probably because of the amount of respect we've got for them.

"Over history, it's been an outstanding rivalry.

"We're not so much talking about number ones and number twos, we've got a chance to go to Townsville to play a foe we've got a lot of respect for and put ourselves in a pretty nice position in this championship."

New Zealand pulled further clear at the top of the Rugby Championship standings and closed on the title with a 36-13 victory over Argentina in Brisbane.

The All Blacks were as dominant in this nominal away Test as they had been in the previous clash last week, even if the scoreline was this time a little closer.

Patrick Tuipulotu, TJ Perenara, Tupou Vaa'i (twice) and Samisoni Taukei'aho each contributed tries for a fourth bonus-point win from four to move Ian Foster's men 10 points clear of South Africa ahead of a double-header against the world champions.

New Zealand had to wait only until the sixth minute for their opening try, as Will Jordan carried to the line after a break from Hoskins Sotutu, before Tuipulotu's power got the ball over.

After Emiliano Boffelli's penalty ensured Argentina would not go scoreless for a third straight Test against the All Blacks, the Pumas were soon on the back foot again.

New Zealand had a further three tries – for Jordan and Rieko Ioane twice – ruled out before half-time, but they were still able to successfully cross twice more, with Perenara stooping through following a scrum and pressure on the stroke of the interval producing a simple score for Vaa'i in the corner.

A flowing move from left to right created space for Taukei'aho after the restart, although Boffelli's excellent stretching catch on the left then allowed him to get the ball grounded before he was taken into touch by a combination of Jordie Barrett and Jordan.

That prompted an improved Argentina spell, yet the All Blacks countered effectively and Vaa'i was unmarked to complete the scoring.

Will makes it work... eventually

Jordan was influential in much of the All Blacks' best work, but he was also involved in two of their disallowed tries. The wing was just ahead of Taukei'aho before racing through to score and then played a forward pass of his own to Ioane following a superb take from Damian McKenzie's kick.

Jordan got it right for the first try of the second half, however, unloading a superb ball to Taukei'aho.

Celebration against the Springboks?

The All Blacks have now won nine Tests on the bounce, last enjoying a longer run between August 2015 and October 2016 (18 wins), and the next one should be special – their 100th meeting with the Springboks.

Anything less than a bonus-point South Africa win, with New Zealand failing to earn a losing bonus, would see last year's Tri-Nations champions crowned again.

Australia got the better of South Africa for the second week running as Len Ikitau and Marika Koroibete led the Wallabies to a 30-17 victory in the Rugby Championship.

Having triumphed 28-26 over the Springboks on the Gold Coast last week, Australia came out on top again in Saturday's tussle in Brisbane.

The victory takes Australia to within one point of the second-place Springboks on 10 points, who are five behind leaders and reigning champions New Zealand, who face Argentina in the later game.

Quade Cooper was the star for Australia last time out, converting eight kicks, though he missed his first two-pointer here after Ikitau had crossed following Faf de Klerk's early booking for knocking the ball from Nic White's hands.

Handre Pollard pulled the 'Boks to within two points with a long-range penalty, though Australia swiftly struck again, Ikitau once more finding the gap and this time Cooper hit his mark from the conversion.

Pollard hit another two penalties either side of a Cooper three-pointer as, back to their full count, South Africa attempted to turn the screw, yet even with Lachlan Swinton seeing yellow (after initially being given a red card for a high tackle) the visitors could not prise Australia's defence open before the break.

Lukhanyo Am finally managed to do so just after the break to nose South Africa ahead for the first time, but it was a short-lived lead, Cooper winning a penalty and converting it before Koroibete steamed in for his first.

Cooper made no mistake and, five minutes later, Koroibete helped himself to his second to wrap up the result – Jasper Wiese's late yellow adding more frustration for the Springboks.

No place like home

Australia are now undefeated in their past seven men's Tests against South Africa on home soil (W6, D1), although Saturday is the first time they have won by a margin of seven points or more in that span. It is also the first time the Wallabies have earned back-to-back wins in men's international rugby since October 2019.

South Africa's resistance stutters

Heading into the match, South Africa had conceded just 13 points in the final quarters of games in the tournament, fewer than any other team. However, Australia had scored the most points (27) in the last 20 minutes, and they took that tally to 39 with their 12 points scored between the 62nd and 68th minutes, breaking the Springboks' resolve in the process.

The All Blacks have made 11 changes to their starting line-up for Saturday's Rugby Championship match against Argentina in Brisbane.

New Zealand have started the Rugby Championship with three wins from three games, brushing aside Argentina 39-0 on the Gold Coast last Sunday.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster has opted to make sweeping changes for the secondary fixture against the Pumas as he looks to keep vitality within his squad with a six-day turnaround.

"Some of these changes are people who played significant minutes last weekend anyway against Argentina," Foster said.

"We know we had a good win last week and we know expectations are high on us, and the danger is if we think it is all just going to all happen, then we are going to get smacked so there's a lot of pressure on this group.

"We've got to make sure we have a really good performance this weekend and, from a Championship perspective, this win is vital for us."

Beauden Barrett has been managed for the upcoming South African Tests, with Damian McKenzie given a rare chance at five-eighth, with Richie Mo'unga absent on paternity leave.

Ardie Savea returns to skipper the side at openside flanker, accommodating the return of Hoskins Sotutu at number eight.

Front rower Samisoni Taukei'aho earns his first start, alongside Joe Moody and Tyrel Lomax.

Injury-free Patrick Tuipulotu returns with Brodie Retallick rested, while Tupou Vaa'i gets his first start of the calendar year.

New Zealand: Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Quinn Tupaea, George Bridge, Damian McKenzie, TJ Perenara, Hoskins Sotutu, Ardie Savea, Ethan Blackadder, Tupou Vaa'i, Patrick Tuipulotu, Tyrel Lomax, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Joe Moody.
Replacements: Codie Taylor, George Bower, Ofa Tuungafasi, Scott Barrett, Luke Jacobson, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Braydon Ennor.

South Africa will attempt to spoil Michael Hooper's record-breaking Australia appearance when the Springboks go on a Rugby Championship revenge mission on Saturday.

Hooper will captain the Wallabies for a 60th time at Suncorp Stadium, surpassing the number of times George Gregan led Australia out.

A special occasion for the skipper will come six days after Quade Cooper marked his international return by kicking a dramatic winning penalty against the Boks on the Gold Coast.

Holders South Africa were consigned to a stunning 28-26 defeat in Queensland and trail leaders New Zealand by five points.

Australia are unbeaten in six Tests against the Springboks on home soil ahead of the round-four showdown, after achieving their first win of this year's tournament last weekend.

The All Blacks have maximum points from three matches and can take another stride towards regaining the title by beating Argentina.

Here, Stats Perform uses Opta facts to preview the Rugby Championship double-header in Brisbane.

 


AUSTRALIA V SOUTH AFRICA

Form

South Africa will be looking to avoid back-to-back defeats in men's Tests for the first time since November 2018.

Australia have not won back-to-back Tests since October 2019 and may need to show their staying power once again to get their hands on the Nelson Mandela Challenge Plate.

Dave Rennie's side have scored 27 points in the final quarter of games in this tournament, more than any other quarter of a match.

Nic White, James Slipper and Taniela Tupou come into the Australia team. Jacques Nienaber makes three changes to South Africa's matchday squad, with Marvin Orie and Trevor Nyakane starting. Cheslin Kolbe is not ready to return from injury.

 

Ones to watch

Andrew Kellaway scored Australia's only try in last week's win over the world champions.

The wing is the joint-leading try-scorer in the tournament with three, alongside David Havili and Malcolm Marx. 

With Lood de Jager absent due to concussion, Orie takes over at lock for South Africa.

De Jager has won a competition-high 22 lineouts, including three steals, so Orie has big shoes to fill.

 

ARGENTINA V NEW ZEALAND

Form

The All Blacks dished out a 39-0 thrashing to Argentina in round three, Luke Jacobson scoring two of their five tries.

New Zealand have kept the Pumas scoreless in each of their past two meetings and have only failed to beat them in two of 32 previous encounters.

Argentina have lost three consecutive Tests, having lost only twice in their 10 prior to that run.

Joe Moody comes into a much-changed All Blacks side and Ardie Savea returns as captain, while Samisoni Taukei'aho makes his first Test start. Patrick Tuipulotu and Ofa Tuungafasi are also among the starters.

Santiago Carreras starts for Argentina at fly-half, while Pablo Matera takes the number eight shirt as Mario Ledesma makes six changes.

 

Ones to watch

The versatile Damian McKenzie gets the chance to start a second Test at fly-half for the All Blacks.

Playmaker McKenzie can put on a show at number 10 and pull the strings in tandem with scrum-half TJ Perenara.

Pumas captain Julian Montoya won three turnovers in the defeat to the All Blacks last weekend and his tally of four is twice as many as any other player in the tournament.

Montoya has not missed any of his 40 tackles in the competition.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.