It’s the penultimate round of the 2021 Rugby Championship on Saturday, as the Southern Hemisphere’s leading rugby nations jostle for position in the final table.
South Africa’s Springboks face the ultimate task as they attempt to break their losing streak against the All Blacks.
Argentina, meanwhile, are on the hunt for their first points of the competition as they face hosts Australia.
Rugby Championship: New Zealand vs South Africa
South Africa are under the cosh as they head into the home straight of the Rugby Championship, with New Zealand lying in wait on Saturday in Townsville.
The Springboks produced a pair of error-strewn performances to lose twice against Australia, putting them firmly on the back foot despite their back-to-back wins over Argentina on home soil.
It took a penalty after the final hooter first time around, but last weekend brought even more disappointment thanks to a 30-17 defeat at the hands of the Wallabies.
No such problems for the All Blacks, who have muscled their way to four wins from four and a maximum points haul.
Australia were the first to be dispensed with as they claimed the Bledisloe Cup honours, before Los Pumas proved no match as the Kiwis tuned up for their date with the reigning World Cup champions.
Bok coach Jacques Nienaber is boosted by the return of Lood de Jager following his concussion, with the lock reuniting with Eben Etzebeth as Marvin Orie makes way.
Kwagga Smith earns a start in the back row in place of Franco Mostert, in the only other starting change.
A bundle of star names were rested by New Zealand coach Ian Foster last weekend, leaving them fresh for their Springbok challenge.
Beauden Barrett and Brodie Retallick are among the fresh bodies to return for what will be the 100th Test match between the countries.
New Zealand Starting XV: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Ardie Savea (captain), 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Ofa Tuungafasi, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Ethan Blackadder, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Quinn Tupaea.
South Africa Starting XV: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Albertus Smith, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Francois Mostert, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Frans Steyn.
Rugby Championship: Australia vs Argentina
Australia have Argentina in their sights as they try to keep the squeeze on Antipodean rivals New Zealand at the top of the Rugby Championship standings.
The pair meet in Queensland on Saturday with the Wallabies fresh from a double whammy over world champions South Africa.
It’s a different story for Los Pumas, however, with the South Americans yet to muster a point after four matches against the Springboks and the All Blacks.
Coach Dave Rennie makes two Aussie changes, as Rob Leota makes his debut at flank while Reece Hodge returns at full-back.
Argentina are unchanged despite their losing streak, with veteran fly-half Nicolas Sanchez still missing through injury.
Australia Starting XV: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Rob Leota, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Feleti Kaitu’u, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 James O’Connor, 23 Jordan Petaia.
Argentina Starting XV: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Lucio Cinti, 12 Santiago Chocobares, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Pablo Matera, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Facundo Gigena.
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Rodrigo Martinez, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Joaquin Oviedo, 21 Gonzalo Garcia, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Mateo Carreras.
Rugby Championship: Predictions
Prediction methodology explained: The expected win percentage is based off publicly available odds. For example, if a team’s odds are 2.30, the expected chance of winning is 43%. If the odds are 1.62 the expected chance of winning is 62% and so on. These are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change. Where there is no value listed, the odds were not available at the time of writing. Score margins use the methodology developed by Rugby Vision.