South Africa are favorites to inflict a third straight defeat on New Zealand for the first time since 1998, when they will face each other in a big battle for the Rugby Championship on Saturday.
All Blacks manager Ian Foster is under pressure after New Zealand lost a home series to Ireland for the first time last month.
A trip to face the world champions twice at the start of the Rugby Championship seems to be either a hit or miss for Foster, who needs his team to step up the tournament’s first game at Mbombela Stadium.
New Zealand won the title last year but lost the way just 13 months before the Rugby World Cup kicked off in France.
Meanwhile, Argentina struggles with Australia at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas on the opening day, with the Wallabies having so little success away from home as Michael Cheika looks to be plotting a win over his former team.
Statistics Preview the Tests in Nelspruit and Mendoza using Opta facts.
SOUTH AFRICA V NEW ZEALAND
South Africa kicks off the Rugby Championship after a 2-1 win over Wales and was victorious in six of their last seven home testsawarding 20 points or more in just one of those matches.
it’s just a five-test win for the out-of-order All Blacks, who lost three in a row for 24 years. They were defeated in five consecutive games from July to August 1998, with the Springboks winning two of those matches.
New Zealand has a strong track record in South Africa, however, having won the last four out Tests against the Springboks.
THESE TO OBSERVE
Damian Willemse drew attention against Wales, ranked in the top five for both meters won (190m – third) and line breaks (three – fourth set) among players from Tier One nations in the July Tests. The All Blacks will have to prevent the fit fullback from causing more damage.
Number eight Ardie Savea is among the important figures that Foster will count on to have a major influence. Savea was the only player to score three attempts against a Tier One nation last month, striving in vain to stop Ireland from making history.
ARGENTINA V AUSTRALIA
Argentina have a jump in their stage after the 2-1 victory over Scotland and are eyeing back-to-back wins for the first time since November 2020 how Cheika finds herself in the strange position of planning Australia’s downfall.
The Wallabies are suffering from a series defeat to England at home and won only one of the last nine tests outside of Australia – against Japan last October.
Australia have grown accustomed to getting the better of the Pumas, winning four and drawing two of their previous six encounters. Six of the last seven tests between the two nations in Argentina followed the tour’s path..
THESE TO OBSERVE
Argentina’s dramatic victory over Scotland came courtesy of a last-minute attempt to Emiliano Boffelliwho also scored 14 points with the boot and provided an assist.
Quade Cooper returns from injury to start fly-half to Australia. Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie expects number 10 and scrum-half Nic White to set the pace.