Rugby Championship: New Zealand and South Africa set to collide

Last Updated: 14/09/13 8:23am

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New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has backed Sam Cane to rise to the challenge of tackling South Africa in Saturday's top-of-table Rugby Championship clash.

The top two sides in world rugby will collide in a mouth-watering encounter at Eden Park, which will be shown live on Sky Sports 3 HD.

However the All Blacks will be without their talisman Richie McCaw after the captain was injured in the victory over Argentina last time out.

That means athletic Chiefs back-row will get his chance on the openside - and Hansen believes the 21-year-old can shine.

"He's ready. He's a good athlete and mentally he's able to put things in perspective," said Hansen.

The inclusion on Cane is one of five changes made for the clash - with Dane Coles, Liam Messam, Owen Franks and Ma'a Nonu also handed starts.


The job of stopping the powerhouse breaks of Nonu in the centres will fall to South Africa captain Jean de Villiers.

And although the Springboks have not won at Eden Park in 76 years, the visitors are the last team to beat the All Blacks in New Zealand.

De Villiers scored a try in that 32-29 victory in Hamilton in 2009 and he believes there is no reason why the Boks can't emulate the feat on Saturday.

"It just shows nothing is impossible," he said.

"It's first of all a massive challenge but secondly one that we can really look forward to."

The Boks will go into the game with an unchanged line-up, having beaten Australia 38-12 last time out.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements:16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Tawera Kerr Barlow, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Charles Piutau

South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Juandré Kruger, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.

You can watch Alex Payne, Sean Fitzpatrick, Dewi Morris and Michael Lynagh discuss this weekend's Rugby Championship fixtures by clicking here

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