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Sports

Springboks seek redemption against New Zealand

media New Zealand skipper Kieran Read (left) with head coach Steve Hansen, who led the team to the 2017 Rugby Championship; Reuters/Marcos Brindicci

South Africa take on New Zealand on Saturday in Cape Town for the final game of the Rugby championship with revenge and redemption in mind. The Springboks suffered their worst defeat against New Zealand on 16 September in Auckland losing 57-0.

The Auckland annihilation was particularly disappointing as South Africa had been showing signs of recovery after a eight defeats during the 2016 Test season. They beat France three times and Argentina twice and drew in Australia before being savaged by the All Blacks.

It was another disastrous outing against New Zealand for the South Africa coach Allister Coetzee. Since suceeding Heyneke Meyer as coach last year, Coetzee has lost all three encounters.

The first in September 2016 ended 41-13 in favour of New Zealand in Christchurch followed a month later by a 57-15 thrashing in Durban. September 2017 was a case of deja vu.

"They do not seem to have any weak areas," conceded Coetzee. "But we must show that we have learnt from our experience in Auckland.";

More than 50,000 fans are expected for the match at Newlands stadium and Coetzee made three changes to the team that started a 27-27 draw with Australia last Saturday in Bloemfontein, all of them in the pack.

Prop Tendai Mtawarira misses out for personal reasons. Steven Kitshoff will start a Test for the first time after coming on as a replacement 18 times.

Lock Lood de Jager is recalled with Franco Mostert dropping to the bench. An injury to number eight Uzair Cassiem last weekend triggered a back-row shuffle with flanker Francois Louw taking his place and Pieter-Steph du Toit coming in.

New Zealand's coaches have also opted to freshen up their team. Winger Nene Milner-Skudder, centre Ryan Crotty, lock Sam Whitelock and flankers Sam Cane and Liam Squire return after being rested for the 36-10 triumph in Argentina last weekend.

"We want to give an 80 minute performance on the park," said assistant coach Ian Foster. "We feel we have not done that yet."

 

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