It has been a while since the All Blacks faced the Springboks in Durban‚ but few can forget the dominance the Boks showed back then.
Fast-forward seven years since that 2009 meeting where Morne Steyn put in a lone-ranger stellar performance‚ collecting all of the Boks’ points for their 31-19 win.
The All Blacks may look an invincible side at the moment as they aim to chase a Bok and two other New Zealand teams’ record of 17 wins on the trot‚ but there is a less-spoken belief the Boks may hold an ever-soslight psychological advantage because of the Kiwis’ last visit to KwaZulu-Natal.
The Boks, though, will not let that piece of history get their hopes up before the first whistle at King’s Park today.
“We can’t rely on what happened in the past‚” Bok prop Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira‚ who played in that game‚ pointed out.
“It’s a new challenge now‚ a new All Blacks side. I think Jerome Kaino is the only guy surviving from that team.
“This is a new era now . . . [Today] is a totally different contest compared with that time .”
Another man who would rather put the past behind him is Mtawarira’s prop partner, Vincent Koch.
The tighthead made his test debut against the Kiwis last year at Ellis Park‚ but his first outing in the green and gold was made milder by a rib injury he sustained in that game.
Today the burly No 3 will be playing in his seventh international and he will be hoping to make more of an impact on the field in a game that could be swayed by how the two packs fare in the set pieces.
“That game was my debut‚” Koch said as he recollected his first encounter against the New Zealanders. “The Springboks played well. Unfortunately‚ I got a rib injury in that game.
“As a player‚ I have grown a lot since then . . . I’m a whole lot more experienced.
“Going into this game‚ I’m looking forward to it.”
Teams (15-1) South Africa: Patrick Lambie; Francois Hougaard, Juan de Jongh, Damian de Allende, Bryan Habana; Morne Steyn, Faf de Klerk; Warren Whiteley, Oupa Mohoje, Francois Louw; Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth; Vincent Koch, Adriaan Strauss (capt), Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Julian Redelinghuys, Lood de Jager, Willem Alberts, Jaco Kriel, Lionel Mapoe, Willie le Roux
New Zealand: Ben Smith; Israel Dagg, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, Waisake Naholo; Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara; Kieran Read (capt), Matt Todd, Jerome Kaino; Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick; Owen Franks, Dane Coles, Joe Moody. Replacements: Codie Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Liam Squire, Ardie Savea, Tawera Kerr-barlow, Lima Sopoaga, George Moala Referee: Jerome Garces
– TMG Digital.