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Tuesday, 15 January, 2019

All Blacks are fancied to power clear by end

Home flanker Cane can cross South Africa tryline

Sam Cane goes on the charge for the Al Blacks against the Biritsh & Irish Lions
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New Zealand v South Africa
Sky Sports Action, 8.35am Saturday

Before the British & Irish Lions in July, South Africa were the last side to beat the All Blacks in New Zealand seven years ago.

The 15-2 Springboks will run out in Albany on Auckland’s North Shore, where they beat Samoa 13-5 in a feisty 2011 World Cup pool-stage battle, in fine heart.

They won all three June Tests at home to France before begin­ning the Rugby Championship with cosy back-to-back wins over Argentina and drawing last Saturday’s scrap with Australia 23-23 in Perth.

Away coach Allister Coetzee names seven players who have been at the forefront of the Johannesburg-based Lions' surge to back-to-back Super Rugby finals.

The Boks pushed the world champions hard in their 2015 Twickenham semi-final and on their penultimate visit in 2014. On both occasions, conditions were not conducive to expansive passing or attacking tactics.

Showers should clear before kick-off at the QBE Stadium but the ground may still be tacky and strong, swirling gusts of wind are forecast.

However, South Africa side are still evolving after the retire­ment of several legends two years ago and it is hard to forget how bad they were defensively through­out last year – not just in their clashes with the All Blacks, which they lost 41-13 and 57-15.

Take New Zealand to give up a start of nine-and-a-half points on the second-half handicap and their openside flanker Sam Cane to score a try.

The All Blacks powered away from the Pumas after the break in last Saturday's 39-22 success in New Plymouth and three weeks ago won the second half of their 35-29 Dunedin classic with the Wallabies by nine points. Cane's strength and astute support lines have been running under the radar this international season.

Championship standings (pld/pts): New Zealand 3/14, South Africa 3/11, Australia 3/3, Argentina 3/0.

New Zealand -9.5 on second-half handicap
2pts 10-11 Paddy Power
S Cane to score a try
1pt 11-4 general

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It is hard to forget how bad South Africa were defensively through­out last year
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