South Africa v New Zealand: Stats, Facts, Line Ups

South Africa v New Zealand: Stats, Facts, Line Ups

South Africa and New Zealand face off for the 103rd time on Saturday as the old foes clash at the iconic Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg.

We take a look at all the team, match, referee, and player stats and facts as well as the line ups.


BRISTOL, ENGLAND - MAY 20: Referee Luke Pearce during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Bristol Bears and Exeter Chiefs at Ashton Gate on May 20, 2022 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Debut as referee: 9 February, 2013 – Romania 29-14 Russia
Test as referee: 38

  • Luke Pearce takes charge of this match for the second time, his last Rugby Championship match having been New Zealand’s 19-17 win over South Africa in September 2021
  • This was the 100th test between the two nations, played in Townsville, Australia
  • This will be the sixth time he referees the Springboks, who have a W2 L3 record with Pearce in the middle
  • It will be the fourth time he referees New Zealand, the All Blacks winning the first two before they lost 29-20 to Ireland last November
  • Pearce refereed three tests in July, the last of them Chile’s 31-29 victory over USA that saw Los Condores qualify for a Rugby World Cup for the first time, booking their place at France 2023 as the Americas 2 qualifier



New Zealand are defending The Rugby Championship title, having finished seven points clear of Australia in 2021. South Africa finished third after three wins and three defeats.


New Zealand have lost the opening match of a Rugby Championship/Tri-Nations for the first time since 2005, when South Africa beat them in Cape Town.


South Africa ran out 26-10 winners last weekend in Mbombela after tries from Kurt-Lee Arendse and Willie le Roux and 16 points from the boot of Handré Pollard. The Springboks’ win ended a run of four victories for New Zealand on South African soil. It was their first win on home soil over the All Blacks since October 2014 in Johannesburg.


The 16-point winning margin was South Africa’s biggest against New Zealand since they won 17-0 in June 1928. 


South Africa have won 37% of their 102 previous men’s Tests against New Zealand, the highest win rate of any team in history against the Al Blacks and 11 percentage points higher than next-best Australia (26%).


South Africa have won six of their last seven games in The Rugby Championship on home soil including their last four on the bounce; it’s the third time they’ve won four on the spin at home in the competition, though they have never managed five straight wins in such fixtures.


New Zealand will be looking to avoid opening a campaign of The Rugby Championship/Tri-Nations with back-to-back losses for just the second time after they lost al four games of the 1998 Tri-Nations.


South Africa have gained 170 metres from mauls in The Rugby Championship since the beginning of the 2020 tournament, more than any other team in the competition and 26 more than New Zealand.


New Zealand have scored 2.6 points per attacking 22m zone entry in The Rugby Championship since the beginning of the 2021 campaign, the most of any team in the tournament and 0.7 point per entry more than South Africa (1.9).



NELSPRUIT, SOUTH AFRICA - AUGUST 06: All Blacks line up before The Rugby Championship match between South Africa and New Zealand at Mbombela Stadium on August 06, 2022 in Nelspruit, South Africa. (Photo by Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

New Zealand have lost their last three matches – they have not lost four tests in a row since August 1998 when they lost five consecutive matches against Australia (3) and South Africa (2)


This is only the fifth time in history that New Zealand have lost three consecutive tests.


The All Blacks have won only one of their last six tests, having ended 2021 with defeats against France and Ireland.


South Africa have won eight of their last 10 tests on home soil, the defeats coming against Wales last month and the British and Irish Lions in July 2021.



New Zealand's hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho (C) is tackled by South Africa's hooker Malcolm Marx (L) and South Africa's prop Frans Malherbe (R) during the Rugby Championship international rugby match between South Africa and New Zealand at the Mbombela Stadium in Mbombela on August 6, 2022. (Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE / AFP) (Photo by PHILL MAGAKOE/AFP via Getty Images)

Played 102 – New Zealand leads 60-38 with four draws


Points for: South Africa 1,651 / New Zealand 2,108 (avg. score: 16-21)


Highest score: South Africa 46 (46-40 on 19 August, 2000) / New Zealand 57 (57-0 on 16 September, 2017 / 57-15 on 8 October, 2016)


Biggest winning margin: South Africa 17 (17-0 on 30 June, 1928) / New Zealand 57 (57-0 on 16 September, 2017)


First met: 13 August, 1921 – New Zealand 13-5 South Africa – Carisbrook, Dunedin


Last met: 6 August, 2022 – South Africa 26-10 New Zealand – Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit



JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 07: General view of the stadium ahead of the match between Cell C Sharks and the British & Irish Lions at Emirates Airline Park on July 7, 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)

15 Tests

9 South Africa wins

4 New Zealand wins

1 Draw

Last match: South Africa 20-27 New Zealand July 2015


South Africa have won two matches in a row against New Zealand for the first time since 2009. New Zealand last played back-to-back tests in South Africa in 2009 – they lost both matches, 28-19 in Bloemfontein and 31-19 in Durban.


New Zealand have played 51 tests against the Springboks on South African soil – winning 24 to South Africa’s 26 with one draw. 


Only four times in these 14 previous encounters has the winning margin been more than a converted try.



 PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 02: Frans Malherbe of South Africa looks on during the Rugby Union international match between South Africa and Georgia at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on July 02, 2021 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Frans Malherbe will become the third Springbok in as many matches to reach 50 caps after Bongi Mbonambi against Wales and Marx last weekend against New Zealand.


Lood de Jager will play his 60th test in the Springbok jersey.


Sam Whitelock will face South Africa for the 21st time in his career, still five behind Richie McCaw’s record.


The Barrett brothers are 35 points away from achieving the unique feat of 1,000 points combined in test rugby. Their current tally is split Beauden (708), Jordie (232) and Scott (25)


Springbok fly-half Handré Pollard needs four points to become South Africa’s record point-scorer against New Zealand. He is currently on 136 points, three behind Morné Steyn.


All Blacks' Captain Sam Cane will win his 82nd cap, moving him clear of Jerome Kaino to leave only Kieran Read and Richie McCaw with more. 


Replacement hooker Codie Taylor is set for his 70th cap off the bench.


Rieko Ioane (New Zealand) has made seven line breaks in The Rugby Championship since the beginning of the 2021 edition, the second-most of any player in the competition behind only Andrew Kellaway (8).


Ardie Savea (New Zealand) has scored two tries and made three try assists in The Rugby Championship since the beginning of the 2021 edition; he is one of only two players to have logged more than one in each category (also Samu Kerevi – 2 tries, 2 try assists).



Springbok team to face New Zealand in Johannesburg: 15 – Damian Willemse (DHL Stormers) – 19 caps, 12 pts (1t, 2c, 1p) 14 – Jesse Kriel (Canon Eagles) – 52 caps, 60 pts (12t) 13 – Lukhanyo Am (Cell C Sharks) – 29 caps, 25 pts (5t) 12 – Damian de Allende (Wild Knights) – 61 caps, 35 pts (7t) 11 – Makazole Mapimpi (Cell C Sharks) – 28 caps, 100 pts (20t) 10 – Handre Pollard (Leicester Tigers) – 63 caps, 649 pts (7t, 88c, 141p, 5d) 9 – Jaden Hendrikse (Cell C Sharks) – 5 caps, 5 pts (1t)  8 – Duane Vermeulen (Ulster) – 61 caps, 15 pts (3t) 7 – Pieter-Steph du Toit (Toyota Verblitz) – 61 caps, 25 pts (5t) 6 – Siya Kolisi (captain, Cell C Sharks) – 66 caps, 35 pts (7t) 5 – Lood de Jager (Wild Knights) – 59 caps, 25 pts (5t) 4 – Eben Etzebeth (Cell C Sharks) – 101 caps, 15 pts (3t) 3 – Frans Malherbe (DHL Stormers) – 49 caps, 5pts (1t) 2 – Bongi Mbonambi (Cell C Sharks) – 51 caps, 55 pts (11t) 1 – Ox Nche (Cell C Sharks) – 10 caps, 0pts  Replacements: 16 – Malcolm Marx (Kubota Spears) – 50 caps, 55 pts (11t) 17 – Steven Kitshoff (DHL Stormers) – 62 caps, 5pts (1t) 18 – Vincent Koch (Wasps) 35 caps, 0 pts 19 – Franco Mostert (Honda Heat) – 54 caps, 5pts (1t) 20 – Jasper Wiese (Leicester Tigers) – 14 caps, 0 pts 21 – Kwagga Smith (Shizuoka Blue Revs) – 22 caps, 5 pts (1t) 22 – Hershel Jantjies (DHL Stormers) – 22 caps, 25 pts (5t) 23 – Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz) – 75 caps, 65 pts (13t)

Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber has made five personnel changes to his starting lineup for this weekend.


South Africa are without Kurt-Lee Arendse after the winger received a four-week suspension following his red card in Nelspruit. He is suspended up to and including 17 September.


Two changes are enforced with scrum-half Faf de Klerk (concussion) and winger Kurt-Lee Arendse (suspension) unavailable.


Jaden Hendrikse will start in place of De Klerk with Hershel Jantjies providing cover from the bench. Jesse Kriel replaces Arendse on the right wing, starting only his sixth test in the position.


Ox Nche and Joseph Dweba come into the front row with Trevor Nyakane dropping out of the squad and Malcolm Marx taking a place on the bench. Bongi Mbonambi was initially named to start at hooker but took a knock to his knee in training on Tuesday and was withdrawn as a precaution.


The final change sees Duane Vermeulen named at number eight for his first appearance of the year after recovering from a knee injury. 


Willie Le Roux scored a late try against New Zealand in Round 1 of The Rugby Championship 2022 only one minute after being subbed in – his first try for South Africa since September 2018, also against New Zealand in The Rugby Championship; Le Roux has scored four tries against the Al Blacks since his debut in 2013, only Australia’s Israel Folau (7) has scored more tries against them over that span.



1.Ethan de Groot (5) 2.Samisoni Taukei’aho (12) 3.Tyrel Lomax (15) 4.Sam Whitelock (135) 5.Scott Barrett (51) 6.Shannon Frizell (18) 7.Sam Cane (captain, 81) 8.Ardie Savea (63) 9.Aaron Smith (106) 10.Richie Mo’unga (36) 11.Caleb Clarke (6) 12.David Havili (17) 13.Rieko Ioane (51) 14.Will Jordan (16) 15.Jordie Barrett (40)  Replacements: 16.Codie Taylor (69) 17.George Bower (15) 18.Fletcher Newell (uncapped) 19.Tupou Vaa’i (13) 20.Akira Ioane (15) 21.Finlay Christie (7) 22.Beauden Barrett (105) 23.Quinn Tupaea (10)

All Blacks coach Ian Foster has made four changes to his starting line-up.

Props Ethan de Groot and Tyrel Lomax come into the front row alongside Samisoni Taukei’aho. It will be only a second start for De Groot, who scored a try on his last in the 104-14 defeat of USA last October, and a fourth for Lomax.

Shannon Frizell will start at blindside with Akira Ioane dropping to the bench. The only change to the backline see Richie Mo’unga named at fly-half for his first start of the year with Beauden Barrett named on the bench.

Prop Fletcher Newell is in line for his test debut off the bench. 


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There are a total of 715 caps in South Africa’s starting line-up, split 458 in the forwards and 257 in the backs


This compares to 652 for New Zealand, split 380 in the forwards and 272 in the backs

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