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The key selection Boks say makes the All Blacks 'even more dangerous'

By Ian Cameron
(L-R) Nepo Laulala, David Havili, Richie Mo’unga, Anton Lienert-Brown and Brodie Retallick sing the national anthem ahead of the International Test Match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Fiji at FMG Stadium Waikato on July 17, 2021 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

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The Springboks believe that the wounded All Blacks will be ‘even more dangerous’ as a result of starting first-five Richie Mo’unga at Ellis Park on Saturday.

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Mo’unga starts at 10 for the first time this year in place of Beauden Barrett, one of four changes to Ian Foster’s New Zealand team to face South Africa in their Rugby Championship clash at Johannesburg.

Barrett fell heavily on his head and neck during last weekend’s opening 26-10 loss to the Springboks following a collision with Kurt-Lee Arendse.

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Although trained this week, Barrett is named on the bench, with Mo’unaga preferred to start. Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick believes it’s a call that makes the men in black even more of a menace.

“The All Blacks are a world class side, and with Richie Mo’unga at flyhalf they will be even more dangerous. He can mix up his game with kicking and running, so he will bring something different to the team.

“We know for a fact that we can’t switch off for a moment against them because they have world class players that can punish you. It is going to be a massive challenge, and we have to be at the top of our game to beat them.

“In my lifetime in the Bok team it is the first time we will be playing back-to-back Tests against the All Blacks at home, and we know it is going to be a massive challenge, but we’ll give everything to do well. We have a massive tour ahead, but we don’t want to look too far ahead.

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“Emirates Airline Park is a big venue for both teams. I certainly will never forget the Rugby World Cup final in 1995 with Nelson Mandela in attendance and Joel Stransky’s drop-goal.

“The big factor for us, however, is to keep building and hopefully we can do that, and the scoreboard will take care of itself.”

Skipper Siya Kolisi is also wary of the threat New Zealand bring.

“We had a look at last week’s game, but we cannot dwell on that result too long,” said Kolisi. “New Zealand are a very good team, and they are one performance away from turning things around.

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“From our side, we had a good review of last week’s game, and we feel there is a lot we can still improve on.”

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