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NZ/SA match insignificant to RWC


This weekend's winner won't decide outcome of RWC pool match

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has poured lukewarm water on the notion their Test against South Africa is a significant pointer to the teams’ World Cup group stage blockbuster.

The Rugby Championship Test in Wellington on Saturday is the only meeting of the old rivals ahead of their clash in Yokohama on September 21, a match that should set the World Cup alight on day two of the tournament.

Hansen said both teams are in a building process and plenty can happen in two months, stripping this week’s match of a bragging rights element.

“I guess it will give whoever wins it a little confidence going in to the World Cup, but it won’t mean whoever wins this one will automatically win the one in the World Cup,” he told reporters.

“In the big scheme it gives everyone a chance to have a wee look at each other and feel each other out but I don’t think it’s going to affect the World Cup, no.”

Both teams are coming off near-identical buildups, having notched first-up wins in the Rugby Championship with weakened teams while a group of first-choice players prepared in New Zealand.

Hansen is set to omit a chunk of the personnel involved in the mistake-riddled 20-16 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires.

Springboks counterpart Rassie Erasmus is also poised to overhaul his team who beat the Wallabies 35-17 in Johannesburg.

An advance party of 14 South African players that arrived in Wellington last week can all expect to play.

That group included veteran fullback Willie le Roux, first-choice halves Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard and classy forwards Malcolm Marx and Duane Vermeulen.

Hansen said his team won’t be motivated by last year’s shock 36-34 loss in Wellington, saying “revenge, we are not into that”.

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This weekend's winner won't decide outcome of RWC pool match
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