Rugby Championship

Whitelock relishes facing ‘big, strong’ Boks

2017-09-12 14:15
Sam Whitelock (Getty)

Cape Town - New Zealand lock Sam Whitelock is relishing the prospect of facing South Africa in their Rugby Championship Test in Albany on Saturday (kick-off 09:35 SA time).

It will be the 90-Test capped veteran’s 15th Test against the Springboks and his 91st overall.

And even though Whitelock has been on the winning side against South Africa 12 times, he expects another bruising encounter.

"It's one of those awesome Test matches you hope you can be part of," the 30 year-old told the Stuff.co.nz website.

"If you go back through history between South Africa and New Zealand, those are the games people talk about 10 or 20 or 30 years ago. No doubt this one will be the same.

"The beauty I love about it is they're big, strong guys and there is always that physical battle. They really pride themselves on it, so you always know it's going to be physical."

Saturday’s game is of utmost importance in the outcome of the Rugby Championship.

Although the Springboks are still undefeated in this year’s competition, defeat against the All Blacks in Albany will likely mean that they are out of the running for the title.

The Boks drew 23-23 against Australia in Perth last Saturday, but are now three points behind the All Blacks in the standings.

If the All Blacks win on Saturday, even by the smallest possible log points margin (4 v 1), they will move at least six points clear of South Africa.

A fortnight after that, the All Blacks travel to Argentina for a clash against the Pumas that they will be expected to win comfortably.

Should that happen, then even if the Boks beat Australia in Bloemfontein on September 30, they will in all likelihood not be able to challenge for their first Rugby Championship title since 2009.

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Fixtures
Saturday, 30 September 2017
South Africa v Australia, Bloemfontein 17:05
Sunday, 01 October 2017
Argentina v New Zealand, Buenos Aires 00:40
Saturday, 07 October 2017
South Africa v New Zealand, Cape Town 17:05
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