Cape Town - Springbok veteran prop Tendai Mtawarira is shaping to play against the All Blacks for the 20th time on Saturday, but this will mean more than most. 

It is the first time ever that two of the game's great rivals will meet each other in the pool stages of a World Cup, and the general feeling is that there is absolutely nothing between the sides going into the clash. 

The result, of course, does not mean the world in the greater scheme of things with both the Springboks and All Blacks expected to qualify for the tournament quarter-finals regardless of what happens on Saturday. 

It might mean the difference between facing Ireland or Scotland in the knockouts, though, but Mtawarira says this is a fixture that the Boks have been eyeing for months. 

"We've known about this fixture for a hell of a long time," the 111-Test man affectionately known as 'Beast' said on Thursday. 

"We have embraced it, and looked forward to it. One of the big challenges in anyone's rugby career is to face the All Blacks.

“It is a massive challenge, but we believe in the progress we've made in the past couple of months, and how hard we've worked. We are excited to go up against them on Saturday."

Mtawarira will start on the bench for the Boks with Steven Kitshoff getting the nod for the No 1 jersey. 

The 34-year-old, who will be playing in his third World Cup, also had a special message for long-time rival owen Franks, who was left out of the All Black squad despite boasting 108 Test caps. 

Instead, New Zealand will be backing Nepo Laulala at tighthead with Angus Ta’avao the bench cover. 

"Owen has had an illustrious career and played in so many Tests, and I've got so much respect for him," Mtawarira said.

"I kind of feel for him, missing out (on the World Cup). I know how hard he's worked, but I guess they went with the two in-form tightheads."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 11:45 (SA time). 


South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff 

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel

New Zealand

15 Beauden Barrett  14 Sevu Reece, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Ofa Tuungafasi, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Shannon Frizell, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Sonny Bill Williams, 23 Ben Smith

- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard