Statistically, it all points to an All Blacks win against the Springboks in Albany, New Zealand.
I have the All Blacks to win, but not by much.
My Sport24 column says the Springboks will run them close. What does that mean? Less than 10 and maybe even as little as three points separating the teams at the end.
South African fans support the view that the All Blacks will win, with 76 percent of the 5000 who voted on Sport24 backing an All Blacks victory.
The bookmakers Sportingbet don’t believe it will be close, with odds set at an All Blacks win by as much as 19 points.
The Springboks have won just one from their last 10 against the All Blacks, and since 1996 have won just 14 from 51.
They have also not won in New Zealand since the 32-29 victory in Hamilton in 2009.
The 2017 international season return for the All Blacks and Springboks is similar. The Springboks have drawn one and won five. The All Blacks have drawn one, lost one and won five. The statistics point to it being a contest and not a Test played between one team on a high and one supposedly on a low.
The All Blacks will have to play well to beat the Boks but I expect them to win the Test, especially because it is in New Zealand.
I don’t expect the All Blacks to get given their due if they beat what is a good Springboks team because there is no longer an appreciation for when the All Blacks win; only for when they draw or lose.
The Springboks have been given rave reviews for their two wins and a draw in the Castle Rugby Championship, while the All Blacks have been heavily criticised for their three wins, in which they have scored 19 tries.
Team and individual statistics all favour the All Blacks, despite a common view that the All Blacks are at their most vulnerable since before the 2011 Rugby World Cup tournament.
All Blacks fullback Damian McKenzie features prominently on attack and Sonny Bill Williams, despite the view that he has not added much to the All Blacks’s attacking game in this season’s Rugby Championship, has the most offloads and the third most carries.
Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth and his opposite, New Zealand lock Brodie Retallick, have also been outstanding among the forwards.
Collectively, here’s how the two teams statistically shape:
Clean breaks: NZ 57 SA 42
Individually: Damian McKenzie 8, Rieko Ioane 8, Ryan Crotty 6.
Carries: NZ 423 South Africa 313
Individually: Beauden Barrett 38, McKenzie 36, Sonny Bill Williams 35.
Offloads: NZ 36 South Africa 33
Individually: Sonny Bill Williams 10, Eben Etzebeth 6
Defenders beaten: NZ 105 South Africa 68
Individually: Barrett 14, Ioane 13, McKenzie 12
Attacking metres: NZ 1815 South Africa 1140
Individually: Ioane 254, Andries Coetzee 196
Tackle effectiveness: NZ 86.9, South Africa 87
Individually: Jaco Kriel 38, Coenie Oosthuizen 32, Sam Cane 32
Scrum: NZ 100%, South Africa 96%
Lineouts: NZ 93,8% South Africa 95,6%
Individually: Etzebeth 11, Kieren Read 10, Brodie Retallick 9
Ruck scrums: NZ 97% South Africa 96,2%
15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Kane Hames
Substitutes: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Lood de Jager, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Handre Pollard, 23 Damian de Allende