Last chance for Morne
The Tri-Nations clash between the All Blacks and the Springboks in Wellington will have an extra edge for some players, and none more so than South Africa flyhalf Morné Steyn.
The deadeye marksman suddenly finds himself at a dangerous intersection in his relatively young test career and faces the real prospect of missing out on the World Cup altogether. That was unthinkable a few months ago.
The return of Butch James and the rise of Pat Lambie, coupled with Steyn's collapse in form, mean that the Bulls pivot is now through the doors of last chance saloon and only a massive performance tomorrow can save him.
Lambie will make his run-on debut for the Springboks at fullback and not flyhalf, which was coach Peter de Villiers' original intention, before injuries upset his plans. A back injury to fullback Gio Aplon means that the 20-year-old Sharks flyhalf has to play in the No15 jersey.
Steyn has, through Aplon's misfortune, received an international reprieve, but the coach hinted that it could be his last chance to prove he's the same player that dominated the world in 2009.
"Some tough decisions will have to be made before the World Cup and for him [Steyn], as for any of the players on the park on Saturday, it might be a last chance, or the only chance, so we hope he can rediscover the form that made him so invincible in 2009," De Villiers said.
The coach also made three more changes, with lock Gerhard Mostert making his test debut in place of the injured Flip van der Merwe, flank Jean Deysel coming in for Ashley Johnson, who drops to the bench, and centre Adi Jacobs taking over from Wynand Olivier.
Danie Rossouw has been moved from flank to No8 and Jacobs will play outside centre, with Juan de Jongh moving inside after operating in the No13 jersey against the Wallabies last week.
Alistair Hargreaves has overcome an abdominal strain and will start alongside Mostert in the second row in what is a hugely inexperienced tight five.
Props Dean Greyling and Werner Kruger will only be earning their second test caps after debuting last week, while Hargreaves has a modest three caps to his name. A total of five caps between four members of the tight five doesn't bode well against the All Blacks in their own backyard.
It will also make Steyn's bid to play himself back into form that much harder if the Bok big men are on the back foot.
New Zealand coach Graham Henry has picked an experienced pack, hoping to unsettle the green-looking Bok eight.
The All Black forwards have a combined total of 290 caps while the Boks have only 170 caps. John Smit and Rossouw have amassed 158 of those.
The All Blacks, like the Boks, have some new-look combinations in the second row where Ali Williams and Sam Whitelock combine for the first time, while Adam Thompson moves to No8 with Richie McCaw and Jerome Kaino on the flanks.
But behind the scrum New Zealand have settled combinations at halfback - Jimmy Cowan and Dan Carter - and centre, where Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith continue their Hurricanes relationship.
The Boks, by contrast, only have scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar and Steyn who have played together, while Jacobs and De Jongh, who finished against the Wallabies last week, start together for the first time.
Everything points to an All Black victory.
Defensively the Boks will have to improve if they are to have any chance after missing 25 tackles last week, which was the single biggest problem in their 39-20 defeat by Australia.
Mils Muliaina, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Zac Guildford, Dan Carter, Jimmy Cowan, Adam Thomson, Richie McCaw (captain), Jerome Kaino, Ali Williams, Sam Whitelock, Ben Franks, Andrew Hore, Wyatt Crockett. Replacements: Corey Flynn, John Afoa, Jarrad Hoeata, Liam Messam, Piri Weepu, Colin Slade, Sonny Bill Williams.
Patrick Lambie, Bjorn Basson, Adi Jacobs, Juan de Jongh, Lwazi Mvovo, Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar, Danie Rossouw, Jean Deysel, Deon Stegmann, Alistair Hargreaves, Gerhard Mostert, Werner Kruger, John Smit (captain), Dean Greyling. Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, CJ van der Linde, Ryan Kankowski, Ashley Johnson, Charl McLeod, Wynand Olivier, Odwa Ndungane.