Breakdown battle between the Springboks and All Blacks begins

14 September 2017 - 07:24 By Khanyiso Tshwaku
Springbok flanker Siya Kolisi.
Springbok flanker Siya Kolisi.
Image: Juan Mabromata/AFP

The breakdown battle between South Africa's Siya Kolisi and New Zealand's Sam Cane will form an integral part of Saturday's Rugby Championship clash between the Springboks and the All Blacks.

The Bok backrow will have a different look because of Jaco Kriel's shoulder injury, which could see Sharks youngster Jean-Luc du Preez earn his second start when coach Allister Coetzee announces his match-day 23 on Thursday morning.

Question marks linger over Du Preez's breakdown efficiency, especially in light of the manner in which Kolisi and Kriel jointly approached the ground battle.

Neither are specialist fetchers, like Cane, whose seamless transition has made sure New Zealand rugby has not felt the impact of Richie McCaw's retirement.

Though New Zealand will always be the world's breakdown benchmarkers, one just has to see how teams fare against Australia to have an idea of where to gauge themselves against the All Blacks. Despite having lacklustre tight forwards, Australia have always manufactured looseforwards who have proven to be world-class nuisances at the breakdown.

While David Pocock continues his sabbatical, captain Michael Hooper wages a lone battle against marauding forward packs.