The world expects the Springboks to lose. More than they expect the All Blacks to win they expect the Springboks to lose.
Many hope that they will lose just to chastise them for this 'weakened team' on tour.
The team in New Zealand now called the Springboks is just not regarded as up to winning. They proved it against the Wallabies and look likely to confirm it against the All Blacks, perhaps in a slightly different way.
Against the Wallabies the Springboks could not cope with the clever artifices of Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Kurtley Beale, James O'Connor and David Pocock.
This time they may find the sheer strength of the All Blacks too hard to hold.
The All Black scrum can destroy. The Crusaders' did it to the Sharks and the Stormers. There seems no reason why they cannot do it to a Springbok pack beaten in the scrums by the Wallabies, who are not renowned for their scrumming. South Africa's only hope in the scrums is to make all four of their second row work and perhaps move Danie Rossouw up at important times.
The Wallaby line-out beat the Springboks. This time they have more line-out players against them - Ali Williams, who is probably the second best line-out forward in the world and a lot better than is needed on Saturday, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw, Adam Thomson and even Wyatt Crockett. That's a lot of line-out ability.
If the All Blacks dominate first-phase possession it will carry over to the post-tackle contest where the Springboks were whacked by the Wallabies. The All Blacks may not have anybody as good as Pocock at the breakdown, but they will have the advantage of starting on the balls of their feet and getting there in cohesive numbers.
All that suggests a good platform for the All Black backs. They may not hop and skip, dance and prance as well as the Wallabies, but they have the genius of Daniel Carter with the skill and intuition to make a lot out of a little, a man who can suddenly win a match.
Not that it looks like a match that will require sudden intervention to gain victory.
Down the ages the Springboks were at their worst when expected to do well and at their best when their backs are to the wall.
Their backs are to the wall all right.
But it still depends on how much they believe that and how much they believe they can advance again to victory.
It is a South African cliche that the country has a great playing depth. That was not obvious last week when 23 players stayed at home and the rest were flattered to lose by only 19 points.
Depth and talent are not obvious now when one looks from team to team to play in Wellington.
Behind the forwards the All Blacks seem to have too much skill, speed, strength and creativity for the Springboks with their one-off runners heading straight for the nearest tackler. Things looked better late in the first half and when Patrick Lambie was there and perhaps he can be used to spark some more - but this and all other thoughts are clutching at straws.
When it comes to goalkicking South Africa has three - Morné Steyn, Patrick Lambie and Ruan Pienaar. Steyn is one of the world's most reliable. The All Blacks have Carter with Colin Slade in the wings. Carter on song is the equal of anybody.
It seems that not even in Wellington, wet and windy, will the weather play a part. But then it will not matter much to the All Blacks what the weather is like.
Players to watch: Daniel Carter for all the clever things he does, speedy Zac Guildford for all his many activities, Richie McCaw for all the things he gets away with and Patrick Lambie for all the promise he has.
Head to Head: Centres versus centres - Adi Jacobs versus Conrad Smith and Juan de Jongh versus Ma'a Nonu. The one at inside centre should be fascinating, both runners and, despite the disparity in experience, one would be tempted to tip the Springbok provided that he is not convinced that he should run every ball. The one on the outside could well be a test of Jacobs's strength. In the front row
2010: New Zealand won 29-22, Soweto
2010: New Zealand won 31-17, Wellington
2010: New Zealand won 32-12, Auckland
2009: South Africa won 32-29, Hamilton
2009: South Africa won 31-19, Durban
2009: South Africa won 28-19, Bloemfontein
2008: New Zealand won 19-0, Cape Town
2008: South Africa won 30-28, Dunedin
2008: New Zealand won 19-8, Wellington
2007: New Zealand won 33-6, Christchurch
2007: New Zealand won 26-21, Durban
Prediction: New Zealand by more than 15. Some people are even talking about records. After all the All Blacks in 2003 won 52-16 in Pretoria.
New Zealand: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 John Afoa, 18 Jarrad Hoeata, 19 Liam Messam, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Colin Slade, 22 Sonny Bill Williams.
South Africa: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 Adi Jacobs, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Danie Rossouw, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Gerhard Mostert, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Ryan Kankowski, 19 Ashley Johnson, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Wynand Olivier, 22 Odwa Ndungane.
Date: Saturday, July 30
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Expected weather: There has been rain about but it seems that Saturday will be partly cloudy with a high of 11°C.
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Stuart Dickinson (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
By Paul Dobson
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