Saturday's Tri-Nations Test in Wellington is unique in South African rugby history. It is the first time that the Springboks have had to defend their ranking as the World number 1. A massive game for us and with everything to play for.
The All Blacks will be without a wealth of experience with Byron Kelleher, Richie McCaw, Jerry Collins, Chris Jack, Joe Rokocoko, Aaren Mauger, Luke McAlister, and Carl Hayman all unavailable to Graham Henry. A couple are out through injury while the rest are overseas due to playing commitments.
There is no doubt that this is one of the most inexperienced All Black teams that South Africa has ever faced. In addition we must not lose sight of the fact that the Test is being played on the South Island and coach Graham Henry is from the North Island, which means the fans will have zero tolerance for any mistakes let alone failure.
The pressure increases because this All Black team desperately wants to get their disappointing World Cup behind them and re-establish their authority in the world game. It is also the first time that I can remember an All Black coach having to succeed to retain his position.
In essence the All Blacks are under enormous pressure through lack of experience, playing on the South Island and having a coach under intense scrutiny.
If the Springboks are able to keep that pressure on them for 80 minutes then there is every chance we can record our first win in New Zealand since 1998.
I would also like to thank all of you for reading and leaving comments on my blog. I will make a plan to start answering as many as I can soon.
Keep playing and watching your rugby.
Jake White talking to Mike Trapido of the Mail & Guardian