The Springboks should be expected to claim victory on Saturday, but the under-fire All Blacks are more than capable of causing a shock result.
It’s not often that the Boks have headed into a game against the All Blacks as favourites, but that does seem to be the overwhelming sentiment from the general public.
New Zealand were awful in the final two games of the July Test series against Ireland, while the Boks left their best for last against Wales.
It stands to reason that the Springboks should have too much firepower for the All Blacks up front, but it seems foolhardy to believe this is going to be a one-sided result on Saturday.
So what result can be expected?
Below, our Springboks v All Blacks predictions
CRAIG LEWIS’ PREDICTION: All Blacks to win by three
I’d fully expect to receive plenty of hate mail from Springbok fans for this point of view, but I just have a sneaky suspicion that an under-fire All Blacks team could be a dangerous animal on Saturday.
The All Blacks have made key changes to a new-look front row, while the selection of Caleb Clarke on the wing could be a game-changer.
In the last six Test matches between the Boks and All Blacks, there is remarkably just 10 points that have separated these two arch-rivals.
My gut feeling is that this is going to be another incredibly tense affair, and likely to be decided by a crucial moment late in the game, often when the All Blacks are most lethal.
With so much pressure and criticism having been levelled at the All Blacks since the series loss to Ireland, this is the sort of match where a wounded team may just find another gear.
Unfortunately, I think the Boks will be on the receiving end of a big response, and may well endure an agonising narrow defeat. From a South African perspective, hopefully I’m wrong, but I just can’t shake this sneaky suspicion that the All Blacks will produce a redemptive performance against a team they always get up for.
GARRIN LAMBLEY’S PREDICTION: Springboks to win by four
The heart says the Springboks, and the head says … the Springboks!
The world champions have everything in their favour heading into this first of back-to-back Tests against the All Blacks: form, history, altitude and perhaps most importantly, one of the worst-looking All Blacks teams of all time on paper (and form).
If the Springboks can replicate anything close to what they did in smothering Wales in their third and deciding clash in Cape Town, they will be far too much to handle for an All Blacks team – and coach – under immense pressure to deliver.
The Springboks have never tasted defeat at the Mbombela Stadium – and that won’t change come the final whistle on Saturday around 19:00.
Expect rolling mauls, up-and-unders, box-kicks and an ‘ugly’ win for the Springboks in what should be a not-to-be-missed encounter.
Kick-off is at 17:05 and, as always, the very best place to follow the action LIVE is on The South African website.