The excitement builds up. Ablai and I will have our All Blacks jerseys on tonight and the snacks will be ready, and the beer chilled to the right temperature. Well, for me, Ablai will have to stick to Diet Coke.
It's a tough game to call, but on current form I will take the All Blacks. South African will be stung by the loss of their Captain Smit and still recovering from a bruising game.
Last week against Australia, South Africa had a glut of ball, but Australia used their nut and probed weaknesses in their defence. With the steady influence of Carter and Mauger, it sets Isaia Toeava up to get a feast of ball. My guess is the Boks will hesiate to go wide and play a tight forward game and use the kicking skills of Butch James and Montgomery to plug for touch. The AB's will use their pace in the backs and tries are likely to be scored by any one. Jerry Collins is due for a blinder. The Boks will have to neutralise him and McCaw and my bet is there will be a record number of people in the sin bin.
The big but for NZ is their ability to win the line out ball. Matfield, as captain, will be inspired, and will make it hard for the Kiwis to win as much ball as they would like.
Tonight, watching the game with my boy, Ablai brings back memories of listening to the series in 1960 when New Zealand toured South Africa. My Dad would wake me up at 1 a.m. tuning into Radio South Africa with a steaming mug of cocoa. I was 12 and had a brocken collar bone, sustained in a rugby match at Monticello ground in Dunedin We lost the first test 13-0 and the hero was Van Zyl, the Jonah Lomu-sized winger.
It won't be a 13-0 victory to the Boks today, but rather the ALL Blacks by 17 points.
Enjoy the game and if you don't drink beer, try cocoa. It calms your nerves.