New Zealand v South Africa: Key facts and figures

Date published: October 23 2015

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With the Rugby World Cup's first semi-final, between South Africa and New Zealand, just a day away, we look at the important information and statistics ahead of the showdown.

– Of New Zealand's 18 opponents faced at the World Cup, they have a losing track record against only two of them, South Africa and Australia.

– The All Blacks have won one and lost two against South Africa and the team they could meet in next week's final (Australia).

– The last time these sides met at the World Cup, New Zealand won 29-9. That was during the 2003 quarter-finals in Melbourne. That loss ranks as South Africa's heaviest ever in a World Cup match.

– Keven Mealamu and Richie McCaw started that match for New Zelaand and Dan Carter came off the bench . Victor Matfield started South Africa and Schalk Burger came on as a replacement.

– The first World Cup encounter between these sides was the 1995 final which South Africa won 15-12, after extra-time. No tries were scored and Joel Stransky scored all South Africa's points, and Andrew Mehrtens did the same for New Zealand.

– In 1999, South Africa claimed a 22-18 win over New Zealand in the bronze medal match at the Millennium Stadium.

– In the 90 previous Tests between the sides, New Zealand have won on 52 occasions, South Africa 35 and three finished as draws.

– For South Africa, New Zealand are the opponents they have faced most often in Tests. The All Blacks have only played Australia more often at Test level (178 times) than South Africa.

– This will be South Africa's fourth time in a World Cup semi-final following appearances in 1995, 1999 and 2007.

– The Springboks intend becoming the first team to win the World Cup after losing the opening match of their campaign. The same goes for Argentina who face Australia in the other semi-final on Sunday.

– South Africa have won 28 of their 33 World Cup matches. Their winning percentage of 84.8 per cent in the competition is topped only by New Zealand's 87.5 per cent (42 wins in 48 matches).

– South Africa have made no changes to the starting XV that beat Wales 23-19 in last weekend's quarter-final.

– It is the first time since RWC 2007 that the Boks have made no changes to their starting XV between successive World Cup matches. Back then, they did not make changes to the team that beat Argentina in the semi-finals and England in the final.

– This starting line-up has 701 Test caps, just one fewer than the most experienced starting line-up the All Blacks have faced in a World Cup match. The France side that took them on in the final of RWC 2011 had 702 matches worth of Test experience.

– This Bok matchday 23 has eight players that were involved in the team's last World Cup semi-final in 2007. JP Pietersen, Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez, Victor Matfield and Schalk Burger started in that match and Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis and Ruan Pienaar came on as replacements.

– New Zealand are bidding to be the first team to defend the Rugby World Cup. If they succeed it will be the first time they have won the trophy outside of New Zealand.

– Apart from the All Blacks, South Africa and Australia are also trying to win the World Cup a record third time.

– The All Blacks have won a World Cup record-equalling 12 matches in the competition. Australia also won 12 in a row from 1999 to 2003.

– New Zealand will feature in a World Cup semi-final on a record seventh occasion. They shared the record of six with France and as of 2015 Australia have also made it six.

– The All Blacks have won three and lost three of their previous six RWC semi-final matches. They are bidding for a record fourth RWC final, as are Australia.

– At Rugby World Cup 2015, the All Blacks have recorded 34 tries against their opponents' four. No other team in the tournament has registered more than 26 tries.

– No player in international Test rugby has been on the winning side against the Springboks more often than Richie McCaw (19 times). 

– Richie McCaw sets a World Cup record in captaining his side for the 12th time in the competition, surpassing the 11 captain appearances by England's Martin Johnson and Will Carling, France's Raphaël Ibañez, John Smit of South Africa and Wales' Sam Warburton.

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