Our event of the day is the Rugby Championship fixture between South Africa and New Zealand at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria. This is the final round of matches in the six-game southern hemisphere tournament. The two sides last met in Wellington in September, with South Africa edging out the hosts in a tightly fought 36-34 victory. Defeat in Wellington is the only fault in an otherwise flawless campaign from the All Blacks. They sealed their third consecutive Rugby Championship title, and sixth in total, thanks to a comprehensive win in Argentina last weekend. However, even with the title in the bag, New Zealand have no intention of taking their foot off the gas today. Boss Steve Hansen has named his strongest possible starting 15. This includes the return of captain Kieran Read and scrum-half Aaron Smith who both missed last weekend’s win. New Zealand’s selection has sent out a clear message: they want to avenge last months home defeat.
South Africa will be cursing their back to back defeats against Argentina and Australia in weeks two and three. Having been the only side to overcome the formidable All Blacks, and on home soil to boot, failure to beat Argentina and Australia has cost them the title. Willie le Roux will earn his 50th cap for the Springboks as they aim to secure an impressive double over New Zealand for the first time in nine years. They will need to be at the top of their game to upset the All Blacks again. With two of the world’s best rugby sides on display, expect a game of the very highest quality.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the UFC 229 fight between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor is returning to UFC for the first time since his foray into boxing. His opponent Nurmagomedov is undefeated in 26 fights, and boasts the longest unbeaten run in UFC history. Meanwhile in Chicago, Artur Beterbiev takes on Callum Johnson in the IBF World Lightweight Title fight. Elsewhere in the States, the New York Rangers travel to Buffalo to face the Sabres in the NHL. At Fenway Park, the MLB playoff series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees continues. FC Dallas will look to extend their lead at the top of the MLS, as they welcome Orlando City to the Toyota Stadium. Further football action comes from La Liga clash between Deportivo Alavés and Real Madrid, and the Premier League fixture between Tottenham and Cardiff at Wembley. Additional sport on display in the capital can be found at Twickenham, where Northampton Saints take on Leicester Tigers in the Gallagher Premiership. Qualifying gets underway for the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix and theFormula One Japan Grand Prix. The ATP World Tour is in Japan, where the Rakuten Japan Open is taking place. At the China Open in Beijing, it’s men’s and women’s semi-finals day. The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship continues on the European Tour. In Rajkot, the First Test between India and the West Indies enters its third day, and in Paarl the third ODI between South Africa and Zimbabwe begins.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by All Blacks; Springboks
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