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Michael Taylor 11th Sep 2009 - 22:03

Nonu the man to make South Africa sweat

Brilliant outside centre Ma'a Nonu rescued New Zealand's Tri Nations dream with a late try against Australia last month and he now looks poised to fire the Kiwis past a stuttering South African challenge.

New Zealand, without hope of landing an unlikely fifth straight Tri Nations title before Nonu and Dan Carter led a brilliant fight back in Sydney, head into Saturday's crunch clash in Hamilton knowing that only a big win can keep their hopes alive.

And while it's still a long shot that they do find their way to the top, it becomes more than just achievable if they win by more than seven points and limit the Springboks to less than four tries, it becomes a very realistic task.

If any country in the world is able to do it then it's New Zealand.

They're 8/15 to land the victory but, more invitingly for me is the 10/11 about them overcoming the four point spread - especially when they need to cover seven points to keep their slim hopes alive.

They certainly have the talent despite fly half Stephen Donald having been forced into an inside centre role thanks to injuries to Luke McAllister and Conrad Smith.

But backers needn't lose too much sleep with the classy Nonu alongside him.

Nonu was one of the elite performers throughout this year's Super 14 season and, if he can step up and play to that level, then he won't just control the game and terrorise the South African defence but also look great value at 16/1 to grab the first try of the game.

Of course all depends on which South African side turns up because the one that got destroyed by Australia was simply awful.

Unlike the first four appearances of the campaign, the Springboks looked tired, nervous and a shadow of their former selves - another showing like that could be embarrassing.

However, I'm sure that won't be the case which makes the ensuing battle between Dan Carter and Morne Steyn as tasty as it sounds.

Steyn leads the way at the top of this season's leading point scorer while Dan Carter needs just two points to overtake Andrew Mehrtens as the Tri Nations' all-time top scorer.

It's fair to say these two are the best fly halves in the world at the minute and it could very easily come down to who has the hottest boot on the day.

Carter was brilliant in his return against Australia but Steyn has shown throughout the entire programme that he is a force to be reckoned with - nobody knows that more than the All Blacks after his magnificent 31 point haul in the week three win in Durban.

If he can give a good account of himself then there should be some real value on the total away points market, with more than 19 points at 5/4. A more than generous price considering they have managed more than 28 in four of their five games so far.

And if you're getting on the Steyn side of the argument then you'll be delighted to know you can claim 20/1 on him opening the scoring with one of many drop goal attempts - it's not exactly buying money but it's a small stake proposition that provides extra interest and perhaps even a decent payout.

However, I just can't see the rocking South Africans coming away with the win, so any extra bet market is the only way I'd back the away team.


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