Rugga Champs Watch – Round 1

Another season of Vodacom Super Rugby is gone and straight into the 2018 edition of The Castle Lager Rugby Championship we dive. Just in time to kill the rugby boredom demons.

From what we saw in this year’s Super Rugby I think it is safe to say that we are in for a humdinger of a  tournament between four nations that are striving to be the world’s best.

Both South Africa and Argentina boast new and inspiring coaches and the Wallabies and All Blacks are planning to come out guns blazing, so without further a due let’s talk Rugby Champs!

Saturday 18 August 2018 – Wallabies v All Blacks, ANZ Stadium 11h45*

Michael Cheika’s men believe they have what it takes to finally turn the tables on Bledisloe Cup rivals, All Blacks.

This is a huge statement to make if we have to look at the Aussies performances during Super Rugby but we also do know that when the men from down under put on the Aussie Gold they become a different beast altogether.

One thing Cheika seems to get right every year is to put a bunch of guys together and make them gel well. He has been at this for the past 4 years and he for one is someone that believes in the “impossible”.

His rival, Steve Hansen however has also been around a long time and no matter the odds, always seem to get the job done especially when the heat is on.

There has been much talk about certain selections in the All Black squad in recent days but I don’t think these talks warrant much as we have all seen that no matter who the Kiwis select, they remain a formidable outfit.

On Saturday all this chatter and banter will come to a halt when the ref gets things underway at ANZ Stadium and then “the proof of the pudding will be in the eating” as the saying goes.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Luke Pearce (England)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

PREDICTION: All Blacks by 5

Saturday 18 August 2018 – Springboks v Argentina, Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 17h05*

The “real deal” has finally arrived for Rassie Erasmus and his team of Springboks to prove themselves after a satisfactory June Incoming Series against Eddie Jones’ England, which the South Africans won 2-1.

We say the “real deal” as the Boks will now be proven against the best in the world especially when they finally come face to face with the All Blacks later in the tournament.

This weekend however will not be a walk in the park as Erasmus’ men face a rejuvenated Argentina squad, who boasts a new Coach in Mario Ledesma, who already defined the odds this year in Super Rugby by reaching the quarter-finals and more impressive came away with 4 wins from 4 match on their Australasian tour. A feat never accomplished by any team in the competition to date.

One thing Rassie has gotten right since taking over from Allister Coetzee is making the public believe in the Springboks again. Not just that but he has also made the players believe in themselves again and wanting to wear the Green & Gold with pride again.

With one or two players not being available either through injury or club commitments elsewhere, Erasmus does also have players back that weren’t available in June, which he is relishing to work with.

Ledesma on the other hand has been working with his team non-stop since late last year as he has been the Jaguares Coach, which ultimately is Los Pumas.

One thing which we found interesting is how he opted for a different captain during Super Rugby as to the national side and having spoken to many people we all felt that was part of the reason the Jags looked a better outfit. Pablo Matera we felt bought a different culture to the team than Augustin Creevy and it will be interesting to see if we were right or not now that Creevy has retained the Argentine captaincy.

One thing remains however and that will be the spirit in which the men from Argentina showed they can play and Ledesma for one is excited to show to the world that his team can deliver at the highest level.

Saturday’s match in Durban will see new chapters for both teams and its sure to make for great viewing if the previous 7 months has been anything to go by this far.

We believe it will be tight yet exciting and as a proud Springbok supporter I am backing Rassie and his men to scrape a nail-biter.

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

PREDICTION: Springboks by 2

That’s it for this week’s predictions. Feel free to leave your thoughts and picks below in our comments section and also join us on Twitter.

Lastly, give this post a share and show your friends you care!

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