Rugga Champs Watch – Round 2

Round 1 of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship is done and the markers are down but who will prevail remains the only question…for now?

The All Blacks made a clear statement as to their number 1 status in the World of Rugby and the Springboks had to earn their money for a bonus point win over Los Pumas.

But it’s a week later and teams have swapped venues as Round 2 dawns upon the Championship and we will try our best to share our thoughts on what we see coming this weekend.

Saturday 25 August 2018 – All Blacks v Wallabies, Eden Park 09h35*

The All Blacks have won 10 of their last 12 games against the Wallabies in The Rugby Championship (D1, L1), including their last five on the bounce and we don’t see much changing this week.

The Wallabies talked the talked prior to last week’s fixture but yet again couldn’t walk it as the saying goes.

They have been much quieter this week and maybe that would have been a better ploy a week ago as they now stand with their backs against the wall after the thumping they got in front of their faithful supporters.

This week won’t be any easier as they head to the All Blacks cauldron, Eden Park. A venue that has seen the men from New Zealand smash the Aussies 17 games on the bounce, including the last 4 matches by an average of 17 points per game. To make things worse, the home side have not lost at Eden Park since 1994 when the French beat them that is 41 games at this ground undefeated.

The Wallabies will be without Israel Folau who is by far their best player.

The All Blacks are without Ryan Crotty and try machine Rieko Ioane, who has scored more Test tries since the beginning of 2017 than the injured Israel Folau who has crossed 12 times, twice as many as any other Australia player.

These injuries won’t change much for the Kiwis as their squad depth is something to behold.

The Wallabies haven’t defeated the All Blacks in New Zealand since picking up a 23 – 15 victory against them in August 2001, losing 21 games on the bounce against them there since.

PREDICTION: All Blacks by 21

Saturday 25 August 2018 – Argentina v Springboks, Estadio Malvinas 21h10*

Mario Ledesma’s dream start to International coaching did not quite go as planned but he will be up for the challenge as his team welcomes the Springboks to the Argentine cauldron of rugby in Mendoza this week.

Four of the last six games between the Pumas and Springboks in Argentina have been decided by a margin of five points or fewer; though, South Africa’s 41-23 win in their last game in Argentina was their biggest against the Pumas there since 2004 when they smashed them 39-7.

Argentina has led at halftime in each of their two previous games against South Africa at Estadio Malvinas; though they’ve gone on to earn just a single draw from those games losing one.

The Pumas have lost their last six games on the bounce in Argentina, conceding fewer than 30 points on only one occasion in that span and Ledesma’s first job is to stop that trend.

Rassie Erasmus, however will have some things to iron out this week as he builds on his “Project: World Cup 2019” plans after his Springboks bagged a scrappy bonus-point win in Durban.

Some of his key players weren’t at their best – Malcolm Marx struggled with his lineout throws and Handré Pollard had a day to forget with his goal kicking duties, but we all know the calibre of these stalwarts and this week, if given the chance, will produce the goods they were selected for.

Some standout performances were also on display with the likes of Captain Kolisi, Pieter Steph du Toit, Apiwe Dyantyi and our Man of the Match by far, Eben Etzebeth, who was said to possibly only play 50 or 60 minutes but ended up going the full 80. We really hope this is the new and improved Eben going forward who played to his almost full ability and it can only get better we believe.

One thing the Boks will look to improve on is their try scoring ability away from home as they have only managed to score 10 tries in their last five games away from home, failing to cross the whitewash twice in that time.

The South Africans have won all but three of their previous 27 games against Los Pumas, which include a draw and 2 losses, including their last three on the bounce and come-from-behind win in Round 1 of this tournament.

PREDICTION: Springboks by 13


Friday 24 August 2018 – Xerox Golden Lions v Tafel Lager Griquas – Golden Lions by 13

Saturday 25 August 2018 – Cell C Sharks v Vodacom Blue Bulls – Blue Bulls by 4

Saturday 25 August 2018 – DHL Western Province v Toyota Free State Cheetahs – WP by 8

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, please give this post a share on the links provided and show your rugga friends you care!

#welovesports #wedontsugarcoatit

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