Rugga Champs Watch – Round 5

We have reached the final two weeks of the 2018 Castle Lager Rugby Championship and things have gotten very interesting with the race still open to claim top honours after what transpired in Wellington hardly two weeks ago.

Once again the All Blacks will have a chance to seal the deal this weekend but they will have to bring their best to Buenos Aires unless they happy to make it a proper showdown next week at Loftus Versfeld, which we doubt very strongly.

The Springboks have found a new lease on life so to speak after doing the almost impossible in New Zealand and will want to build on that against a struggling Wallaby outfit, who are staring down the barrel more than ever this year.

Many South Africans would share our sentiments and hope for miracles this weekend but surely lightning can’t strike twice…or can it?

Saturday 29 September 2018 – Springboks v Wallabies, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 17h05*

Redemption time is how the Springboks will see this clash on Saturday when they welcome Australia to Port Elizabeth for the return fixture between the two sides in this year’s competition.

The Boks are on an all-time high after pulling off what is said to be one of the most famous victories over the All Blacks in New Zealand a mere two weeks ago.

This match on Saturday will be seen as another milestone towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup plan when and if they beat the Wallabies. The only question is by how much for most South African’s?

These two teams have been rather close in recent times but many feel it is time to break the shackles. When one thinks back about three weeks ago then it truly hurts to know the Boks let it slip in Brisbane against a Wallaby outfit that has been on a downward curve more than anything, hence this match will be seen as a chance to redeem themselves and make it count.

Michael Cheika is under enormous pressure after falling short against Argentina in his own backyard, the first loss for Australia against Los Pumas down under since 1983. He has been under strain since the first two matches of the Championship, after drubbings by the All Blacks and got saved when they snuck a win against the Springboks in Brisbane in round 3.

Rumour has it that the ARU is ready to make a coaching change now, as they believe there is enough time left before the World Cup next year.

Be it as may, the Aussies have their backs firmly against the wall and will be giving it their all come Saturday in a stadium that is very unfamiliar to most of them as they have never faced the Boks at Nelson Mandela Bay before. In fact, the last time these two teams faced off in Port Elizabeth was in 1963 at Boet Erasmus Stadium, which South Africa won 22-6.

We believe the outcome might be tighter but we are going to back a very confident Springbok outfit to do the business and break the proverbial shackles once and for all.

PREDICTION: Springboks by 11

Sunday 30 September 2018 – Argentina v All Blacks, Estadio José Amalfitani 00h40*

All or nothing is how Argentina will be seeing this encounter with the All Blacks this weekend when the clash in Buenos Aires.

Mario Ledesma and his team must believe they have a chance after seeing what the Springboks did in Wellington to Steve Hansen’s All Blacks. After all, Los Pumas smashed the Springboks only a few weeks ago to record their biggest win over the South Africans ever.

Will belief be good enough for the Argentines or will they need more than that?

Belief is one part of what they need but they will also require the greatest 80 minutes of their careers to pull of what could only be seen as a miracle at this stage.

The All Blacks however don’t seem to concerned about this match if rumours about Kieran Read being rested and possibly not a full strength Kiwi outfit being selected are true.

The New Zealanders are clearly focussed on one thing only and that is next week’s return fixture with the Springboks in Pretoria. This could hopefully also work in favour of Argentina but it is fair to say that we all know that there aint something like a weak All Blacks team.

It’s a hell of a long shot at this stage but from a South African point of view it will be truly amazing to see the Argentina pull of their first ever win over New Zealand and keep the competition alive but alas.

PREDICTION: All Blacks by 9


Saturday 29 September 2018 – DHL Western Province v Cell C Sharks – Province by 13

Feel free to leave your thoughts and predictions below in our comments section and join our chats on Twitter using #RuggaChamps

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