Rugby Championship Round 5
South Africa v Australia
|South Africa v Australia
Sunday 1:05am at Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
|Best Bet: Wallabies +7.5 ($1.90)
Value Bet: Wallabies 1-12 ($4.00)
The Wallabies travel to the republic to face a South African team desperate to bounce back from their worst lost ever.
Three changes to the Wallabies side and it sees three rookies making their starting debuts. Izack Rodda comes into the second row to partner Adam Coleman at the expense of Rob Simmons. Jack Dempsey gets his shot at blindside flanker replacing the much-maligned Ned Hanigan. Whilst League convert Marika Korobeite completes his transition to Rugby, getting the nod on the right wing in place of Henry Speight.
Springboks coach Alistair Coetzee has also made three changes to his starting XV. It will be a first test start for the Stormers Dillyn Leyds who comes into replace Raymond Rhule on the right wing. Young scrumhalf Ross Cronje has overcome the sickness that ruled him out of the last round and will assume his rightful position at the base of the ruck. The big news out of Africa is the return of Bath flanker Francois Louw who has answered Coetzee SOS call and will earn his 53rd test cap at Blindside flanker.
Last time they met
9th September 2017 – Australia 23 – 23 South Africa
Stat that matters
The Wallabies have only won 3 times on the Highveld from 25 attempts. However, one of those victories came last time the two sides met in Bloemfontein in 2010 when a young Kurtley Beale kicked a 55-metre penalty after fulltime giving the Wallabies a memorable win.
Marika Korobeite vs Dillyn Leyds: Two wingers will be making their starting debuts out wide in Bloemfontein with both having very different paths to the top. This time last year Marika Korobeite was preparing for the NRL grand final with the Melbourne Storm. His switch to Rugby has taken a while to lift off but he is finally finding his feet in the 15-man code. The Wallabies are calling out for a bit of x factor on the wing and the wolf feels Marika could be the man heading into the World Cup. Leyds on the other hand is somewhat of a journeyman. The 25-year-old earnt 6 caps with the Force in 2014 under Michael Foley before plying his trade for Western Province in the Curry Cup. From there he was picked up by the Stormers. He will be looking for a big game in the early hours of Sunday morning (AEST) with competition for spots in the South African back three hotly contested.
The Springboks are coming off their worst defeat in their history, a 57-0 drubbing at the hands of the All Blacks, just the 4th time in the professional era the men from the republic have been held scoreless. The Wallabies on the other hand are coming off their first win of the Rugby championship against a diligent Argentina. It was a good performance from the Aussies in Canberra, particularly in the second half in which the backline clicked and tore the Pumas to pieces.
How it’s shaping
Much has been made of the Springboks abysmal performance in Auckland 2 weekends ago, but the fact of the matter is they will be desperate to prove the doubters wrong particularly at home on the Highveld in Bloemfontein. The Wolf thinks this is the best Wallabies side Cheika has named this year with Jack Dempsey and Izsak Rodda bringing some much need aggression and go forward to the forward pack and Marika Korobeite adding some raw pace out wide. The Wolf sees a close game playing out in the Free state but is predicting the Wallabies to upset the hosts on a fast deck in Bloemfontein.
Wallabies by 5
Australia v Argentina
|Argentina v New Zealand
Sunday 9:40am at Estadio Jose Amalfitani, Buenos Aires
|Best Bet: New Zealand -21.5 ($1.90)
Value Bet: New Zealand 26-30 ($8.00)
The All Blacks travel to Buenos Aires to face a Pumas team that surprised them last time they met in Taranaki. Can they reproduce that form and pull off one of the biggest upsets in Rugby history?
The All Blacks have opted to rest several big guns for the trip to South America, but make no mistake this is still an outstanding line-up on paper. Vaea Fifita, Matt Todd and Waisake Naholo have earned recalls whilst Anton Lienert-Brown has been promoted to the starting side with Ryan Crotty staying at home in NZ. Luke Romano and Scott Barrett also come into the starting XV, with Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick enjoying well-earned breaks. In-form Crusaders utility David Havili is in line to make his potential All Blacks debut from the bench.
Argentina are expected to name an unchanged line-up to the side that led Australia at halftime in Canberra just 2 weeks ago.
Stat that matters
There have been four clashes between the All Blacks and Argentina in Bueno Aires since the advent of the Rugby Championship with the All Blacks winning every game by a margin of 18 points or more.
Last time they met
9th September 2017 – New Zealand 39 – 22 Argentina
Front row vs Front row: If there is one area the Pumas can really challenge the men in Black it must be up front at scrum time. With both the Franks brother ruled out for the Rugby Championships and hooker Dane Coles perhaps underdone after playing little Super Rugby this year the ABs scrum has failed to impress in 2017. Nepo Laulala and Kane Hames were less than impressive against South Africa 2 weeks ago, and the Wolf feels that Augustin Creevy, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro and Lucas Noguera have a real chance to get one over their counterparts on Sunday morning AEDT.
New Zealand are undefeated in the Rugby Championship in 2017 with 19 points from a possible 20 with a win in the Argentine capital securing the trophy for another year. The Pumas on the other hand are yet to win in the RC and have lost 6 of their 7 games in 2017.
How it’s shaping
As much as the Wolf would love to see the boys from South America stick it to the All Blacks, he just can’t see it it playing out that way on Sunday Moring (AEDT). The Pumas will be competitive for the first 20 minutes or so before Beauden Barrett, Israel Dagg and Reiko Ioane will cut them to pieces out wide ensuring and the Rugby Championship silverware will go back to the over flowing trophy cabinet at NZ Rugby HQ.
All Blacks by 26