The Rugby Championship is all but dusted with the All Blacks just need some kind of points this weekend in Argentina to take yet another championship.
Although their was plenty of promises from all three the other sides before the start of the tournament it has been yet again only the All Blacks that could deliver with the other three falling short yet again.
The current log standings are as follow….
So at best the Aussies and Springboks will fight it out to take second place behind the All Blacks and I might say that this second place is miles behind the world champions at the moment.
The last time these two side met it ended in a draw but the Springboks have had the Aussies number when playing them in South Africa the last couple of years.
The Australians have said they are building as did Coetzee with his Springbok team but between the two the Aussies look like making the best progress as we build up to two years out till Japan 2019 Wold Cup.
It has been a frustrating time for for Springboks supporters after a good start to the year against the French at home and the two test against the Pumas but it started to go south from the Aussies test a few weeks ago.
Losing a few key players did not help Coetzee and his team but what was more frustrating has been the off the field decisions from Coetzee on game-plan and player selection.
Coetzee have been confusing in every statement he has made since they struggled to the draw in Australia and it does not give great confidence for this weekend after the humiliation against the All Blacks.
Saying one thing and doing another must be as much confusing to the players as to the public.
A huge outcry came this week for better quality in the back three and after firstly defending the out-of-depth Rhule earlier this week Coetzee send him packing back to the Cheetahs. With contradicting statements from Coetzee on the dropping of Rhule and the no call to Lions star Combrinck left most people confused and upset.
For the Springboks the problem unfortunately lies deeper than just one or two players and with a free flowing approach Cheika Aussies want to play makes this weekend another test which does not spell anything good for the Springboks supporters.
Huge problems in our scrums was exploded by the All Blacks since Oosthuizen got injured and it even looks like Coetzee backup is not the answer. Although I do not blame hooker solely on lineout misses Marx did not had a good time of late with his locks and something we need to get right for the Aussie test.
When you struggle in lineouts and scrums it takes away two of the most important attacking pieces in the game and teams will struggle to get a win.
The Aussies have always been a clever team even if they are not the best, they will learn from mistakes and comeback with a plan to outsmart you. We can expect the Aussies to make sure that they come out firing and try upset the Springbok early on to take advantage of the scares left by the 57-0 defeat from the All Blacks.
It will be a huge test on the character of not just the team but also the coaches thsi weekend for the Springboks and anyone putting money on this game can call himself a gambler.
teams and more to follow….
The All Blacks need one single point to take another championship early Sunday Morning against Argentina and all is setup for the All Blacks to get yet another clean sweep this year.
With this weekend and the Cape Town test left this season not many people will bet against them and rightly so after they yet again dominated southern hemisphere rugby this year.There have been allot of talk in the media about the All Blacks not sending their best team to play Argentina and some even suggested it is an insult to Puma rugby.
The fact remains that the All Blacks second string team beat them in their first meeting this year in New Zealand and a second string All Blacks side will most properly beat most test nations in the world, they are that good.
The Argentina side have been poor in all aspects this season in Super Rugby and in the Rugby Championship with poor performances throughout the test. They seemed to only be able to play for 40 to 50 minutes and discipline have been poor again this year.
With Puma rugby the last two years it seems they take two steps forward and four steps back again. From a team that ended forth in the 2016 World Cup to a team that could not beat a third string England side at home in June and slipped away to number 10 on the world rankings.
The Pumas should come out with a spirited gameplan this weekend but at the end the All Blacks should have enough to win with a bonus point.
teams and more to follow…..