The Rugby Championship Round 2 sees the same teams playing each other as last week, but in different locations. This makes things interesting after the Springboks put 73 points past Argentina and the All Blacks almost put 50 past the Wallabies and now play at home.
The All Blacks will host the Wallabies in the windy and now shaky Wellington. The main issue is the Number 10s with New Zealand’s top three Number 10s all injured, so Tom Taylor starts in the hot seat which is probably the only concern for the All Blacks. He is a consistent player at Super Rugby level and so should be fine, I personally have more faith in his goal kicking than Colin Slade’s.
The other question is would Ewen McKenzie retain his Number 10 Matt Toomua from last week or start the much maligned Quade Cooper? It ends up McKenzie has not only retained Toomua, but he has also retained Jesse Mogg at fullback and only made one injury enforced changed. It seems that Ewen McKenzie is relying on consistency of selection to improve the performance of his team, rather than introducing spark. To be honest, if Quade Cooper started then the game could be closer or a cricket score, he is truly an enigma.
It is difficult to know the psychology behind rugby sometimes, the old adage of not changing a winning team is almost impossible these days, but the Springboks have managed it with 22 of the same players retained for the return match in Argentina. With the Pumas yet to be named, it is hard to know whether the Springboks will struggle to get up for this match or if the Pumas will make wholesale changes and completely change their performance. It is therefore difficult to get an idea of the magnitude of victory here, although surely the Springboks will win this weekend despite drawing the corresponding fixture last season and not winning away since the Rugby Championship began last season.
Who are you picking to win the Rugby Championship Round 2 matches and by how much?
I think that both matches in the Rugby Championship Round 2 will be closer than Round 1. I am picking the All Blacks to win by 15 points and the Springboks to back up their massive win from last weekend with a 35 point win.
All Blacks by 15 points
Springboks by 35 points