Conditions improved The Rugby Championship and the Round 2 returned to normality with wins for the best two teams in the world, the All Blacks and Springboks over the Wallabies and Pumas respectively.
The All Blacks thrashed the Wallabies 51-20 after coming under criticism following their previous performance. The Springboks much like Round 1 secured a scratchy win against the Springboks by 33-31. Most tipsters picked a smaller winning margin for the All Blacks and a bigger margin for the Springboks who were expected to improve this week.
The All Blacks blew away even the predictions of the most optimistic All Blacks fan as their tight five paved the way for them to make amends following their draw in the opening match. The All Blacks backline and loose forwards took advantage of the go forward ball the tight five provided to score a six tries to two victory despite having captain courageous, Ritchie McCaw yellow carded. He subsequently returned from the sinbin to score two tries. Aaron Cruden played well as you can expect from a dominant team, while it was great to see some young players blooded once the result was no longer in question.
The Wallabies to their credit scored two late tries to Israel Folau and Michael Hooper as a reward for these two players who were two of the most threatening players in yellow. It is funny how when the All Blacks win, there are generally no complaints about the referee.
Can anyone beat the All Blacks?
The Springboks had to come from behind for an unconvincing 33-31 win over the Pumas. The Pumas started better and were up 28-16 before two late Springboks tries got them back into the game with tries to Cornal Hendricks and Marcell Coetzee got them home. The Pumas took it to the Springboks forwards and the hosts were unlucky not to record their first ever win over the Springboks or in the Rugby Championship at all.
While the Springboks are at the top of the Rugby Championship after two rounds, they have hardly been convincing as their policy of selecting overseas based players has caused huge disruptions. They have several problem areas including outside centre and first five eighth which will hardly scare the All Blacks or Wallabies looking ahead.
How did your tipping going in The Rugby Championship Round 2?