The Rugby Championship’s penultimate round saw the two fancied teams, South Africa and New Zealand win easily in the end. Ben Smith’s second try in the last five minutes gave the All Blacks a four try bonus point and a big advantage going into their final match against the Springboks at Ellis Park. That point now means the Springboks would have to score four tries against the All Blacks and convincingly beat them to win the Rugby Championship. It doesn’t look likely, but Ellis Park is a difficult place to win for away teams. The catch is that the Springboks couldn’t even score four tries against the Wallabies, so it will be a challenge to score four against the best team in the world.
The Springboks dominated the Wallabies and the result wasn’t really in doubt with some well taken early tries and they must be kicking themselves for not getting a bonus point win against the Wallabies. The Wallabies soft underbelly has been exposed and their lack of depth is killing them. Who scored their only try? Most people from outside Australia won’t have heard of Chris Feauai-Sautia. It is hardly fair when he has to play against superstars like Julian Savea, Ben Smith, Israel Dagg, Brian Habana and Willie Le Roux.
The All Blacks produced one of their more disappointing performances against the Pumas, but they still won by 33-15 so I guess you can’t complain. It was more moments of individual brilliance which got the All Blacks home as the damp conditions and great scrambling from the locals frustrated the All Blacks and Argentina were unlucky to lose by so much given how many penalties they were awarded. The Pumas put pressure on the All Blacks at the breakdown and scrums. Ben Smith’s second try spared the blushes and gave the All Blacks a crucial bonus point which should ensure they retain the Rugby Championship, even if they lose to the Springboks.
The Super Rugby Tips SuperBru conference is topped by The Bandit, but the Bandit will have his work cut-out to fend off the chasing pack. The games in The Rugby Championship Round 6 will decide which team wins the title and which teams wins the wooden spoon. It has been a two horse race for a while, but these upcoming matches couldn’t be more evenly poised. Teams in second and fourth position host the top and third ranked team which will be a leveller.
Who do you think will win the Rugby Championship 2013? I think the All Blacks will win, but they may not necessarily win this weekend, but they will do enough to claim the title.