the rugby championshipThe Rugby Championship goes on the line when the Springboks host the All Blacks at Ellis Park.  The formula is easy, the Springboks must get five Rugby Championship points courtesy of a four try bonus point and deny the All Blacks any points for scoring four tries or finishing within seven points.  In some ways it is a shame that the Springboks didn’t get a bonus point themselves against the Wallabies last week, because it would be great to have everything on the line.

Both teams have made two changes to their starting teams for this match.  The All Blacks welcome back captain Richie McCaw, while Charlie Faumuina starts at tighthead prop.  The All Blacks have gone for experience in their starting team while they will get plenty of spark from the younger players off the bench.  Given the high attrition rate of the last match between these two teams, and the altitude, the All Blacks will need to get some value off the bench.

Bismarck du Plessis will have a score to settle after being red carded when these two teams last met.  Du Plessis is the best hooker in the world and will be crucial as the Springboks attempt to dismantle the All Blacks upfront.  Juandre Kruger also gets a start at lock.

This match will be a cracker and worth waking up at 3:30am in the morning for (NZ time).  It is awesome having an All Blacks test match where you don’t know who is going to win.  The Springboks knowing that they need to score four tries may be forced into playing a different style of game.  The All Blacks have great defence which the Springboks will do well to get four tries past.

I think while the Springboks will want to celebrate The Beast’s 50th test in style, that knowing they need to score four tries will weigh heavily on their mind.  I am picking the Springboks to win the battle as they thrive with the physical style of game, but the All Blacks will be too classy across the park.  This is the toughest challenge of 2013 for the All Blacks and they have only won 3 out of 13 games at Ellis Park, but I don’t think playing in South Africa holds the demons that it once did.

My pick – All Blacks by 6 points

Don’t forget that there is another great match for the wooden spoon in the Rugby Championship.  Can Argentina break their duck in the Rugby Championship?  This match could be a potential boilover with the Wallabies in disarray and Argentina showing enough against the All Blacks for sixty minutes to make you think they are a chance.

Will Genia returns for the Wallabies and it will be interesting to see what impact he can make for the Wallabies.

If Argentina can keep the fitness up for 80 minutes then they will win.  They are starting with the experienced Felipe Contepomi.

If the Wallabies start the way they finished against the Springboks then they should win, while the Pumas need to start and finish the way they started in the first half against the All Blacks.  They will dominate the Wallabies upfront, but I wonder if they are good enough to contain the Wallabies backs?

While I want to see the Wallabies win, I think Argentina will run out of steam in the final 20 minutes.

My pick – Wallabies by 3 points.

For update Rugby Championship Round 6 2013 team lists go to

Who are you picking to win The Rugby Championship Round 6?  Who will win the title and who will win the wooden spoon?