The Rugby Championship Round 5 is here with the top of the table All Blacks facing the bottom of the table Pumas. Argentina have never beaten New Zealand and despite some defections from the All Blacks team, they should still be too strong for the improving Pumas.
The other game holds more interest for most fans with the winner of the Springboks vs Wallabies match still having a shot at the title depending on other results.
For those playing www.testrugby.com you would have noticed that you now have plenty of trades. The only problem is fitting the calibre of player you want, under the salary cap. The Springboks don’t tend to be high points scorers, with the other teams potentially being better options because of their style of play. Even the bottom of the table Argentina have some big points scoring bargains.
The Rugby Championship Round 5 Team Lists Named
Springboks vs Wallabies
This match should be a classic with the Springboks having the home advantage.
The Springboks team for this match features some young players with an eye to the future, with plenty of experience on the bench.
It will be interesting to see how Oupa Mohoje goes in his starting debut, while Handre Pollard will look to bring more of a running game to the Springboks backline. Assuming the Springboks dominate the Wallabies in the forwards, then the young Springboks backs like Willie Le Roux, Cornal Hendricks and Jan Serfontein will look to take advantage.
This match will probably be relatively low scoring in damp conditions. The problem is that no team has scored four tries at Newlands in a match between South Africa and Australia. That day Australia won thanks to superior goal-kicking! This means that we should expect a relatively low scoring match.
It isn’t a good sign that the Wallabies front row is already understrength with a hooking crisis. Saia Faiang’a takes over the Number 2 jersey. Other talking points are the inclusion of Adam Ashley-Cooper and Joe Tomane on the wings.
My pick: Springboks
Players to watch: Springboks – Victor Matfield, Duane Vermeulen, Adriaan Strauss and some bargains like Cornal Hendricks, Jan Serfontein and Handre Pollard.
Wallabies – Michael Hooper, Ben McCalman, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley.
Argentina vs New Zealand
The Pumas have never beaten the All Blacks and this is probably their best chance in recent years given the absence of Ma’a Nonu, Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden and Dane Coles. Unfortunately for the Pumas, the All Blacks can bring in players like Keven Mealamu, Malakai Fekitoa, Beauden Barrett and Nathan Harris. Mealamu aside, these other players are the future for the All Blacks and need to get experience in this match.
Fekitoa’s chance comes in the unfamiliar Number 12 jersey, while Barrett has plenty of experience off the bench. Nathan Harris will debut off the bench at hooker.
Injuries, suspensions after missing the flight to South Africa and returning to New Zealand for their child’s birth will have disrupted the All Blacks camp, but they should still be too strong.
La Plata has been a happy hunting ground for the All Blacks the only two times these teams have played there.
The Pumas will be missing two of their usual starting loose forwards in Pablo Matero and Juan Manuel Leguizamon leaving them vulnerable. They have some good bargain priced fantasy players.
Players to watch: For the All Blacks – Beauden Barrett, Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Julian Savea and Malakai Fekitoa as a bargain.
For the Pumas: some of their players are excellent value for money. Agustin Creevy, Joaquín Tuculet, Manuel Montero, Marcelo Bosch, Nicholas Sanchez.
Who are you picking to win The Rugby Championship Round 4 matches?