Cape Town, South Africa – We are all fired up for the inaugural season of the 4 Nations, officially known as The Rugby Championship. Anyway, we are dividing our coverage and will try to give you a rundown of both matches.
Head Coach: Steve Hansen
Captain: Richie McCaw
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Ma’a Nonu, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (capt), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Ben Smith
Date: Saturday, August 18
Kick-off: 20:05 (11:05 BST, 10:05 GMT)
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Alain Rolland (IRFU)
Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (WRU), Lourens Van Der Merwe (SARU)
TMO: Matt Goddard (ARU)
Head Coach: Robbie Deans
Captain: David Pocock
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Anthony Fainga’a, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 David Pocock (captain), 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
16 Stephen Moore, 17 James Slipper, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Michael Hooper, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Drew Mitchell.
Analysis: The Bledisoe Cup matches are always great. There are so many subplots whenever the Kiwis face the Wallabies. You can hear the name-calling from all corners of respective country’s social classes… This is more than a match. That said, both teams do not have 100% fit sides but the Aussies do have the home field advantage. So, because of the changes to the roster and the higher intensity of the summer tour matches, I pick the Wallabies to win 25-21. Crazy, I know!!
Head Coach: Heynecke Meyer
Captain: Jean De Villiers
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 JJ Engelbrecht.
Head Coach: Santiago Phelan
Captain: Juan Fernandez Lobbe
15 Lucas González Amorosino, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernández, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Nicolás Vergallo, 8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 7 Álvaro Galindo, 6 Julio Farías Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guiñazú, 1 Rodrigo Roncero
16 Bruno Postiglioni, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Tomás Leonardi, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Martín Landajo, 22 Martín Rodríguez.
Date: Saturday, August 18
Venue: Newlands, Cape town
Kick-off: 17:05 (15:05 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garces (France), John Lacey (Ireland)
TMO: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)
Analysis: Considering the travel distance and how this is the first major tourney appearance for the Argies, I think it will be tight at first but the Bokke will pull away in the end. I expect the Pumas to give the Springboks a fierce contest up front. However, the South African backline possess more strike weapons than the Argie one. Even with Sir Graham Henry as an adviser, the Argies have struggled to use the width of the pitch in their attack. That is down to traditional habits or style of play and have the talent to do so. I don’t see them overcoming it in their first RC match. Final score 32-19 for the Bokke.