The Rugby Championship: Pumas & All Blacks In La Plata, Wounded Wallabies vs Greener Springboks

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LA PLATA, ARGENTINA –  La Plata is a small city outside of Buenos Aires. It’s also the capital of the Buenos Aires Province – like Albanyis the capital of New York state. But enough with geopolitics…


After 4 rounds of The Rugby Championship the original Tri-Nations teams –  New Zealand, South Africa and Australia – are still alive but the rookie – Argentina – are mathematically eliminated from winning. But… If you look at the results, Los Pumas are much closer to being at the top than at the bottom.

With that, let’s take a look at the The Rugby Championship Leader Board after 4 Rounds:

All New Zealand have to do is win or draw one of their next two games. Then they are the champs. Australia and South Africa, meanwhile, need the All Blacks to drop both and for the potential contender to do the same. They would also need to earn maximum points in both games. Is this possible? Sure. It’s about as likely as Johnathan Wicklow Barberie coaching coaching the All Blacks. But anything can happen after the kickoff.

NZ at St. George’s College; Buenos Aires.

Here’s the skinny on the 1st-place All Blacks vs the last-place Pumas:
Head Coach: Steve Hansen
Captain: Richie McCaw
Projected Starting Line-up (with Test caps):
1. Tony Woodcock (89)
2. Andrew Hore (69)
3. Owen Franks (38)
4. Luke Romano (5)
5. Samuel Whitelock (32)
6. Liam Messam (14)
7. Richie McCaw – captain (110)
8. Kieran Read (42)
9. Aaron Smith (7)
10. Daniel Carter (89)
11. Julian Savea (4)
12. Ma’a Nonu (70)
13. Conrad Smith (60)
14. Cory Jane (35)
15. Israel Dagg (19)
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Charlie Faumuina, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Liam Messam, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22Tamati Ellison

Head Coach: Santiago Phelan
Captain: Juan Fernandez Lobbe
Starting Line-up:
15. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino
14. Gonzalo Camacho,
13. Marcelo Bosch,
12. Santiago Fernandez,
11. Horacio Agulla,
10. Juan Martin Hernandez,
9. Martin Landajo,
8. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (c),
7. Juan Manuel Leguizamon,
6. Julio Farias Cabello,
5. Patricio Albacete,
4. Manuel Carizza,
3. Juan Figallo,
2. Eusebio Guinazu,
1. Rodrigo Roncero
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Tomas Vallejos, 19 Tomas Leonardi, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Martin Rodriguez, 22 Juan Imhoff
Date: Saturday, 29 September
Venue: Estadio Ciudad de La Plata, La Plata
Kick-off: 20:10 (11:10 GMT)
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Pascal Gauzere (France)
Television match official: Francisco Pastrana (UAR)

ANALYSIS: This will be one of those squeaky-bum games. New Zealand, with a fit Dan Carter back and a pack desperate to redeem itself after Dunedin, will be up for the physical challenge upfront. The Argentinians have healed their heart from that gut-wrenching loss to the Wallabies two weeks ago. They are keeping the same unit together and will look to build on their 65 minutes of quality rugby and closeout the All Blacks at home. The atmosphere will be beyond electric; tickets were sold-out in the first three days. This will be the biggest home match in Argentinian Rugby history and probably even with the 2007 RWC Semi-final. Yet, the pick here is… All Blacks 3.


The second match on Saturday will be between the 3rd place host Springboks the 2nd place Wallabies:
Head Coach: Heyneke Meyer
Captain: Jean De Villiers
Starting Line-up:
15. Zane Kirchner (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 19 caps
14. Bryan Habana (DHL Western Province) 81 caps
13. Jean de Villiers (captain, DHL Western Province) 79 caps
12. Frans Steyn (The Sharks) 53 caps / Jaco Taute (MTN Golden Lions) uncapped
11. Francois Hougaard (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 22 caps
10. Johan Goosen (Toyota FS Cheetahs) 2 caps
9. Ruan Pienaar (Ulster, N-Ireland) 58 caps
8. Duane Vermeulen (DHL Western Province) 2 caps
7. Willem Alberts (The Sharks) 15 caps
6. Francois Louw (Bath, England) 12 caps
5. Andries Bekker (DHL Western Province) 27 caps
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Western Province) 6 caps
3. Jannie du Plessis (The Sharks) 37 caps
2. Adriaan Strauss (vice-captain, Toyota FS Cheetahs) 16 caps
1. Tendai Mtawarira (The Sharks) 39 caps
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Elton Jantjies, 21 Jaco Taute, 22 Pat Lambie

Beale & Mandela Challenge Trophy

Head Coach: Robbie Deans
Captain: Nathan Sharpe
Projected Starting Line-up (current club):
15. Berrick Barnes (NSW Waratahs)
14. Dominic Shipperley (Queensland Reds)
13. Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs)
12. Pat McCabe (Brumbies)
11. Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds)
10. Kurtley Beale (Melbourne Rebels)
9. Nick Phipps (Melbourne Rebels)
8. Radike Samo (Queensland Reds)
7. Michael Hooper (Brumbies)
6. Dave Dennis (NSW Waratahs)
5. Nathan Sharpe (Western Force, captain)
4. Kane Douglas (NSW Waratahs)
3. Ben Alexander (Brumbies)
2. Tatafu Polota Nau (NSW Waratahs)
1. Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Kane Douglas, 19 Scott Higginbotham, 20 Brett Sheehan, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Anthony Fainga’a
Date: Saturday, 29 September
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 17:00 (15:00 GMT)
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Greg Garner (England)
Television Match Official:Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

ANALYSIS: After finally giving up on his beloved Morne Steyn, the beleaguered Heyneke Meyer has summoned the messiah of Bok 10s, the just-turned-twenty Johan Goosen. The hype on this kid is he is the best Springbok fly-half since…  Yeah, that’s the point. There hasn’t been an attacking Bok #10 since the glaciers were formed. There also have been some changes to the bench with younger players like Elton Jantijes, Jaco Taute and Coenie Oosthuizen. It might be the dawn of a new Springbok era… or it might just be Meyer chancing it since he is home. Time will tell… Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Robbie “Dingo” Deans is still under fire because his game-plan apparently lacks the flair that Aussie players like. Combined with the not-so positive tweets of injured fly-half Quade Cooper, and you’ve got some real tension. When they were in Oz, I said Deans and the Wallabies needed that game more. This time the roles are reversed. Springboks by 5.

That is it for me for now, please feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp, @JunoirBlaber, @Declan Yeats and @Mathew Drew Turner, respectively.

And as always, stay low and keep pumping those l

About Junoir Blaber 868 Articles
Born in Osu, Accra, Ghana, West Africa, Junoir Blaber is a rare commodity; while most Ghanians eat, sleep and dream Soccer (football), Junoir is all about Rugby. A self-proclaimed Rugbyologist, he has been involved in Rugby as a ref, coach, administrator and player since Columbus discovered Ohio. His useful/trivial rugby knowledge qualify Blaber as RWU's Senior Correspondent & known in rugby circles as The Rugby Rain Man. He can also be found moonlighting for our American partners at