WELLINGTON, NZ – Welcome to Wellywood! After a week off, The Rugby Championship is back, which means we’re back with our analysis. First, let’s look at the standings.
The Rugby Championship Leader Board after 2 Rounds:
The first match on Saturday will be between the 1st place All Blacks and the 3rd place Los Pumas.
Head Coach: Steve Hansen
Captain: Richie McCaw
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Victor Vito, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
16 Andrew Hore, 17 Charlie Faumuina, 18 Sam Whitelock, 19 Liam Messam, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Beauden Barrett, 22 Ben Smith.
Head Coach: Santiago Phelan
Captain: Juan Fernandez Lobbe
15 Martin Rodriguez, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 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.
16-Agustín Creevy, 17-Marcos Ayerza, 18-Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19-Leonardo Senatore, 20-Tomás Leonardi, 21-Martín Landajo, 22-Lucas González Amorosino.
Date: Saturday, September 8
Kick-off: 17:35 (20:35 GMT)
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: George Clancy (IRFU) James Leckie (ARU)
Television match official: Vincet Munro (NZRU)
Analysis: Argentina will not be surprising the All Blacks. The journey to Middle Earth will drain some of the Argies’ energy and while they will be able to take the NZ on up front, the All Blacks at home are something short of invincible. They won’t lose at home to an Argentine team that is limited in the backline, despite the return of Juan Martin Hernandez, especially since Sanchez played well last game. The AB’s lost Dan Carter yesterday to a calf injury so the score may be tighter – but Aaron Cruden was the best FH of the Super 15, so it may not be. Plus, Conrad Smith is back. Simply put, he’s the world’s best 13. The depth of the home team will be reflected in the final score; the 6 NZ line-up changes to the Pumas 2 won’t matter.
The second match on Saturday will be between the 2nd place Springboks and the last place Wallabies.
Head Coach: Heyneke Meyer
Captain: Jean De Villiers
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Francois Hougaard 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira.
16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Francois Louw, 20 Johan Goosen, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 Lwazi Mvovo.
Head Coach: Robbie Deans
Captain: Will Genia
15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Dominic Shipperley, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia (c), 8 Radike Samo, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 James Slipper, 18 Scott Higginbotham, 19 Liam Gill, 20 Nick Phipps, 21 Mike Harris, 22 Anthony Fainga’a.
Date: Saturday, September 8
Venue: Patersons Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 18.35 (10.35 GMT)
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (RFU) Glen Jackson (NZRU)
TMO:Matthew Goddard (ARU)
Analysis: This is a test of two coaches under fire. Robbie Deans is under fire because the Wallabies seem to have become stagnant – or even regressed – 5 years into his stewardship. Meanwhile, Heyneke Meyer is taking heat for provincial favoritism and an unimpressive attack in his debut campaign. Since Deans and the Wallabies need this game more, they will find a way to sneak a narrow (1 or 2 points) victory over the Springboks. Both coaches have seen and heard the yells of discontent and both are making 5 lineup changes. It should prove to be a great match.
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 legs.