The Rugby Championship: All Blacks vs Emboldened Boks, Pressured Pumas Vs Ravaged Wallabies

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The Rugby Championship: Boks Emboldened?

SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA – Welcome to Soccer City. Soweto stands for South Western Townships. It is huge part of Johannesburg, yet retains its own individuality much like Brooklyn is to NYC. FNB Soccer City Stadium is famous for being the largest stadium in South Africa and hosted the final of the Soccer World Cup. Its 95,000 seats will be completely full for the Springboks vs NZ match this Saturday. Meanwhile in Argentina, the Pumas will welcome Wallabies for the final match of this great tournament.


After 5 rounds of The Rugby Championship, New Zealand are the winners, South Africa and Australia are in a fight for 2nd. Argentina – the newcomer to this inaugural  TRC – are fighting to finish the tournament with a win. With that, let’s take a look at the The Rugby Championship Leader Board after 5 Rounds:

New Zealand are the champions of the Tourney and South Africa look like they have locked up second place. This is the essential definition of a dead rubber match. However, the Kiwi fans say they are 3 wins away from the longest unbeaten streak in Tier 1 (Six Nations and TRC teams) rugby and South Africa have the best chance to derail it. To most Saffas, I have talked to they believe this dead rubber is for fairweather fans, no match against the old enemy, New Zealand is dead rubber. You combine their performance in Dunedin and a big Soweto win and they have won the series.

TRC Champions, the All Blacks

Here is the matchday breakdown of the 1st-place All Blacks vs the second-place South Africa:
Head Coach: Steve Hansen
Captain: Richie McCaw
Starting Line-up (with Test caps):
1. Tony Woodcock (90)
2. Andrew Hore (70)
3. Owen Franks (39)
4. Brodie Retallick (6)
5. Samuel Whitelock (33)
6. Liam Messam (15)
7. Richie McCaw – captain (111)
8. Kieran Read (43)
9. Aaron Smith (8)
10. Daniel Carter (90)
11. Hosea Gear (11)
12. Ma’a Nonu (71)
13. Conrad Smith (61)
14. Cory Jane (36)
15. Israel Dagg (20)
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Charlie Faumuina, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22Tamati Ellison

Habana back to his best.

Head Coach: Heyneke Meyer
Captain: Jean De Villiers
Starting Line-up:
15. Zane Kirchner (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 20 caps
14. Bryan Habana (DHL Western Province) 82 caps
13. Jaco Taute (MTN Golden Lions) 1 cap
12 Jean de Villiers (captain, DHL Western Province) 80 caps
11. Francois Hougaard (Vodacom Blue Bulls) 23 caps
10. Johan Goosen (Toyota FS Cheetahs) 3 caps
9. Ruan Pienaar (Ulster, N-Ireland) 59 caps
8. Duane Vermeulen (DHL Western Province) 3 caps
7. Willem Alberts (The Sharks) 16 caps
6. Francois Louw (Bath, England) 13 caps
5. Andries Bekker (DHL Western Province) 28 caps
4. Eben Etzebeth (DHL Western Province) 7 caps
3. Jannie du Plessis (The Sharks) 38 caps
2. Adriaan Strauss (vice-captain, Toyota FS Cheetahs) 17 caps
1. Tendai Mtawarira (The Sharks) 40 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

Date: Saturday , October 6
Venue: Soccer City, Soweto
Kick-off: 17.00 (15.00 GMT)
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Greg Garner (England)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

ANALYSIS: The Kiwis currently hold all the trophies a national team can own: Rugby World Cup, The Rugby Championhip, Bledisloe Cup and the Freedom Cup (the trophy for NZ-SA series winners). The Boks are looking better and more dangerous with young fly-half Johan Goosen. Goosen is helped by a resurgent Bryan Habana, who is looking like the guy that was once considered the best and most complete wing in the world. I am going The Blackness by 7 because they looked too clinical against the Argies and are finally clicking offensively… more so than the Bokke!

A Distressed Deans

The other match, between the bottom feeding Argentina and vulnerable Australia, makes me hungry for some porridge. Does anyone have a Wooden Spoon I can stir it with? Seriously though, it’s a tough match to predict. The Wallabies are missing the vast majority of their first-choice players due to injury and are limping across the finish line. Head coach Robbie Deans is fighting for his job at the same time. The Pumas, meanwhile, were torn to shreds in their biggest match since the 2007 RWC  Semi-Final by New Zealand last week. Which team will get up of the deck first? Which will get the Wooden Spoon?
Head Coach: Robbie Deans
Captain: Nathan Sharpe
Starting Line-up (current club):
15. Mike Harris (Queensland Reds)
14. Nick Cummins (Western Force)
13. Ben Tapuai (Queensland Reds)
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. Sitaleki Timani (NSW Waratahs)
5. Nathan Sharpe (Western Force, captain)
4. Kane Douglas (NSW Waratahs)
3. Ben Alexander (Brumbies)
2. Tatafu Polota Nau (NSW Waratahs)
1. James Slipper (Queensland Reds)
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Dave Dennis, 19 Scott Higginbotham, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22Dominic Shipperley.

An old lion w/ young pumas sharing his secrets on how to beat an old foe.

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 Juan Pablo Orlandi , 18 Leonardo Senatore, 19 Tomas Leonardi, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Nicolas Sanchez, 22 Juan Imhoff

Date: Saturday, 6 October
Venue: Gigante de Arroyito a.k.a. Dr. Lisandro de la Torre, Rosario
Kick-off: 20:10 (11:10 GMT)
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Pascal Gauzere (France)
Television match official: Francisco Pastrana (UAR)

ANALYSIS: The Wallabies injury list is so long it is ridiculous. However, it gave Kurtley Beale a chance to play at 10 where he shined last week. Hopefully this means we will no longer see his evil twin, Portley, who played in the first two matches. I am backing the Pumas; the loss of  Martin Hernandez will give some other back a chance to shine. They scored a brilliant wide try against the All Blacks, so there is a chance they will take the Wallabies on out wide. If the forwards front up, they can win. Pumas by 3.

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!

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