My gosh… did this weekend suck!! I don’t even want to think back to what transpired in this final round of The Rugby Championship (RC). Both of my predictions were wrong, and then Australia won the tournament… and like I have said before, I do not like the Aussies. But, I do give credit where credit is due, and they deservedly won. So, well done Australia. I did mention that if they were to pull an upset, this was their best chance. So at least I got that right. But, the real question is whether they will be able to maintain this current form they find themselves in and take full advantage of it during The Rugby World Cup (RWC)? I have my doubts, but newt week should provide some insights into that when they play New Zealand again. The combination of Micheal Hooper and David Pocock was a massive success, but I suspect Micheal Cheika (Australia’s Coach) will rotate them until they are required in a finals-match during the RWC. New Zealand were exposed by Australia, and I’m sure all the other teams are going to make it extremely difficult for them during the RWC. I just have a feeling that New Zealand will not lift the RWC Trophy, even though they are the best team in the world. Their players certainly played well this last weekend, but this is a good example of how guts and desire can overcome the efforts of better players.
Now this is the part that really sucks for me… South Africa and Argentina… my blood pressure is rising just thinking about it again! So I will keep this brief, for the sake of my fellow South African’s who just want to forget this, and for my own health. Simply put, this was the worst f*****g performance by the Springboks in at least the last 4 years! Its clear they thought this was going to be a walk-over after seeing the team selection by Argentina (11 changes, and full of young “rookies”). Yeah, you see what happens when you underestimate the youngsters! They don’t give a sh&t who you are! They want to play hard, kick some ass in order to impress the coaches and get selected for the RWC. Now the Springboks are forced to play their top team again when they travel to Argentina next week because they desperately need a win before the RWC. So, players who desperately need game time, and fringe players waiting for an opportunity to show what they can do are out of luck. Not only that, but we have slipped to no. 5 on the World Ranking… pathetic! The Rugby World Cup is going to be a massive challenge now, and I’m sure that other teams will not fear the Springboks as they used to, and play with a lot more confidence and belief that they can win. It all comes down to the pool stages for Heyneke Meyer and the Springboks to find their form and confidence before the finals rounds. They can be lucky to find themselves in a relatively “easy” pool.
Australia (27) vs New Zealand (19)
Micheal Hooper and David Pocock (Aus) – I did say they would be crucial if Australia are secure a victory, and they were! Two expert fetchers will provide the Wallabies with a massive advantage in future matches!
Adam Ashley-Cooper (Aus) – Mr Dependable. Probably the most consistent player for Australia. The veteran showed his class and monster work-rate this weekend!
Nehe Milner-Skudder (NZ) – My advice to keep an eye on him was correct. What a way to make a debut and score two tries! Those feet are able to do magic! His performance is going to make selection tough in the back-three for New Zealand.
Ben Smith (NZ) – The veteran just show his class with consistent good performance. Solid performance in all aspects of his game.
South Africa (25) vs Argentina (37)
Schalk Burger (SA) – My only mention out of the Springboks for his effort on the field. He was the only player that deserves at least some recognition after the dismal display of the entire team.
Marcelo Bosch and Tomas Cubelli (Arg) – They were monumental! The two key players who set their running game alight! Excellent scrumhalf play and quick ball by Cubelli enabled Bosch to create havoc in the midfield.
Agustín Creevy (Arg) – Along with his front-row, they decimated the Springbok scrum! Then, he is just about everywhere on the field getting stuck in!
Image credits: Supersport