In Round 1, my winning margin predictions were the wrong way around for the two matches – I predicted a closer match between the Wallabies and the All Blacks, and then went for a bigger margin for the Springboks.
This weekend sees the reverse fixtures and here are my Rugby Championship predictions.
New Zealand v Australia
The Wallabies have no chance of winning this one. They looked fairly average last week, and the All Blacks only needed a mediocre performance themselves to win by 25 points. Here at Eden Park, where they haven’t lost since about 1871, they’ll be more cohesive and determined to put on a show for their home fans. The absence of Ryan Crotty is usually felt, but Ngani Laumape is a pretty able replacement.
Whether Australia find a response to this week’s widespread criticism is the question, but even if they do improve, the All Blacks will still win.
New Zealand by 28
Argentina v South Africa
This is the first tricky pick of the tournament, with a chance of an upset. The Springboks are favourites and most people will pick them on Superbru, but instinct says that the Pumas are difficult to beat at home. But when I checked the Rugby Championship historic results on ESPN Scrum, I discovered that they’ve actually only won two home matches since their inclusion in 2011 (beating Australia in 2014 and South Africa in 2016).
Add to that their abysmal home defeats to Wales and Scotland in June, and I’m expecting a Springbok victory. South Africa should find an extra couple of gears having spent more time together and with last week’s victory helping to build confidence, and whilst I haven’t seen the teamsheets yet, I think they’ll make it two from two in Mendoza.
South Africa by 13
Follow Hutch on Twitter: @Hutch_James