Rugby Championship 2018: Round 3 Predictions

Israel Folau

Argentina’s win over South Africa caught me out in Round 2, and the Pumas continue to be an unpredictable side. They seemed to be a declining force, but look like a threat again in England’s Rugby World Cup group. An exact pick in the All Blacks match was enough for some green arrows everywhere though.

Here are my picks for Round 3 this weekend.

New Zealand v Argentina
The All Blacks have made several changes, but as per usual, it still looks like a World Cup-winning side. Richie Mo’unga gets a chance at 10, with Ardie Savea in at 7, and I fear for the Pumas – as I do for most sides playing in New Zealand.

New Zealand by 33

Australia v South Africa
Rassie Erasmus has also made a few changes to the Springbok team, notably with Elton Jantjies starting at fly-half, and Malcolm Marx on the bench. The Wallabies have been comfortably second best in their two matches with New Zealand, but they’ll fancy their chances in this one. Israel Folau returns at full-back, and Kurtley Beale moves to 10, where I’d expect him to orchestrate a fast game that the Boks won’t be able to cope with. The bookies have Australia by 5, but I think it might be a few more.

Australia by 13

Follow Hutch on Twitter: @Hutch_James

11 thoughts on “Rugby Championship 2018: Round 3 Predictions

  1. I agree with the NZ prediction but cannot call the other one. Easy way is to call Aus based on last 2 rounds however what i am finding more and more than ever (bar New Zealand) is that inside the top 8-10 ranked teams anyone can have anyone on their day. This in my humble opinion seems to be coming down to whichever team can execute ‘Plan B’ more effectively wins, irrelevant of who is the bookies favourite. I know that sounds obvious but what i am seeing across most top tier teams is a lack of being able to change things up on the field when what was the plan isnt working. Are we starting to see a trend of overcoached international teams? Lack of leaders amongst what could be argued the as the best athletes we are now seeing on a field? Any thoughts?

    1. Well, after watching the Oz v SA game, the former seemed to continuously use 1 out runners to breech the Springbok wall. Didn’t work, but, taking yr point about over coaching, they kept doing it. If the Saffas had been a bit more efficient themselves with some back line variety, they surely ought to have snatched it @ the death. Had numerous try line attacks, but were repelled. Also both sides engaged in too much aimless kicking. Why? Equally aimless coaching?

  2. New Zealand should win with alot in hand, id say by around 35 or so

    I also have to fancy Australia, I feel like SA have shot themselves in the foot by the team selection, playing a lock, who can play ^ at 7 against two of the best poachers in the game, theyl have a feild day, aussie back line is better and tbh not worried at all about beale at 10, scrum and line out will be SAs only way of getting close, aussies by 10

  3. I totally agree! I read an interview to Dan Carter some time ago and he said that one of the thinks that caught hes attention in France is that everyone one does pretty much exactly what the coach tells him to do. He even said that cause of that he was kinda afraid to try something new. Tactics and analysis are good, but nowadays is overwhelming the player, making him a robot instead of a player. What makes NZders so good is theyre fast thinking and amazing way to solve the problems they see on the pitch, which for me means they are tough as kids to view each situation and get the better of it, is not only a matter of skill set (which they obviously have!), but to think of the best way to solve that situation and be able to perform it correctly. In other words, theyre teaching intuition, creativity and improvisation.

    1. Spot on about ‘TCUP’. Now where did that expression come from? There’s a uniformity in NZ rugger, as you alluded to, from grassroots to national level, because, @ least in part, the NZRU CONTROL the game; i.e., all the players. Also, despite NZ constantly reported as being ‘unstructured’, they are in fact very structured. Set piece aside, the AB game (& that below this level) is about creating quick, clean, accurate ball with the view to creating 2 on 1, or 3 on 2 mismatches. Forwards, when appropriate, interchange with & play like backs & vice versa. However, the team practice set moves for set occasions. They may appear improvisational & indeed are coached to use their initiative & play ‘what’s in front of them’ , but it’s all within a structured framework to effect all the aforementioned.

  4. Hmmm. AB’s by 22 in the end. They went through the gears a few times to stay ahead of a surprisingly, for me, effective, creative & resilient Argentina. Although NZ had 8 or 9, depending on yr POV, 2nd choices, they were opened up like a can of sardines too often for my liking. Need to work on ‘D’ for next week, & also on some passing, decision making & positional issues. Solid scrum though & ‘new’ starters like Frizzel had a good game as did Perenara, who backed up well to score between the sticks, although both had the odd lapse. The former threw 1 pass to no one after making a break & the latter got turned inside out by the Argentine winger on the LHS, conceding a beauty (try) in the corner.

    Also unexpectedly for me, was the stat count. Almost all favoured… not the AB’s! Turnovers apart, I think, it was all Argentina, although not on the scoreboard @ closing time. NZ still had the nous, belief, tempo & effectiveness to pull clear each time the opposition closed the gap.

    Also however, after all the recent clamour, Mo’aga had a bit of a mixed bag, although he kicked pretty well for points, but he did things like missing touch or miss kicking from out of hand once or twice. Milner-Scudder scored, but wasn’t really that prominent. He also left his wing posi to double tackle his centre’s man, thereby exposing the NZ flank for the opposition to exploit. The 2 centres themselves, L-Brown & Goodhue, had prominent games with the latter setting up a try for his captain with a good pass.

    Reckon Hansen will have some homework to do before next Sat & I expect he may also consider picking some more of the ‘A’ time for this day’s fixture.


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