Rugby Championship 2018: Round 4 Predictions

All Blacks

The Pumas were slightly better than expected in Round 3, but still lost to the All Blacks by 22 points.

This time it’s the Springboks’ turn to have a crack at New Zealand, which used to be the battle of the two best sides in the world, but it’s now 1st versus 7th.

New Zealand v South Africa
The All Blacks have reinstated Beauden Barrett for this one, with Ryan Crotty also back in the fold at centre. Handre Pollard returns in the No 10 jersey for South Africa, taking the reins back from Elton Jantjies, and Malcolm Marx starts at hooker. Both sides have two of their best players returning, but there aren’t many Boks that you’d pick over their kiwi counterparts.

A fairly dismal defeat in Australia last week won’t help confidence in the South African camp, and I suspect the All Blacks will be looking for a more clinical all-round performance than last week, which could be bad news for the visitors.

New Zealand by 26

Australia v Argentina
Whilst their performance against South Africa was far from perfect, the result was important for Wallaby confidence after back-to-back defeats by New Zealand. Australia have beaten Argentina home and away in their last 6 matches, and should be looking for another home win here.

Australia by 9

9 thoughts on “Rugby Championship 2018: Round 4 Predictions

  1. New Zealand (15-1): Jordie Barrett, Ben Smith, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ryan Crotty, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read (c), Sam Cane, Liam Squire, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Karl Tu’inukuafe. Reserves: Liam Coltman, Tim Perry, Ofa Tuungafasi, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Jack Goodhue, Damian McKenzie, so 10 starting changes according to & 5 on the bench. 3 SA changes.
    Strong NZ side, @ home, should be too strong for SA, but then I thought they’d really shut Argentina out, so I’ll see what happens. They’ll likely have worked on their defence, therefore it ought to curtail SA here. However, I just don’t see SA being stronger in any area of the game, so 26 is, again, hard to argue with, but I reckon it could be by 35 by the end.

  2. Would you say that’s a first choice AB team Don?
    Looks like one hell of a side. I predict a blow out. NZ by 35+

    Going to go with Arg by 7 vs the Aussies. They showed a real spark against the kiwis – something that mostly seems to be missing from the Aussies

    1. Close. They’d probably normally put Naholo on the wing & return B Smith to fullback. I like L-Brown, but he’s likely in due to SBW’s be injured as often as Tui these days. Also Lamape’s out, so he might have edged L-B too. In the forwards, Retellick would replace S Barrett 8 Moody be in for the incumbent prop’s name which I can’t spell. Otherwise & as you state, it’s still. Pretty strong team. I might have been pushing it with 35. However, NZ will want to improve on their last outing v Argentina, especially on defence. They will also wish to make a statement to SA a year out from the WC, so by the end, it could be 35 by the end. Had to revise my option about Argentina after last Sat. It was just 1 game, but they showed what they can do with most of the possession. Therefore it’ll be interesting to see if they can build on that performance. However, I think Australia @ home & really needing a win, might sneak it by not too many. We’ll know soon though. Will you can watching these games? Regards.

      1. Missed that Retallick wasn’t in there! Such a key player and one who seems to be getting better and better with age.

        Interested with your views on the Kiwi mid-field. What do you think the best combo is?

        Will try to watch but unlikely. Will try to find it on some dodgy streaming service though!

        1. Yes Retallick is a loss, but this offers more exp to Barrett.
          Probably Crotty & either L-B (he’d be my choice, but the selectors haven’t seen it that way prev), or Lamape. L-B offers more guile & options. He played well last Sat when given his chance. Lamape brings presence (physical & psychological) to the game & seems to relish anyone challenging him. SBW, although out of the picture, offers a more physical threat by drawing defenders to stop him & or or his offload, which can be difficult to stop @ times. However, he’s not the sharpest tool in the box for me. OTOH, Hansen has stuck with when he was fit, so he must rate SB’s abilities highly.
          Have given you a thumbs up for yr erudite view of the scoreline differential BTW. Fingers xxed.

  3. Well, before the.. er, what punter deluge here?

    Well (again), NZ got their 35 (ok, 34 actually), trouble was, so did SA, or rather 36! With more than 60/40 % of territory & possession, the AB’s really ought to have put this 1 away. However, by conceding 2 intercept 7 pointers, they shot themselves in the foot somewhat.. a bit like B Barrett with his goal kicking. Missed too many relative sitters, any 1 of which would have turned the game for a draw @ least. SA defended well, took their chances & created a few as well. They showed that the AB’s need some more work on ‘D’. NZ had a number of chances to win it near, or even @ the end, however they looked a bit indecisive in either sticking to forward line drives or running it, or even opting for the drop. Mckenzie eventually had a knock on awarded against him to terminate the match. Conclusions? There’ll be those whom will state that this result was a turning point, or the gap has been closed on NZ or that they’re no longer ‘supermen’ etc, but to put it into context, this was 1 game. NZ still scored 6 tries to 5. SA have just been beaten by Australia & Argentina, so too much shouldn’t necessarily be read into this result. NZ have to lose @ some time. It’s happened before, prior to the previous 2 WC’s by Oz I think? And it’ll happen again sometime. Anyway, it’s not about wether NZ have fallen off the horse, but whether they get back on it again. The AB’s will be hurt by this loss. They will be galvanised to right what they see as a wrong. So, watch out for a black lash next time?


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