Rugby Championship 2018: Round 6 Predictions

Steve Hansen

Last weekend’s matches were slightly more predictable than Round 4, with 95% and 93% on Superbru correctly picking the wins for South Africa and New Zealand.

The All Blacks wrapped up The Rugby Championship, but face a stern test in Johannesburg this weekend, whilst Australia travel to Argentina looking to avoid the wooden spoon.

Here are my Rugby Championship predictions for the final round.

South Africa v New Zealand
How great for Rugby if this becomes are more evenly-matched rivalry? I really feel like the Springboks’ win in Wellington was a shot in the arm for Rugby, a demonstration a year out from the Rugby World Cup that the unbeatable All Blacks can be beaten, and it is worth turning up.

History tells us that you very rarely beat New Zealand twice in a row, with South Africa last managing to do so back in 2009. But in fact, history tells us that you very rarely beat New Zealand at all, so there’s probably not much use in looking back.

Instead, we can look forward to a great occasion at Loftus Versfeld, where the All Blacks will be desperate for revenge. The hosts will likely need another outstanding defensive display, dominating collisions with relentless line speed, along with plenty more of the luck that came their way. They’ll need to take every chance, and hope that the opposition is as generous with mistakes, and as profligate with their own scoring opportunities, for it is clear that you need a bit of luck to beat New Zealand.

The All Blacks hate to lose, and a defeat here is unthinkable for their fans, players and coaches alike. I suggest they will have learnt more from their shortcomings in Wellington than they would have done had they crossed for a try in the dying minutes, as usual. If the same scenario plays out this weekend, will we see them looking for a dropped goal? Another off day seems unlikely, but the travel factor and altitude is a factor, and I think they have more to lose than South Africa – and every team has shown that mistakes can arise when pressure is applied.

Hopefully it will be another tight game, and I’m picking the hosts mostly with my heart because it’s boring when New Zealand always win, and it’s boring to keep predicting their dominance.

South Africa by 2

Argentina v Australia
This game has a similar context, with the Wallabies looking to avenge defeat in the reverse fixture, and the hosts seeking to back up that win to prove that it wasn’t a fluke. There is also the wooden spoon to consider, with the Pumas keen to avoid the dubious honour for only the second time since they joined the competition. Australia has never finished bottom of the log since expansion in 2012.

I have found Argentina’s games very difficult to predict, but I think they’ll have more motivation to win this one than the out-of-sorts Australians that have lost 8 of their last 10 Test matches.

Argentina by 6

6 thoughts on “Rugby Championship 2018: Round 6 Predictions

  1. Well a SA win might be great for SA rugby, but how would it be great for the rest of rugby, unless others too actually beat NZ? If teams believe that the ‘unbeatable’ AB’s are just that, then they will likely lose. OTOH, if they believe that the AB’s ‘CAN be beaten’, then they have a better chance of doing so, but in reality they will also likely lose.

    The ‘travel…and altitude…factors’, only become factors if teams believe that these are so. As mentioned previously, I prefer John Pullen’s view on such matters; he ‘didn’t notice them’ & good on him for that. Besides, do ALL of the SA team live @ altitude?

    It may be ‘another tight game’, but ‘picking the hosts’ to win from the ‘heart’ is hardly objective. It may be ‘boring when New Zealand always win, and to keep predicting their dominance’, but may there be a whiff of resentment contained within these remarks?

    Whatever, the real answer of course is to play better footy against NZ. Perhaps as other posts here, which suggest that Premiership teams ARE playing better footy? They ARE putting emphasis on scoring tries rather than perpetrating the most used lie in history that ‘defences win games’.

    Anyway, NZ will be keen to put the last loss to bed by doing a number on SA. Hansen doesn’t exude any ‘desperation’, to me. Not when he is ‘looking forward’ to this match. He’s picked the strongest available team in his mind, by bringing in Read & Franks up front. He also prefers Goodhew to Crotty, which did surprise me & Arron Smith over Perenara. Unlucky for the latter IMO.

    I don’t anticipate a flurry of risky passes or a plethora of misses @ goal this time. I also believe that SA will have more territory & possession than last time around. However they may need these more favourable stats as I also do don’t see NZ donating them 22 points this time either.

    AB’s by 12.

  2. I am beginning to think that there is something wrong with Eddie Jones mind.
    First he chooses a base camp at sea level for England Rugby team in South Africa when they have to play at a high altitude in Johannesburg and then takes the players back down to sea level again prior to the 2ndtest in Bloemfontein which is almost at the same altitude as JHB
    No wonder England scored points in the first 15 minutes of both matches and then fizzled out.
    Why has he continuously ignored Alex Goode despite him between the most outstanding full back in the premiership.
    I am seriously worried about Jones being in charge for the World Cup ?

  3. Can’t quite see Oz overturning Argentina away. Likely to be a close game, but Oz must tighten their defence & cut down their error rate These 2 issues are killing them! SA kicked themselves to a comfortable win last week on the back of Oz indiscretions. IMO opinion, refs often take the easy option of penalising the away yeam too readily, so Oz simply MUST stop the penalty rot to have any chance on Sat. We’ll see, but I just can’t look beyond Argentina doing the double on Sat. Shame, because Oz have a decent team on paper, but they can’t put it to bed when it really matters…so far, anyway. Therefore, it’s an Argentinian win for me. Argentina by 7?

  4. Well the author got it right with a 2 pt win prediction…almost. I had the AB’s by 12. Must have been a typo, as it was actually by 2 in the end. 1punter here reckoned that SA deserved their win in NZ, with only 25% possession, were gifted 2 intercepts & Barrett missed 4 . So conversely, did NZ deserve to win win similar possession stats (until into the last 1/4 anyway), away from home? What say you Blub? Well, I didn’t think so, @ least for most of the game. SA beat NZ @ the breakdown & so denied them ball & turned them over plenty. The AB defence fell over again @ times, missing a couple of try scoring tackles. Additionally their line out too fell away. The scrums seemed fairly even, but even here NZ ball was sometimes under pressure & was untidy. And Barrett kicked wotonly, or too long, too often for me. Like Parenara did right near the end, just after NZ had hauled themselves back into it but were still 5 down! Fortunatel for them, they got good line out possession following a Mounga boomer & Savea finally scored. RM converted to unbelievably snatch it. So if SA deserved it last up, then maybe the same applies to NZ? Although, how they won this 1 is still baffling. It’s as SA suffered from altitude sickness, not the ABs as they surely chucked this 1 away. Or did they? They were @ home, had most of the play, but perhaps forgot about the fat lady. And no, I’m ‘talking’ about the Saffa dignitary, although if they’d brought her on up front late on, THEY might have done the snatching! As an aside, I was concerned that Hansen didn’t appear to recognise the very real issue @ the breakdown for NZ! For me nothing changed after 1/2time either. He needed his loose forwards to flood this area in order to counter SA possession, yet he did nothing! Bit worrying as this seemed a fundamental issue that went unheeded?! Got away with it this time, but what about the next time? Surely others , like Joe Schmidt for example, will have taken note of this area of AB deficiency?


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