Here are my predictions for the final round of Rugby Championship matches this weekend.
South Africa v New Zealand
Having declared before the last meeting between these two powerhouses that the ‘All Blacks’ aura is fading’, I was put right by the 57-0 thrashing of the Springboks. That result has been quite deflating for the rest of the world, and I’ve never known such little excitement about a South Africa v New Zealand fixture, which is usually a highlight of the Rugby calendar. Even Allister Coetzee said this week that he didn’t expect the Springboks to win, and it feels like most Springbok fans would like to pretend it’s not happening.
Having rested a few players for the trip to Argentina, Steve Hansen has recalled his big guns and will be looking to put the Springboks to the sword once again. I suspect the South African players will have more pride and determination to win than the coach, and surely they won’t concede 57 points again – and surely they’ll score more than 0?
Since the Rugby World Cup semi-final, where New Zealand won by 2 points, the winning margin for the All Blacks has gone from 28 to 42 to 57. That upward trend should end, but it’s likely to be more than 20 points.
My prediction: New Zealand by 23
Argentina v Australia
For all of Argentina’s development and a couple of good results against the Springboks, they’ve lost the last 6 matches against Australia by an average of 18 points, and they’ll probably lose this one too.
I haven’t been able to watch either team in the tournament so far, and I won’t be watching this one either in the middle of the night UK time!
My prediction: Australia by 13
How do you think the games will go?