The Rugby Championship swings back into action again this weekend with Australia v Argentina and New Zealand v South Africa. Here are my SuperBru picks for Round 4.
New Zealand v South Africa
For the Springboks, the main talking point is pressure. Will the weight on Heyneke Meyer’s shoulders spread to his players and can they stand-up and deliver a convincing performance for the full 80 mins? Or like in previous weeks, will the atmosphere and the juggernaut that is New Zealand rugby just steamroller their opposition.
For New Zealand, last weekend was small wake-up call – things were not going exactly to plan against Los Pumas and the cracks that many, including myself, thought were non-existent began to show. This brought up the key question for this week: will the All Blacks miss Dan Carter and Sonny Bill Williams too much against a higher-tempo and more experienced Southern Hemisphere side like South Africa?
I reckon McCaw will slow the ball down too much for South Africa to be productive, with Weepu hitting form at the right time and with such a strong dynamic bench, I reckon the All Blacks will win in convincing style.
My SuperBru prediction is New Zealand by 14.
Australia Vs Argentina
With both teams having a less than successful Rugby Championship so far, the pressure is on for both to perform.
For Los Pumas, this was to be expected and whilst their performances have been courageous to say the least, they still have not got that elusive victory. Last weekend showed that for 60 minutes, Argentina can be as competitive as any side in the world. But it also showed that they lack squad depth, their bench was not up to standard and the All Blacks exploited that to steal victory away.
For Australia things are not going to plan. Too many injuries to fundamental figures have not helped, as they also lack the player pool to choose from. At half-time last weekend against South Africa, Deans must have had some stern words to say and in the second half they turned it around impressively after trailing 13-6 at the break to win 26-19). This huge u-turn in performance was summed up perfectly by Adam Ashley-Cooper’s stunning two man tackle and the confidence of stealing victory from the jaws of defeat will definitely help looking forward.
Argentina can call upon Juan Fernandez-Lobbe who seems able to produce super-human performances weekly but I suspect that like in previous games, it will all be in vain. Despite the Wallabies having Will Genia unavailable through injury, they can still afford to have Kurtley Beale as an impact sub and that squad depth may not be All Black level, but it’s certainly better than Argentina’s.
My SuperBru pick is Australia by 8.