We’ve reached the penultimate week of matches in the inaugural Rugby Championship, and here are my SuperBru predictions for Round 5.
South Africa v Australia
I was fairly confident in my previous pick that the Springboks would beat Australia in Perth, and I was nearly right – they should have won the game in fact, and I was robbed.
Both sides have been fairly awful so far, but there are a few things leaning me back towards the Boks again. Heyneke Meyer’s team selection is a key one, and the misfiring Morne Steyn has been dropped in favour of Johan Goosen at fly-half – much to the delight of the South African supporters.
In the Wallaby camp, there is disquiet over Quade Cooper’s public remarks about the setup, and he has been dropped for Kurtley Beale at flyhalf as Robbie Deans continues to change things around. And their injury crisis has deepened with the news that hooker Stephen Moore will not be available.
All that plus home advantage makes me pick a win for the Boks. South Africa by 6
Argentina v New Zealand
The Pumas have been superb so far, and a welcome addition to the tournament, allaying concerns that they’d be the whipping boys.
That said, they have yet to win a game, despite coming close and probably deserving to win at least two of their fixtures. The draw with South Africa at home was particularly impressive and suggests a win is not far away.
Could it be this weekend against the All Blacks? Quite possibly if they stifle the game and limit possession as much as they did in the away fixture, but you suspect that the All Blacks will be better prepared and clearer about the challenge they will face.
Moreover, I would tip the All Blacks to beat anyone in world rugby at the moment, home or away. New Zealand by 8.