Weekend teams and predictions

Pollard stays, Coenie goes, and Jean returns in a tremendously exciting Bok side. Beale at 10 for the Aussies, while it is Smith central for the Kiwis. The weekend’s teams, times, refs, odds and predictions.

Tank Lanning

Rugby Champs time!

The All Blacks are yet to lose a game, Argentina are yet to win one, while the Boks and Aussies have played supporting roles with 6 and 5 wins respectively. In the Tri-Nations the All Blacks won 50 out of 72 games, the Aussies 29 and the Boks 28.

No member of the current Aussie squad has touched the Bledisloe Cup – which they surrendered to the All Blacks way back in 2003! The All Blacks are going for a world record 18th consecutive Test win while the Aussies are aiming for their 9th consecutive Test win, their best being 10.

Rugby Champs? Pah … It’s the Men in Black show! More of the same this year? Highly likely, but perhaps in a slightly less dominant fashion?

Following the success of the Waratahs in the provincial arena, and given that the Aussies have found some sort of a scrum – a traditional weakness of theirs, together with an extraordinary fetcher in Michael Hooper, a solid half back combination (if Ewen McKenzie was not on Tik) and phenomenal striker in Israel Folau, they now have the game to at least challenge the All Blacks at home.

I am not sure McKenzie has it right this weekend though. He has gone with Kurtley Beale at flyhalf with Bernard Foley on the bench. Why mess with what has worked so well for the Tahs? Benn Robinson should be starting at loosehead, yet is not in the squad, Paddy Ryan should be on the bench way ahead of journeyman Ben Alexander, while I would start Will Skelton in a World XV at the moment.

Write these All Blacks off at your peril. Some did after they battled to a narrow win against England in the first of their 3 June Tests, and were made to look rather silly. They are perhaps a little short at lock, but in Richie McCaw, Kieren Read, Aaron Smith, Bauden Barrett (even though the selectors prefer Aaron Cruden), Malakai Fekitoa (even though the selectors prefer Ma’a Nonu), Conrad Smith, Cory Jane and Ben Smith, they remain proper world beaters, and the team to beat. Crockett, in for the injured Woodcock, ate Kepu in the Super Rugby final. All Blacks to deservedly take that record I think.

Saturday 16 August 2014

12h05 – Australia v New Zealand, ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Australia

Referee: Jaco Peyper

AR’s: Romain Poite, Stuart Berry

TMO: Shaun Veldsman

Tank’s prediction: NEW ZEALAND to beat Australia by 9

Superbru community: NEW ZEALAND to beat Australia by 5

Oddschecker: NEW ZEALAND (3/5) to beat Australia (7/4)

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Pat McCabe, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nic White, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 James Slipper

Bench (one to be omitted): 16 James Hanson, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Ben McCalman, 21 Scott Higginbotham, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Bernard Foley, 24 Tevita Kuridrani

New Zealand: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Wyatt Crockett

Bench: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Joe Moody, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Sam Cane, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Ryan Crotty


And at Loftus … The Boks will again play a blunt force trauma game – one that still works at international level with the 15 best players in the land, but quite obviously less so at provincial rugby where resources are thinner and conditioning has seen the opposition match the South Africans in size, power and strength.

The future of the game is ball in hand, offloading in the tackle while using the width of the field, but this requires skill and extraordinary conditioning. Two things currently missing from the Bok game. But with the likes of Bismarck du Pessis, Bakkies Botha, Eben Etzebeth, Willem Alberts and Duane Vermeulen in the mix, who needs skill? Up front dominance, pace and finishing from Bryan Habana and Cornal Hendricks, and world class skills from Willie le Roux, who should get plenty ball with Pollard at 10, will keep these Boks in the hunt for silverware.

Argentina will be tricky to beat at home, but like the Italians in the 6 Nations, they just do not have the depth or player resources to truly compete at the highest level yet. It could get messy for them in game 1 of their campaign.

Saturday 16 August 2014

17h00 – South Africa v Argentina, Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria, South Africa

Referee: John Lacey

AR’s: Steve Walsh, Marius Mitrea

TMO: Simon McDowell

Tank’s prediction: SOUTH AFRICA to beat Argentina by 32

Superbru community: SOUTH AFRICA to beat Argentina by 17

Oddschecker: SOUTH AFRICA (1/33) to beat Argentina (20/1)

Springboks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Damian de Allende, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Bench: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Marcell Coetzee, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Jan Serfontein

Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Juan Martin Hernandez, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 7 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Paul Matera, 5 Thomas Lavanini, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 Ramiro Herrera 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Marcos Ayerza

Bench: 16 Matias Cortese, 17 Paz Lucas Noguera, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Thomas Cubelli, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino

One Comment

  1. “The future of the game is ball in hand, offloading in the tackle while using the width of the field” – well said, Tank, but isn’t this the style of play of the All Blacks and NZ sides? England surprised one and all by adopting this style when they played in NZ and except for the 3rd test, came close to extending the AB’s at their own game but I doubt the Wallabies are going to succeed in Sydney, even if there is a lot of hype about the Warratahs success at Super rugby level in Sydney 2 weeks ago.

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