Weekend teams and predictions

All Blacks lose Crocket and Retallick and might have a foot on the plane, Boks bring in Bismarck, but sweat on Vermeulen. A look at the weekend’s teams, times, refs, odds, weather and Tank’s predictions.

Tank Lanning

With 33 wins and a single loss in 36 games in all competitions since claiming the World Cup title in 2011, the All Blacks are a match away from going three straight seasons unbeaten in the Rugby Champs! Yet the Boks are “Quietly confident”?

They are at home, at a Highveld venue that has been good to them, will have over 65 000 fans cheering for them, and playing against a side that has already done the business this year and might have an eye on that plane home tomorrow. But as has been pointed out to me repeatedly on Twitter this week, there is no such thing as a dead rubber. This All Black side has not put together a record like the one they have by thinking about the plane journey home!

Meyer reckons the game will be decide by the loose forward battle. Hansen reckons the loose forwards can’t play without the tight forwards laying a platform first. The All Blacks have lost their 2 best loosehead props, while the Boks have lost 2 of their starting loosies, and may well lose the third before the game even kicks off. Without Vermeulen, I reckon the Boks are in a world of hurt.

With Vermeulen, I think there will be parity up front, both in the primary phases, and at the breakdown, and it will come down to the effectiveness of the kicking game, together with how the game breakers deal with any ball in open space. To date, the All Blacks have been far superior in those two aspects.

But if the Boks can turn the All Blacks effectively, and chase them with that industrial defence, that is where they could come into their own. I genuinely believe the Boks could win this game, and kudos to them for getting into that space. I am just not sure they will do it on Saturday.

In Mendoza, if the Pumas keep their heads, use their Bajada to destroy the Wallaby pack (especially in the predicted wet weather), and manage to keep Folau and Kuridrani quiet, I also genuinely believe they could get their first (and deserved) win of the Rugby Champs. Again though, I am not quite willing to put my money where my mouth is, and think the rugby gods will again cruelly deny them that win.

I hope I am wrong on both counts!

To the weekend’s nitty gritty then:

Saturday, October 04

17:00 – South Africa vs New Zealand (Ellis Park, Johannesburg)

Oddschecker: NEW ZEALAND (5/6) to beat South Africa (15/13)

SuperBru Community: SOUTH AFRICA (69%) to beat New Zealand by 1

Tank’s prediction: NEW ZEALAND to beat South Africa by 3

Weather: 21 degrees, sunny, no chance of rain

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

AR’s: Pascal Gauzère (France), JP Doyle (England)

TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

Assessor: Donal Courtney

Springboks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Bench: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 JP Pietersen

All Blacks: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Reid, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Joe Moody

Bench: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Ryan Crotty


Sunday, October 05

00:40 – Argentina vs Australia (Estadio Malvinas, Mendoza)

Oddschecker: AUSTRALIA (4/7) to beat Argentina (7/4)

SuperBru Community: AUSTRALIA (73%) to beat Argentina by 5

Tank’s prediction: AUSTRALIA to beat Argentina by 4

Weather: 18 degrees, overcast, 80% chance of rain

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

AR’s: Craig Joubert (South Africa), Leighton Hodges (Wales)

TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

Assessor: Clayton Thomas

Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Juan Imhoff, 13 Horacio Agulla, 12 Juan Martin Hernandez, 11 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Benjamin Macome, 6 Rodrigo Baez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Bench: 16 Matias Cortese, 17 Bruno Postiglioni, 18 Ramiro Herrera, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Marcelo Bosch, 23 Jeronimo De la Fuente.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Scott Fardy, 5 James Horwill, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.

Bench: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Jake Schatz, 21 Matt Hodgson, 22 Nic White, 23 Rob Horne.


  1. Sad but true, I agree with your picks. Although we are on the right track and showed very promising signs against the Aussies, the AB’S will be a total different cattle of fish. I doubt our Forward will have the upper-hand as last week which will put more pressure on the backs. Will be a tight game though and I predicted AB’S with 6. Argies will again come close, but I think Aussies will also see this one through with a small margin.

  2. with no alberts, flo or vermuelen I dont think we have the fire power to soften up NZ sufficiently – could be a long day at the office. To beat them Oupa will have to play out of his skin and slow possession, bismark will have to steal balls, our forwards will have to protect possession and we cannot give the ABs a lead, and we will need a little luck and some burger offloads and willies little chip kicks or grubbers. Need to hit them down the middle in the forwards, and not play too unstructured.

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