Rugby Championship 2012 Preview: Round 3

Two weeks ago the Wallabies failed to regain the Bledisloe Cup for the 10th year in a row after going down 22-0, which is pretty hilarious and brought a smile to my face. Unfortunately, that smile went south later on as the Springboks squeaked an undeserved 16 all draw against the Pumas in Mendoza.

I was actually in the middle of my bachelors party, so my memory of the game is sketchy at best. At one stage I do remember looking at the score (we were trailing 10-3) and then looking to my right and seeing a naked girl, upside down, sliding slowly down a pole and I have to say it cheered me right up. It’s all about perspective, really.

Springbok fans have high expectations and rightly so but we have a new coach and young team who are gaining valuable experience. All is not lost everyone. We will get better. Meyer is not just choosing Bulls players. Don’t panic. We can’t afford to freak out! We have to keep our composure!!!! My advice…

So without further ado, let’s suss out the intricacies of Saturday’s games.

All Blacks vs Los Puma

The Pumas welcome back flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez and flank Juan Manuel Leguizamon who will both add value to the so far impressive Pumas side. Their collective confidence will be high after a very good showing 2 weeks ago at home and if they can match that intensity and passion, could well cause the All Blacks some discomfort.

The big question is how much influence will ex-AB coach Graham Henry have on the game. He has been working with the Pumas for the last couple months and knows the ins and outs of All Black rugby as well asanyone. How much will he tell the Pumas? Will he give them the code to unlock their cyborg defenses? I hope so!

The All Blacks have made 6 changes in all and have brought Brodie Retallick in at lock, with experienced Conrad Smith slotting in the midfield in place of Japan bound Sonny boxer Williams. Dan the man Carter recently pulled out with a calf strain and young Aaron Cruden will take his place at flyhalf. Beauden Barrett moves on up to a spot on the bench and Julian Savea gets another chance to impress on the wing.

According to Robbie Deans this All Black side is near unbeatable and to be fair the Pumas are not going to do much to change that impression. If they can maintain the physicality at the breakdown and repeat their defensive efforts of their last game, then it may be less than a 20 point victory for the ABs but more than likely it will be 30+ and four tries to the home side.

Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Kick-Off: Sat, 09:35am (SA time)

Referee: Romain Poite

All Blacks vs Pumas Prediction: All Blacks by 27-34

Wallabies vs Springboks

Heyneke Meyer was obviously very displeased with their flat performance against the Pumas and has finally realised that you need more than just big bruising battering rams in the loose forwards and has brought a fetcher into the match day 22. Duane Vermeulen (finally) gets a start at 8th man with Willem man mountain Alberts moving back to blindside flank and Bath captain, Francois Louw getting his chance off the bench. Ruan Pienaar starts at scumhalf with Fran Hougaard shifting to wing. Interestingly, young 20 year old flyhalf Johan Goosen is on the bench and may well get his chance to show what he can do in the 2nd half. Here he is on a horse.

For the Wallabies, Kurtley tache Beale gets another chance at fullback after being dropped for the last game due to SHITake form. Bald eagle hooker Stephen Moore was meant to be playing in his 73rd game but has pulled out with a hamstring injury and will be replaced by Tatafu Polota Nau. Wing Dom shipperley starts on the right wing and Adam Ashley-Cooper moves to outside centre.

The Wallabies have struggled against the All Blacks but will fancy their chances against the Bokke. They have a very good current record against them and will be keen to pick up their first Rugby Championship win. The Bokke go into this as underdogs but will be fairly chuffed that PoCOCK is out injured. This is the first time these two sides have met since that terrible RWC2011 quarter-final Bryce Lawrence reffed cluster FireTrUCK and do not be surprised if there are some casual handbags early on.

The feeling in my plums is that the Bokke will cause an upset and sneak a tight win but either way, here’s hoping for an improved showing from almost the entire team.

Venue: Paterson’s Stadium, Perth

Kick-Off: 12:35pm

Referee: Nigel thank Firetruck it isn’t Walsh again Owens

Wallabies vs Springboks Prediction: Bokke by 3-10

rennton

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~ by bowlphilosophy on September 6, 2012.

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