Sunday, August 26, 2012

TEST RUGBY RESULTS: Saturday 25 August

New Zealand 22, Australia 0 in Auckland (Bledisloe Cup; Rugby Championship)
South Africa 16, Argentina 16 in Mendoza (Rugby Championship)

The Bledisloe Cup, the symbol of rugby supremacy between New Zealand and Australia, stays in New Zealand.

The All Blacks performance was not flawless. Dominating but with errors. Such is the skill, control and power of this team they are truly world champions. Even with more handling errors than their opponents this New Zealand side has the composure to put incredible pressure on their opponents. What will happen if they really hit the straps?

What about Australia? The good news is that their defence was outstanding. To hold off such a dominant team and to restrict them to one try was an amazing aspect of this game. But the Australians would still be very disappointed that they rarely came within try-scoring opportunities. Their addiction to kicking the ball away was greeted by a collective Australian groan surely heard across the Tasman and above the Eden Park din.

And Robbie Deans’ tenure as Australian coach? The jury is out, decision pending.

I haven’t yet seen the Argentina-South Africa test match but I honestly didn’t think Argentina were going to get that close to South Africa. But close they got and with a bit of luck could well have won it. Reports indicate South Africa played poorly whilst Argentina out-muscled, out-committed and generally out-played the visitors. An opportunist try near the end drew the scores level.There was also comment about the old-fashioned, out-dated predictable play of the Springbox.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP: South Africa v Argentina

South Africa v Argentina in Mendoza

Venue: Malvinas Argentinas Stadium

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)


File:Mendoza Ciudad.jpg
Images of Mendoza City. Thanks to

On thing we can be sure of Mendoza is an ideal place as a base for an Argentinean team. This is a beautiful city near the foot of the Andes Mountains, the backbone of South America. It is not your usual place for test rugby but it most certainly will do.

Estadio Malvinas Argentinas.JPG
Malvinas Argentinas Stadium. Capacity 45,000 but not, according to Wikipedia, with seating for all. Image thanks to

Back to the rugby. So where are we up to with Argentina? What has last week’s 6-27 loss to South Africa meant to ‘Los Pumas’? That result may not be a disaster after all. Argentina will have picked the bones of that match clean, done their homework, changed their team, though about their approach and will most certainly be a formidable foe on some home turf.

South Africa on the other hand have plenty to think about. So dominant were they a score double the 27 last week was what should have been. It wasn’t and so they also had homework to do, team changes to make and thinking to do.

Both teams have done the thinking and made the changes. Argentina will need to play out of their skins, dominate up front and score tries. Even on a poor day I’d expect South Africa to win. Argentina’s time is not yet.

Whatever the result methinks Mendoza will be a city the visitors will be reluctant to leave.

Last Five Encounters
18.08.2012 South Africa 27-6 in Capetown (Rugby Championship)
09.08.2008 South Africa 63-7 in Johannesburg
14.10.2007 South Africa 37-13 in Paris (World Cup, Semi-Final)
05.11.2005 South Africa 34-23 in Buenos Aires
04.12.2004 South Africa 39-7 in Buenos Aires

South Africa Last Five P 5, W 3, D 1, L 1
18.08.2012 v Argentina W 27-6 in Capetwon (Rugby Championship)
23.06.2012 v England D 14-14 in Port Elizabeth
16.06.2012 v England W 36-27 in Johannesburg
09.06.2012 v England W 22-17 in Durban
09.10.2011 v Australia L 9-11 in Wellington (World Cup, Quarter-final)

Argentina Last Five P 5, W 3, L 2

18.08.2012 v South Africa L 6-27 in Capetown (Rugby Champ.)
23.06.2012 v France L 10-49 in Tucuman
16.06.2012 v France W 23-20 in Cordoba
09.06.2012 v Italy W 37-22 in San Juan
26.05.2012 v Chile W 59-6 in Santiago (CONSUR A)

GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-South Africa 4th, Argentina 8th

IRB Ranking Points
South Africa 85.08, Argentina 79.04

Prediction: South Africa by 11 points



15   Martín Rodríguez  Stade Français, France
14   Gonzalo Camacho  Exeter Chiefs, England
13   Marcelo Bosch  Biarritz, France
12   Santiago Fernández  Montpellier, France
11   Horacio Agulla  Bath Rugby, England
10   Nicolás Sánchez Bordeaux, France
9   Nicolás Vergallo  Stade Français, France
8   Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (Capt.) Toulon, France
7   Alvaro Galindo  Racing Metro, France
6   Julio Farías Cabello  Tucuman Rugby
5   Patricio Albacete  Toulouse, France
4   Manuel Carizza  Biarritz, France
3   Juan Figallo  Montpellier, France
2   Eusebio Guinazu  Biarritz, France
1   Rodrigo Roncero  Stade Français, France
16   Bruno Postiglioni  La Plata
17   Marcos Ayerza  Leicester Tigers, England
18   Leonardo Senatore  Los Pampas XV
19   Thomas Leonardi  Los Pampas XV
20   Martin Landajo  Los Pampas XV
21   Lucas González Amorosino  Montpellier, France
22   Juan José Imhoff Racing Metro, France
    HEAD COACH: Santiago Phelan


South Africa

15   Zane Kirchner Blue Bulls
14   Bryan Habana  Western Province Stormers
13   Jean de Villiers (capt.) Western Province Stormers
12   Frans Steyn Natal Sharks
11   Lwazi Mvovo  Natal Sharks
10   Morné Steyn  Blue Bulls
9   Francois Hougaard  Blue Bulls
8   Willem Alberts Natal Sharks
7   Jacques Poitgieter  Blue Bulls
6   Marcell Coetzee  Natal Sharks
5   Andreas Bekker  Western Province Stormers
4   Eben Etzebeth  Western Province Stormers
3   Jannie du Plessis  Natal Sharks
2   Adriaan Strauss  Cheetahs
1   Tendai Mtawarira  Natal Sharks
16   Tiaan Liebenburg * Western Province Stormers
17   Patrick Cilliers  Golden Lions
18   Flip van der Merwe  Blue Bulls
19   Keegan Daniel  Natal Sharks
20   Ruan Pienaar  Ulster, Ireland
21   Patrick Lambie Natal Sharks
22   JJ Engelbrecht  Blue Bulls
    HEAD COACH: Heyneke Meyer

* New test cap if called upon.

RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP: Australia v New Zealand

Australia v New Zealand in Auckland

Venue: Eden Park

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

South Africa 1 1 0 0 27 6 21 0 0 4
New Zealand 1 1 0 0 27 19 8 0 0 4
Australia 1 0 0 1 19 27 -8 0 0 0
Argentina 1 0 0 1 6 27 -21 0 0 0

Is there any certainty in any game of rugby? If there is a certainty how dangerous is it to predict and outcome? Very!

In this test match all would seem lost for Australia. They are down to their third captain this year. Out injured are James Horwill and David Pocock. Will Genia, young though he is, is a player with experience on his shoulders. The sort of player anybody would look up to. He will certainly do well.

But look at Australia’s woeful injury list and think of a team able to play a decent game of test rugby with such a list. Look at how differently the All Blacks cope without either McCaw or Carter. That’s only TWO players!Thankfully the AB’s could play out the Rugby World Cup with only one of those illustrious players absent at a time! Australia has not only lost Pocock and Horwill but think about O’Connor.

Now something about pressure. It either works for you or against you. We have the Australian team under pressure because of injuries. The whole team is under pressure because they are under performing. Coach Robbie Deans is under intense pressure to make his team perform. Another below par performance and Australia could be with a new coach (and yet more pressure!). Australia hasn’t won at Eden Park since ages ago.

Robbie Deans. Is his time running out?
Image thanks to

And then there is Quade Cooper. His comments, or lack of them, appeared to backfire as a publicity stunt. Or did it? Was he just saying ‘lets keep the comments to on the paddock stuff. Forget the rest’. Hmmm-More pressure!

But pressure can work for you. It can motivate. It can inspire. It can lift a team when down is not an option (or nowhere else to go). How the Aussies handle the pressure will determine the outcome of the game.

What about the All Black camp. Experienced prop Tony Woodcock is out injured. Wayne Crockett takes his place. This is not so serious as one would think. New Zealand has a wealth of depth in their ranks. Something Australia does not have. Apart from that everything seems to be rosy. Home ground, home crowd, a win already over Australia.SBW’s farewell game Looking good.

Another win here to New Zealand and the Bledisloe Cup is all wrapped up for another season.

Last Five Encounters
18.08.2012 New Zealand 27-19 in Sydney (Bledisloe Cup; Rugby Champ.)16.10.2011 New Zealand 20-6 in Auckland (World Cup, Semi-final)
27.08.2011 Australia 25-20 in Brisbane (Bledisloe Cup, Tri-Nations)
06.08.2011 New Zealand 30-14 in Auckland (Bledisloe Cup, Tri-Nations)
30.10.2010 Australia 26-24 in Hong Kong (Bledisloe Cup)

Note: Australia has not won at Eden Park since 1986.

New Zealand Last Five P 5, W 5
18.08.2012 v Australia W 27-19 in Sydney (Bledisoe Cup; Rugby Champ.)23.06.2012 v Ireland W 60-0 in Hamilton
16.06.2012 v Ireland W 22-19 in Christchurch
09.06.2012 v Ireland W 42-10 in Auckland
23.10.2011 v France W 8-7 in Auckland (World Cup, Final)

Australia Last Five P 5, W 3, L 2

18.08.2012 v New Zealand L 19-27 in Sydney (Bledisloe Cup; Rugby Champ.)23.06.2012 v Wales W 20-19 in Sydney
16.06.2012 v Wales W 25-23 in Melbourne
09.06.2012 v Wales W 27-19 in Brisbane
05.06.2012 v Scotland L 6-9 in Newcastle

GWC Rugby Ranking
World Table:-New Zealand 1st, Australia 2nd
Oceania Table:-New Zealand 1st, Australia 2nd

IRB Ranking Points
New Zealand 92.29, Australia 86.19

Prediction: New Zealand by 16 points



New Zealand

15   Israel Dagg Hawkes Bay
14   Corey Jane Wellington
13   Ma'a Nonu Auckland
12   Sonny Bill Williams Canterbury
11   Hosea Gear Wellington
10   Daniel Carter Canterbury
9   Aaron Smith  Manawatu
8   Kieran Read Canterbury
7   Richard McCaw (Capt.) Canterbury
6   Liam Meesam Waikato
5   Samuel Whitelock  Canterbury
4   Luke Romano  Canterbury
3   Owen Franks Canterbury
2   Keven Mealamu  Auckland
1   Wayne Crockett Canterbury
16   Andrew Hore  Taranaki
17   Benjamin Franks  Tasman
18   Brodie Retallick  Bay of Plenty
19   Victor Vito Wellington
20   Piri Weepu  Auckland
21   Aaron Cruden  Manawatu
22   Benjamin Smith Otago
    HEAD COACH: Steven Hansen




15   Adam Ashley-Cooper  NSW Waratahs
14   Drew Mitchell NSW Waratahs
13   Robert Horne NSW Waratahs
12   Berrick Barnes  NSW Waratahs
11   Digby Ioane  Queensland Reds
10   Quade Cooper Queensland Reds
9   William Genia (Capt.) Queensland Reds
8   Scott Higginbotham  Queensland Reds
7   Michael Hooper  ACT Brumbies
6   David Dennis  NSW Waratahs
5   Nathan Sharpe  WA Western Force
4   Sitaleki Timani  NSW Waratahs
3   Benjamin Alexander ACT Brumbies
2   Stephan Moore  ACT Brumbies
1   Ben Robinson  NSW Waratahs
16   Saia Fainga’a  Queensland Reds
17   James Slipper  Queensland Reds
18   Radiki Samo  NSW Waratahs
19   Liam Gill * Queensland Reds
20   Nicholas Phipps Melbourne Rebels
21   Anthony Fainga’a  Queensland Reds
22   Kurtley Beale Melbourne Rebels
    HEAD COACH: Robbie Deans

* New test cap if called upon.