Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rugby Championship - all four teams look undercooked

I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed by the opening weekend of the crappily named Rugby Championship. All four teams looked undercooked, Argentina to Salmonella levels, but that was to be expected. The normal format for the Tri Nations was to have summer tours by the Northern  Hemisphere teams as a warm up, and that meant they hit the ground running at the start of the tournament. With a break from the tours to finish the Super 15, the Aus, NZ and SA all look rusty.

NZ weren’t rusty enough to stop them putting the Wallabies away with ease though. They scored two tries as easy as that, and then switched off and  let Aus back into the game. You always felt they had another gear to go to if they needed. Carter and Smith give their game superb tempo. I thought Barnes didn’t have a good match, standing way to deep, and the whole Aus team seemed to have dropsy.

The Springboks overcame the Pumas without much problem in Cape Town, but should have got the bonus point that Aus and NZ will surely be extracting from Argentina. The Pumas were lucky to have not conceded a yellow card, for some brutally dumb transgressions. The Boks lost Bismarck, which is a massive loss, but they have plenty of back up there, even if not quite of the same standard. They are kicking way too much, and not following it up properly. I thought Pienaar speeded the game up well, and I’d start him next week. I’d start Lambie at fly half as well, and practice running the ball for when they play the big boys. The Pumas will be better at home, and playing the best three in the world is only going to bring them on.

Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 18
Australia 19 - 27 New Zealand 
South Africa 27 - 6 Argentina 

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