Monday, August 19, 2013

The All Blacks and the Springboks lay down a marker!

 JJ Engelbrecht (

Two fantastic games got the Rugby Championship going this weekend, which despite the quality of the rugby, by a country mile, has the worst name and logo. I have to hold my hand up as well, I seriously underestimated the quality and vision of Heyneke Meyers’s coaching.

Australia and New Zealand is always something to look forward to, even if the Wallabies aren’t what they used to be. It was a sobering debut for Ewen McKenzie, as his side shipped a large home defeat. That always had the potential to happen, with plenty of unfamiliar combinations, but I think he has a plan, has picked the players for that, and the team will only get better.  Something he’ll have to fix is the Wallabies lack of physicality. You’ll only compete against the All Blacks if you’re constantly physically battering them. Matt Toomua was way to quiet as well, not asserting himself in any way. The All Blacks were full value for their best team in the world tag, constant quick front foot ball gave them all they needed to open up the Wallabies. Apart from a substandard lineout, they are the team to beat.

In Joburg, the Springboks dismantled the Pumas with alarming ease. The Pumas, with a few key players injured, just about held it together in the first half, but then indiscipline and a lack of an 80 minute effort sealed their fate. The Springboks won’t pick up much easier wins than that this year. They have put together a complete package in their team now – the normal massive, physical scrum, and then Englebrecht and Le Roux have added a new dimension to their play. Their bench is the best in the competition – Bismarck du Plessis, Oosthuizen, Du Preez, Serfontein, Lambie – all came on and kept the pressure on against the Pumas.

The All Black Springbok matches will be epic this year!

Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 17
Australia 29 - 47 New Zealand 
South Africa 73 - 13 Argentina 

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