Friday, July 19, 2019

The Rugby Championship - Round 1

Rugby Championship - Round 1


2019 RWC has shortened the summer international test season, but it gets going for real on the upcoming RugbyDay as Australia square off against South Africa at Ellis Park on the High Veld and Argentina host New Zealand at José Amalfitani in the South American nation’s capital. Rugby Championship, the hottest test series in the Southern Hemisphere, is mere preliminary to the Big Show in Japan that begins in September and its game complement is halved during RWC years: from six, home-away fixtures to three, home or away tests.
Expect to see each nation’s head coach roster a core of RWC-certainties, but also start as much as 20% of their first-XV in do-or-don’t roles; meaning that a well-turned 80 minutes for an individual tomorrow could result with inclusion in the squad that head to the Home Islands for rugby’s greatest spectacle.
Expect, also, to see at minimum two-from-four of the RC quartet in the RWC semifinals as has happened every RWC since forever; last RWC, 2015 in England, the entire semifinal frame was filled with the representative nations of the Rugby Championship. 
Super Rugby Rebels 8man, 24 years old Isa Naisarani, debuts for Australia as does Waratahs front-rower, 22 years old Harry Johnson-Holmes, while veteran James Slipper is recalled at prop, Nic White feeds the scrum and links with Bernie Foley at standoff and Brumbies Tom Banks looks to make a mark directing counters in the backthree backs.
Springboks have admitted selecting a “B Side” that has a pair of rookies in halfback Herschel Jantjies and blindside Rynhardt Elstadt,  but you might not know it from their remaining roster as Elton Jantjies has the 10 shirt, Eben Etzebeth is captaining the ‘Bok ship from the engine room and front row Beast Mtawarira (107 caps) will be on the beginning XV for South Africa. Frankie Steyn, who has not donned the national shirt for a minute, is on the bench for the hosts.

In the South American clash, Nico Sanchez returns to Pumas and will pull strings behind the scrum while Tomás Cubelli serves Sanchez the pill. 21 years old Marcos Kremer is at openside flanker for the home team and the well-directed madness that is Jaguares backline will ideally being firing on all cylinders, not missing every now and again as happened in the Super Rugby Final.
New Zealand debuts 21 years old Fiji-born flyer, Sevu Reece, on the wing and that youngster can and will score. Beau Barrett’s in the 10 jersey and he pairs with Aaron Smith in the halfback slots. Ardie Savea will lock down the pack, which could well open up a blistering  8-9-10 conduit.
Good stuff on the morrow as each player on every side will be seeking to propel themselves into their respective countries’ RWC rosters by virtue of their performances within the XV on the RugbyDay.

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