Thursday, July 25, 2019

THE Rugby Championship: Round 2

USA v Canada tickets

The Rugby Championship - Round 2 Preview

There could very well be a new head of the table at the end of eighty minutes in Wellington on Saturday, the upcoming RugbyDay, as New Zealand All Blacks host South Africa Springboks in what promises to be if not the biggest blockbuster Test of the Summer, a crucial skirmish in the battle for global rugby dominance that takes place further on this year in the Home Islands.

The ‘Boks are yet smarting from their 2015 RWC defeat to Japan and nothing less than the 2019 Cup will assuage the unexpected consequence of that extremely brave and significant blossoming. South Africa have brought their topboys at every position for this one, and the current, number five-rated team on the planet have a Jantjies on the roster, but it ain’t Elton.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has arranged things somewhat differently, answering the question of, “What do you do with maybe the two best 10s in the world?” with: “Why one goes to 15!” and such is the case on Saturday with Richie Mo’unga stepping into the standoff slot, while Beau Barrett goes back to full, his actual position early on in his AB career. And if you’re wondering, “What about Ben Smith?” - he’s on the wing, paired with the flying Reiko Ioane, as George Bridge goes to the bench and Braydon Ennor is in the seats.

One might pay attention to the openfield efforts of each XV’s engines, Brodie Retallick-Sam Whitelock v Eben Etzebeth-Franco Mostert, for the effect of those fellows work at breakdown will surely be telling on the day, as will the midfield interactions between Sonny Bill-Jack Goodhue v Damian de Allende-Lukhanyo Am in the five-eighths as Am’s a relative newcomer to Test rugby with only half dozen caps and Goodhue’s only got seven; look for one to break out.

In addition, the halfbacks pairings of TJ Perenara-Richie Mo’unga and Faf de Klerk-Handr√© Pollard will provide estimable orchestration for the precursor to the nations’ opening round fixture at World Cup.

Any case this will be a blinder, and the winner will most likely top the competition this season, with the RC topspot hardware not a bad thing to have in one’s trophy case.

Regards the other RC clash, see what the return of Chris Lealiifano and maybe James O’Connor can infuse into the Wallabies three-quarters, while Argentina have made three changes in its forward set with most notably talismanic hooker, Agustin Creevy, off the long list with a shoulder injury. Lealiifano is joined by 9, Will Genia, at the halfbacks, while Puma pilot, Mario Ledesma, has indicated his partiality to the Tomas Cubelli-Nico Sanchez conduit.

Argentina are so fit and fast in the forwards, it seems like every movement whether at stop, slippage or breakaway seems to have been done by the same player. So the controlled havoc that is Pumas pack must see to the provision of pill for their extremely talented backline.

Australia, for their measure, gotta close better because they're getting a good portion of possession, but problem is maintenace of that ball and attainment of the five- (or seven-) point end result. Aussie have got to keep the ref’s cards in-pocket; they were scored upon twice for 14 when down a man on the High Veld last weekend.

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