Thu, Sep 14, 9:32am by Staff Writer
After three rounds, New Zealand currently top The Rugby Championship ladder with South Africa following close behind. Making this weekend’s match even more important. Argentina props up the table and Australia is only slightly better positioned with just three points to their name.
Saturday 16 Sept: New Zealand v South Africa @ QBE Stadium, Albany (19:35)*
New Zealand have a 100% success rate in this year’s tournament but that has not come without any scares. The Wallabies pushed them all the way in Round 2 and Argentina gave them an almighty scare last week before a second half comeback secured them the win. The All Blacks have made seven changes to the side that beat the Pumas, conscious of the fact that the Springboks will be a huge test. Beauden Barrett’s goal kicking has come under scrutiny this week after he missed all three of his attempts at goal. In a crunch match like this against South Africa he will need to have his kicking boots on. The All Blacks are clear favourites with William Hill at $1.10.
The Springboks, however, will certainly fancy their chances against a New Zealand side that has begun to show some vulnerabilities for the first time in a while. South Africa’s resurgence was stunted with a draw in Perth against Australia, but arrive in New Zealand with a real chance to spring a surprise. They have the ability across their squad to take on the All Blacks and will hope that Barrett has a bad day with the boot again whilst Elton Jantijies continues to shine. The Springboks stand at $7.00.
Bet of the Match – New Zealand to Win by 1-12 points at $3.50
Saturday 16 Sept: Australia v Argentina @ GIO Stadium, Perth (20:00)*
A draw against South Africa should be viewed as progress for the Wallabies, but also a setback as they should have really won that game. A drop in performance in the second half, and problems throughout at the breakdown, allowed the Springboks to grab a late draw. Australia will need to up their work rate at the ruck if they are to challenge Argentina this weekend, as they continually had slow ball or lost it completely. They are favourites to win priced at $1.16 having won the last four games against Argentina. Kurtley Beale’s presence in the back line has been a major boost for the Wallabies and he will again be the man they look to this week.
Argentina almost rocked the rugby world last week as they looked set to secure a shock win over New Zealand. Yet, as is so often the case, they did not have the ability to match the world’s best for 80 minutes. They will arrive in Canberra with not even a losing bonus point to their name on the ladder and in desperate need of a win. They are up against it again priced at $5.25 but as seen against the All Blacks, the Pumas do have the ability to overturn those odds if Australia are not on top of their game.
Bet of the Match – Australia to Win by 13+ points at $1.76
*All times are local
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