Mon, Sep 10, 1:02pm by Staff Writer
The Rugby Championship moved into its third round of play on the weekend, with victories to New Zealand and Australia on home soil.
The All Blacks played their first Test match in Nelson and treated the fans at Trafalgar Park to a high-scoring and entertaining match.
New Zealand are near certainties at $1.005 to win this year’s Rugby Championship after an undefeated start, with three wins and no losses to date.
The Kiwi’s led 18-7 at the break, after an inspired half of rugby by the Pumas from Argentina.
When Nicolas Sanchez crossed early in the second half, the All Blacks led by just four points.
Tries to Kieran Read and TJ Perenara put the result beyond doubt for the home side, as they ran out 46-24 winners.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen used the match to blood some new players into this side, including a start for highly regarded Richie Mo’unga from the Crusaders.
It was a balanced performance from the All Blacks, who were not as ruthless in defence as we have come to expect, but once again illustrated that they can score points from anywhere on the field.
The Pumas have won one match so far in the Rugby Championship and are in fourth spot in the standings and a $501 shot of winning their first Rugby Championship.
The Wallabies were severely under manned for their match against South Africa at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday night.
David Pocock, Israel Folau and Adam Coleman were all missing from the Wallabies run-on side, but they managed to hold on for a 23-18 win against South Africa.
The first half of this match was free-flowing and erratic, with the visitors looking to play the game at pace.
This resulted in a number of errors from the Springboks, including a calamitous line-out five metres from their own line which ended up in the lap of Matt Toomua who crossed untouched late in the first half.
The second half was more of a struggle, as both teams found scoring hard to come by.
South Africa had the ball after the hooter inside the Wallabies 22, hunting a try, but the ball was turned over well after the 80th minute and the Wallabies snared their first win of the 2018 Rugby Championship.
Neither side is expected to challenge New Zealand for the silverware this year, with South Africa $91 and Australia $226 respectively to win the Rugby Championship.
South Africa faces the daunting prospect of playing New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday, while Australia hosts Argentina at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast.
Rugby Championship Odds – Sportsbet
New Zealand $1.005
South Africa $91
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