The Rugby Championship Round 3 gives us two mouth-watering clashes and features a late change for the mighty All Blacks with Dan Carter withdrawing with injury to be replaced by Aaron Cruden. Who do you think will win these matches?
The Rugby Championship Round Three starts in Wellington this Saturday
night when the All Blacks face Argentina at Westpac Stadium. In late
breaking news, All Blacks first five eighth Dan Carter will miss the
game with a calf injury meaning Aaron Cruden will start at pivot. This
would have been a problem a year ago, but Cruden has developed greatly
over the past year and it shouldn't affect the All Blacks chances of
victory. I also think that this is smart given that this match is
probably going to be the easiest match of the competition for the All
Blacks and so it is best to rest players now.
Game One - New Zealand vs Argentina
All Blacks should win their first match against Argentina as part of
the Rugby Championship. The Pumas will be tougher to beat at home as
the Springboks found out a fortnight ago, but shouldn't threaten the All
Blacks in Wellington. The All Blacks will be without Dan Carter, but
will welcome back the experienced Tony Woodcock and Conrad Smith. They
have also added bulk to combat the physical Pumas pack with Luke Romano
and Brodie Retallick in the middle row. Other Hurricanes players Victor
Vito and Julian Savea will get an opportunity on their home ground
replacing Liam Messam and Hosea Gear. It will be interesting to see how
Vito and Savea go as these guys can be brilliant. Conrad Smith should
sharpen the All Blacks attack with his ability to feed the outside backs
and his experience.
Argentina welcome back Juan Martin Hernandez
and this team will be a physical challenge for the All Blacks. I love
having Argentina in the Rugby Championship. Their different style of
play and passionate fans will bring a new dimension to the competition.
It will be interesting to see what influence former All Blacks coach
Graham Henry has had in a short stint as a consultant to the Pumas. I
think he will have fine tuned their game a bit and they will be far more
competitive on Saturday than they would have been previously.
All Blacks should win by 20 points, but will find it tough to break down
the staunch Argentina defence. The All Blacks will need to sharpen up
their attack which hasn't really worked so far this Rugby Championship
but will probably stop Argentina scoring many or any tries. Argentina
will be fired up as there aren't many challenges greater than playing
the All Blacks. It will be funny having Graham Henry in the Argentina
Players to watch - Aaron Cruden, Juan Martin Hernandez, Israel Dagg, Kieran Read, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.
Bargains - Brodie Retallick, Manuel Carizza, Luke Romano, Julian Savea.
Game Two - Australia vs South Africa
is difficult to know how this match will go with Perth the most South
African friendly state in Australia. The Wallabies will be at home and
will be looking to bounce back against the Springboks. It is hard to
know if the Wallabies were terrible against the mighty All Blacks or
just struck a really tough opponent? Both of these sides have plenty of
injury problems and their depth will be tested.
Anyway, they have
gone back to Kurtley Beale and this match should in theory be one of
the tightest matches of the Rugby Championship 2012. Radike Samo starts
at Number Eight for the Wallabies which is an interesting move. He is
an enigma and at his age it will be interesting to see how long he
The Springboks will be smarting after drawing with
Argentina and have made five changes to their squad. They have put
Francois Hougaard on the wing and recalled Ruan Pienaar. Stormers
Number Eight Duane Vermuelen should add some steal to their forward
My pick - This match will be tight and I am going for a
Wallabies win on the back of some Will Genia magic. The Wallabies
forwards just need to hang tough, while their backs will be dangerous.
Wallabies by 3 points.
Players to watch - Adriaan Strauss, Stephen Moore, Nathan Sharpe, Morne Steyn, Francois Steyn.
Bargains - Duane Vermeulen, Marcell Coetzee, Eben Etzebeth, Sitaleki Timani, Michael Hooper, Juandre Kruger.
Who do you think will win Rugby Championship 2012 Round Three matches?
New Zealand vs Argentina
ALL BLACKS: Israel
Dagg, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea, Aaron Cruden,
Aaron Smith, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (c), Victor Vito, Brodie
Retallick, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Keven Mealamu, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Andrew Hore, Charlie Faumuina, Sam Whitelock, Liam Messam, Piri Weepu, Beauden Barrett, Ben Smith.
(15-1) Martin Rodriguez; Gonzalo Camacho, Marcelo Bosch, Santiago
Fernandez, Horacio Agulla; Juan Martin Hernandez, Nicolas Vergallo; Juan
Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain), Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Julio Farias
Cabello; Patricio Albacete, Manuel Carizza; Juan Figallo, Eusebio
Guinazu, Rodrigo Roncero. Reserves: To be named on Friday.
Australia vs South Africa
Kurtley Beale, Dominic Shipperley, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick
Barnes, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Will Genia (capt), Radike Samo,
Michael Hooper, Dave Dennis, Nathan Sharpe, Sitaleki Timani, Ben
Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson Reserves: Tatafu Polota Nau,
James Slipper, Scott Higginbotham, Liam Gill, Nick Phipps, Mike Harris,
Springboks – 15 Zane Kirchner,
14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Francois
Hougaard 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem
Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie
du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Tiaan
Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Francois Louw,
20 Johan Goosen, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 Lwazi Mvovo.
Have your say!