Rugby Championship week 3 preview: Pumas can keep it close in Nelson
Cian Carroll | 6 September 2018
Odds and tips included
The Rugby Championship enters its third round of fixtures this weekend with everyone playing catch-up to New Zealand.
The All-Blacks are currently two from two and face Argentina in Trafalgar Park, Nelson. Australia then face South Africa at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane.
Both games are live on Sky Sports from 08:35am on Saturday morning. And the Coral News Team have you sorted with previews and tips for both clashes.
New Zealand v Argentina
The All-Blacks could practically seal their sixth Championship here in Nelson. Steve Hansen’s squad have already blitzed the Wallabies and the Springboks in the opening weeks.
And the bad news for Argentina is that they have never beaten New Zealand in 26 attempts. The world champions – as ever – are in imperious form.
However, the Pumas scored a massive win against South Africa in Mendoza recently and will be buoyed by that performance. They’ve certainly got the physicality to match the All-Blacks, but it’ll take a miraculous performance to win here.
Beauden Barrett scored an incredible four tries against Australia last time out, raking in a massive 30 points in total. Mario Ledesma’s side will need to stop the mercurial out-half to have any hope.
Argentina have never got within 15 points of New Zealand in the previous 26 attempts. But the handicap here is set at +/-25 points.
The Pumas will likely lose. But they could keep it tighter than usual. They’re 10/11 to win on the +25 Handicap.
Australia v South Africa
Simply put, this is a must-win game for both sides – particularly Australia. Michael Cheika is under intense pressure right now after losing seven of the last eight tests to four different teams.
There is no margin for error here for the Wallabies. They must pull a result out of the bag. The same goes for the Springboks who went down dismally to Argentina in Mendoza last time out.
Rassie Erasmus’ side are now ranked seventh in the world – an all-time low in the new rankings system.
The two sides’ recent head-to-heads are particularly even. The home side has won every other test going right back to 2013, with two draws in the 2017 Rugby Championship.
South Africa have won just three of their last 15 tests away from home. And with the Wallabies particularly strong at the Suncorp, it doesn’t bode well for Erasmus’ charges.
The former Munster coach cannot afford to experiment with his line-up. However, Australia will have the bit between their teeth in Brisbane and should come out with the win.
They Evens to win on the -5 point Handicap.
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