The big Soweto test is looming on the horizon. From all the articles and things I have read, this match is being approached as a do-or-die by both teams involved. The All Blacks seem intent on vindicating their premier status as rugby’s ultimate team. The Boks under Meyer with his revised-ish (according to him and Jean it’s unrevised) game plan seems to finally be making strides in the right direction. In my opinion it is more a case of dropping the dead weight that put us on the right track. The Wallabies look like a team straight out of the Walking Dead TV series. Injuries left, right and centre have not helped Robbie Deans one bit. Argentina have made a great introduction into the competition in my opinion. It has definitely been long overdue. One can only see them improving as a rugby nation. I wouldn’t put it past them to compound Deans’ misery. So here are my predictions:
6 October, 2012
South Africa vs. New Zealand: Soccer City, Soweto – 17:00 (RSA)
SA First XV:
15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etsebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Elton Jantjies, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22 Patrick Lambie.
NZ First XV:
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Adam Thompson, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Tamati Ellison.
This will be a close game and I have to agree with those that state that this game will be brutal. From all the talk out of the camps and with the charged atmosphere one feels one can’t but agree with that statement. The All Blacks were not happy about being dominated up front in Dunedin so the Boks should expect one hell of a backlash! I have a feeling this game will be as tight as a ducks bottom. It will be physical, it will be brutal. Yet because the All Blacks look like the more settled outfit and with the return of Carter I don’t see the Boks winning this. Then again I could be very wrong. With change in personal and bringing in a fetcher we could have the player dynamics to upset the All Blacks. Duane and Flouw were outstanding against the Wallabies and with every test together I can only see that improving.
My heart tells me Boks but my head says All Blacks… by 5 or more.
6 October, 2012
Argentina vs. Australia: Estadio Gigante de Arroyito, Rosario – 20:10 (RSA)
Arg First XV:
15 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernandez, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (captain), 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 18 Leonardo Senatore, 19 Tomas Leonardi, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 Nicolas Sanchez, 22 Juan Imhoff.
Aus First XV:
15 Mike Harris, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Sitaleki Timani, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 James Slipper.
16 Saia Fainga’a, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Dave Dennis, 19 Scott Higginbotham, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 Dominic Shipperley.
The Aussies had a game they would rather forget against the Boks last week. There were Aussie bodies strewn all over the place. When one looked at the carnage then maybe Heyneke was correct in bringing guys in who demolish things. One can’t help but feel sorry for Deans. With a plethora of changes having been made the Aussies will struggle or dominance against Los Pumas. The Pumas did come off a big defeat against the All Blacks but it is painfully obvious to any Wallaby supporter that the Pumas are a more confident team than them. In my opinion the Pumas have had a good first year in the competition. They took the Boks to a draw. Gave the All Blacks as good as they got and came close against the Wallabies in Australia. They have some good players in that outfit. Someone like Marcelo Bosch comes to mind. If the Pumas can build on this first season things for them can only get better.
I see a Pumas upset on the cards. They are at home and fired up, they can literally smell Wallaby blood from the looks of things. Pumas to take it by 4 or more.