New Zealand vs. Argentina – Yarrow Stadium, 9 September 2017
New Zealand recorded their third victory in this year’s Rugby Championship by downing a valiant Argentina team, which had the world champs on the ropes for more than half of the match.
Having to defend for the majority of the match, Los Pumas had to succumb in the end to what could be called the true class of the All Blacks. They never seemed to be rushed under pressure and managed to get out of tight situations, eventually storming over the finish line.
Argentina had to make over 200 tackles this weekend with New Zealand attacking them time and again. Impressively, they blocked the All Blacks to a low six line breaks in the game. That’s the one area in which New Zealand have stood out this competition with 22 line breaks in the first two games (11 each game).
New Zealand kept their dominance in the set-piece area with another 100 percent success rate for scrums and lineouts. Handling errors, however, marred what could have been a much more flowing match, but nonetheless the quality of rugby was for all to see. Now the question stands – can the Boks stop the All Blacks and can Los Pumas upset the Wallabies?
Australia vs. South Africa – Perth Oval, 9 September 2017
A game of two halves actually described the final score itself. It was a tongue-in-cheek draw, and you could see the disappointment on the South African players as they strolled off the pitch on Saturday. The Springboks were by far the stronger of the two teams as the final whistle went, but they have only themselves to blame as the first half was a very poor display by the two-time world champs.
Australia fought valiantly and their tactics at scrum time took the strength of the Springboks away, but it caused a stop-start type of game and one could say they employed spoiling tactics to get out of this game unscathed.
Australia did enjoy the majority of possession and had South Africa defend and contest at the break-down for most of the match. One major standout statistic was that of Springboks prop forward Coenie Oosthuizen. Not only did he have a 100 percent tackle success rate by completing 20 of 20 tackles, he had to return to the field after being subbed off for an arm injury only to learn on Sunday that it was in fact a broken arm.
You do not get them more tough than that, and that is surely what can be said of this match – tough battle that went Australia’s way in the first half and South Africa’s way in the second.