After a weekend of upsets down south there are some scores to settle and the european sides join in the Rugby World Cup warmup games. Here are my predictions.
First here is a link to my review of the action from last weekend.
New Zealand v Australia
The Wallabies turned over the All Blacks last weekend in Australia. The return fixture will decide the Bledisloe Cup and it’s a the fortress that is Eden Park. As you can read in my “Have the All Blacks peeked mid-cycle?” they don’t lose two on the trot. They will be smarting from the loss and will be looking to retain the Bledisloe Cup. According to what I’m hearing from Australia the Wallabies are going to continue to experiment. So with them not picking potentially their best team and the All Blacks on the rebound I’m backing a home win by a couple of scores.
New Zealand by 10
Ireland v Scotland
Last weekend Ireland showed what their second string can do against a Welsh second string. I would expect to see some of the first choice players being started as they are rotated into the match day squad. Scotland are notorious for having the least depth out of all the home nations. As this is their first game I would expect them to give their fringe players a chance. So with that in mind I’m expecting another home win by a couple of scores. I guess now is a good time for the excuse if it all goes wrong, these games can be a lottery as we don’t know what selection will be like. But it’s fun predicting anyway.
Ireland by 10
England v France
We have seen England’s selection and as expected it’s giving a lot of the fringe players an opportunity to stake their claim. There are couple of players that can expect to start and a couple more be on the bench for the Rugby World Cup. So it’s not a totally Saxons side by any means. There are a lot of people saying that the French always turn up for the Rugby World Cup but in past cycles there has been some form in-between. France has been in decline now for several years as the union and clubs fight each other. So I’m expecting rustiness from both sides but for England to have enough to kick-off with a win.
England by 5
Argentina v South Africa
The Pumas pulled off one of there most significant and memorable victories ever last weekend. It was their first victory over the Boks, first overseas Rugby Championship victory and first time they have not come last in The Rugby Championship. It was also the 50th anniversary of their first game in South Africa and the team from all those years ago was there to watch. I feel that there were two reasons for the Pumas improved performance, emotion and changed selection. Can they perform the same next week without that emotion?
That’s 3 losses on the bounce for the Boks or 4 if you include Wales from the end of last year. The World 15 game in-between doesn’t really count. Also they have dropped to 5th in the world rankings from 2nd. Normally you would say this is one of those must win games with the Rugby World Cup up next. With the relative ease of their group there will still be an opportunity to build-up form. But from the public point of view though it’s a different story and they will expect a victory.
I don’t think that the Pumas will be able to lift their game again this week and the Boks will be really hurting from coming last in The Rugby Championship. So the only away win of the weekend.
South Africa by 10
Join in the predicting fun, I’m running leagues for the Currie Cup, ITM Cup and NRC. Also enjoy the excitement of the up coming Rugby World Cup by joining the August Internationals and Rugby World Cup leagues as well.