The Rugby Championship: Wallabies vs Springboks preview - Green and Gold Rugby
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The Rugby Championship: Wallabies vs Springboks preview

The Rugby Championship: Wallabies vs Springboks preview

The road to the 2019 World Cup begins on Sunday morning when the Wallabies travel to Johannesburg to take on the Springboks in the opening game of The Rugby Championship. The Wallabies will be looking to put aside their less than ideal 2018 season, with this performance shaping our expectations in a crucial World Cup year.

They begin their campaign by heading to Ellis Park, the heart and soul of Springbok rugby. This is the site of many of the Springboks’ greatest triumphs, highlighted by their nation-building win in the 1995 World Cup final. Ellis Park is also the site of the most demoralising loss in Wallabies history, losing 53-8 to a red-hot Springbok side in 2008.

Background

The Wallabies are coming off their worst international season since 1958, winning just 4 out of 13 games. The side is heading into the relative unknown, with this being the first test AI (After Izzy) and without fearless leader David Pocock.

However, there is renewed optimism in the camp thanks to a strong finish to the Super Rugby season by the Brumbies, who won 7 straight before losing to the Jaguares in the semi-final.

Jack Maddocks  goes close to scoring

Jack Maddocks goes close to scoring

The Springboks had a roller-coaster 2018 season, initially starting with a 2-1 series win over England before dropping games against all three teams in the Rugby Championship along with Wales. The South African franchises had a less than impressive Super Rugby campaign, with no representatives making the semi-final for the second time in 17 years.

Coach Rassie Erasmus has made the bold decision to split the squad, deciding to fly numerous members over to New Zealand to prepare for their clash with the All Blacks in a week.

Team News

The Wallabies have unveiled a new look test outfit, with just 10 out of the 23 from the end of year international against England surviving. Rebels Isi Naisarani is the only debutant in the starting line-up, whilst firey ranga Harry Johnson-Holmes has been brought onto the bench for his potential debut.

Nic White is given his shot at the starting halfback position, whilst Tom Banks has won the race to the vacant fullback position, which has forced Dane Haylett-Petty to shift to the wing to partner Reece Hodge and relegated Kurtley Beale to the bench.

The Springboks have chosen a significantly weaker team than usual on the account of Erasmus’ split squad. The exclusion list is headed by captain Sita Kolisi and flyer Aphiwe Dyantyi who is still recovering from injury whilst fly-half Handre Pollard, fullback Willie le Roux, hooker Malcolm Marx and prop Steven Kitshoff are amongst those who have already made the trip to New Zealand.

In his absence, towering lock Eben Etzebeth will lead the inexperienced side against the Wallabies, with Toulouse backrower Rynhardt and Stormers halfback Herschel Jantjies set to make their debuts. Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant will form a lethal back three alongside Sharks wingers S’busiso Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi, whilst veteran Francois Steyn returns to the Springboks for the first time since 2017 via the bench.

Key Players

From the Wallabies perspective, I’m a huge fan of the selection of Tom Banks at fullback. Banks shapes as a real game breaker for the Wallabies with his explosive speed from the back and if he can get his hands on some good ball early he can take the game away from the Springboks.

This game marks a crucial stage in the careers of both Nic White and Bernard Foley. For White, the elevation to the starting role is a massive opportunity to show his development and progress since we last saw him. A solid performance from White can help ward off the chasers in Joe Powell and Tate McDermott and confirm his spot in the matchday 23.

nic white try wallabies

As for Foley, this is the game to prove that he still the best fly-half in the country. The position is arguably as strong as it’s ever in since he took over the starting role in 2014 and he needs to show he can manage and close out a game, which he lacked in the Super Rugby season.

The Springboks will be heavily reliant on experienced players such as Tendai Mtawarira and Eben Etzebeth to impose their physicality on the game. Mtawarira and Etzebeth will be essential in shutting down the set-piece for the Wallabies, with all reports suggesting that this will be a big part of their game, following a similar pattern implemented by the Brumbies across the Super Rugby season.

Eben Etzbeth gets away his pass

Eben Etzbeth gets away his pass

Andre Esterhuizen will have the toughest assignment of the lot, marking up against steamroller Samu Kerevi. The selection of Esterhuizen is a great move by Erasmus, with the brute centre one of the best defenders in his position, evident in the Super Rugby where he missed just 15 tackles in his 16 games played. If he can restrict Kerevi’s impact in the game, then this will go a long way in getting South Africa over the line.

Numbers that matter (Thanks to Opta Sports)

1963: The last time that Australia defeated the Springboks at Ellis Park
53-8: The score the last time Australia played at Ellis Park in 2008, the biggest loss in Wallaby history.
24%: The Wallabies winning percentage against the Springboks in South Africa
82%: The success rate of the Springboks at Ellis Park since 2003.
2011/2015: The Wallabies have won the last two shortened Rugby Championship/Tri-Nations that have happened before the World Cup.
40%: The combined success rate of both teams in 2018
59: Total tries scored between the Wallabies starting 15 in Super Rugby/English Premiership, 28 more than the Springboks.

Predictions

With the combination of a strong Wallabies squad and a severely weakened Springbok team, I’m backing the Aussies to get the job done. I think that the Wallabies have picked a strong side along with some solid finishers in Tupou, Dempsey and Beale that can secure the result. Then again that could be the optimism talking.

Match Prediction: Wallabies by 5
Bold Prediction: Banks 2+ tries

Match Details

Wallabies (15-1): Tom Banks, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tevita Kuridrani, Samu Kerevi, Reece Hodge, Bernard Foley, Nic White, Isi Naisarani, Michael Hooper (c), Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Sekope Kepu, Folau Fainga’a, James Slipper

Reserves: Jordan Uelese, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Taniela Tupou, Rob Simmons, Jack Dempsey, Will Genia, Matt Toomua, Kurtley Beale

Springboks (15-1): Warrick Gelant, S’busiso Nkosi, Jesse Kriel, Andre Esterhuizen, Makazole Mapimpi, Elton Jantjies, Herschel Jantjies, Francois Louw, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Rynhardt Elstadt, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth (c), Trevor Nyakane, Bongi Mbonambi, Tendai Mtawarira.

Reserves: Schalk Brits, Lizo Gqoboka, Vincent Koch, Marvin Orie, Marcell Coetzee, Cobus Reinach, Francois Steyn, Dillyn Leyds

Date: Sunday, July 21st
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 1:05 am AEDT (17:05 local)
Where to Watch: Channel 10 on FTA and Fox Sports 6 (Channel 506) for Foxtel.

Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
AR1: Matthew Carley (England)
AR2: Karl Dickson (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)

  • UTG

    Good side. Rip in and get it done.

  • Gun

    Side ok but no pace out wide, excepting The Bastard. I think you need at least one genuine flyer on the wing.

    • Mart

      3 fullbacks. interesting

    • Nathan Williamson

      Fair assessment, I think the loss of Korobiete back home for the birth of his child had some say in that. Then again I would’ve probably selected Maddocks for one of the wings

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan,
    I think you’re correct and this is a great chance for the Wallabies. I’m a bit concerned about the lack of speed out wide but some good kicking options. Please don’t let Spanners kick.
    I think the forward battle will be interesting as there’s no such thing as a bad Springbok forward but if the Wallabies can get some ball then you could be right.

  • NSWelsham in London

    this makes me super excited, other than pace, my other worry is the reserve front row. Great players dont get me wrong but between them you have a debut, 2 tests and 11 tests. I hope it means nothing but a lack of upfront experience might come back to hurt us in the latter stages. Anyway, this seems like the first team in a while that the majority of this site will be ok with, Brisneyland and Hoss i think may even agree with this one…

    • Brisneyland Local

      Yep. No where near as bad as I thought it would be!

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    You’re picking Australia by 5? Huh? I know it isn’t the strongest Boks team, but seems pretty disrespectful given we haven’t won iun Joburg for about 70 years and Cheika is still our coach.

    • UTG

      Bookies have us hovering around $2.40 to win, not exactly long odds. Hardly think it’s disrespectful to tip Australia in a close one.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        2.5 to 1 are pretty long odds in a two horse race…

        • UTG

          Rubbish, Pumas are at $4 something and it’s probably their best chance ever to beat NZ given the teams that are being played and where it is played.

        • Steve

          I mean, those aren’t really drastically different…28.5% that the Wallabies win vs. 20% the Pumas do…

        • UTG

          The Wallabies are at 2.40. That’s an implied probability of 41% not 28.5%.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Until we pay less than $2, it isn’t good odds.

        • Steve

          No, no it isn’t…

        • UTG

          Why are you adding 1 to 2.4? It’s already a decimal. You just divide one by the decimal.

        • Steve

          Look it up…

        • UTG

          What? That link just shows I’m right.

        • Steve

          Never mind ha…some confusion as DBTB above responded to your comment as a fraction so assumed that’s what you were discussing…note above that paying $2.40 is not the same as 2.4/1…jeez this got boring

        • UTG

          Right…

        • Adrian

          4.5 points start to WB on Sportsnet, but shortening I think

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          So we’re better odds than the Pumas (at their worst ever world ranking) to beat the All Blacks – the number 1 team in the world and a team they’ve never beaten?

          I don’t see see that as much to write call home about, to be honest.

        • Braveheart81

          I’m not really sure what your point is except to complain about the Wallabies. We’re playing at a venue we haven’t won at in 56 years. We’re playing at altitude in South Africa where we’ve only one once since that 1963 win at Ellis Park (2010 at Bloemfontein).

          If anything, I’m surprised the Wallabies are priced so short. As others have correctly said, $2.40 is not long odds in a two horse race. It implies a roughly 40% chance of winning.

          If we were paying less than $2 it means the bookies either see us as even money to win or we’re favourites (if we end up shorter than $1.90)

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The bookies could have both teams below $2 actually. This often happens in tennis. So it doesn’t imply a 40% chance.

          Whenever a player is above $2 in a two-horse race, it is because the bookies think they are fairly unlikely to win.

        • Braveheart81

          Well yeah. Even money for most bookies is both teams paying $1.90. I’m pretty convinced you don’t really understand how probability is implied by odds.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Okay? I’m not really sure what your point is – do you have one?

        • UTG

          Pretty sure his point is that it’s rubbish to say tipping the Wallabies in a close one is disrespectful when bookies are giving them an ~40% chance of winning.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Assuming that the bookies are correct, we still aren’t favourites.

          He also went on to say that he thought the bookies were overly friendly to us.

          And I do think we have a decent (30% or so) chance of winning.

        • Braveheart81

          You said that we were at long odds in a two horse race and several people disagreed that $2.40 or $2.50 represents long odds. You’ve now said you think we have about a 30% chance of winning which would imply that our odds should actually be a fair bit longer (Australia paying about $3.30).

          I tend to agree with that last bit. I think South Africa are pretty long at $1.50. I think they are far more likely to win than those odds suggest and that represents good value.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          And I maintain that our betting odds are fairly long. You seem to be taking issue with my subjective definition.

          Just because I think our odds are worse than the bookies do, doesn’t change the initial post.

          Personally, I think this entire discussion was a storm in a teacup.

        • Brumby Runner

          No, it implies that roughly 40% of punters (or bookies) think they are likely to win, as you are wont to point out quite regularly on these threads.

        • Braveheart81

          The bookie frames the market to begin with though and South Africa only started slightly shorter than they are now (they were between $1.40 and $1.50 initially. You can get $1.53 for them now). We’re talking about the odds here. The reality is that odds of $2.40 or $2.50 don’t imply a team are a longshot. That is also reflected by the fact that the line is only 4.5 points.

          Personally, I think the odds are good for the Springboks because I don’t think we’re ~40% chance of winning this game considering how hard it is to win at altitude in South Africa.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        2.5 to 1 are pretty long odds in a two horse race…

    • Nathan Williamson

      To be fair, we’ve only played their 5-6 times since that last won so the 50+ years isn’t as bad as the stat suggests. Initially at the start of the week I would’ve said Springboks, but with Marx, Pollard and AD out, I think this is the time for the breakthrough

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Maybe. But this is a Wallabies team that had its worst year for was it 50 years last year?

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Maybe. But this is a Wallabies team that had its worst year for was it 50 years last year?

  • Gallagher

    - Love the starting pack, centres and also hope Banks does well at fullback!
    – Lets hope Uelese shows his potential out of the gate!
    – It’s a huge worry to be relying on Johnson-Holmes so early on, hes so far from world class we are screwed if he comes on!
    – So unsure of White and Toomua, when our great stars come back from overseas clubs, they usually have tribute videos aka Giteau, Mitchell, O’Connor etc, where Nic Whites? And how did Toomua show he deserves a spot?
    – Cooper needs to be straight into the squad at the first sign of Foley continuing to be as average as hes been all year, to unlock this attack!
    – Slightly concerned we have no pace on the wings

    • onlinesideline

      How Luke Jones isnt in squad is incredible. Having Polynesian power is nice but it can’t come at expense of speed around park. This is my biggest worry re LSL at 6. Hes a natural lumberer, he’ll never be fast around the park.

      • Huw Tindall

        Agree OSL. LSL is a big unit but woukd rather a bit less size and more athleticism or nous at 6. Still he may be good for 40 mins of rage then Dempsey can come on.

      • Braveheart81

        I don’t know if Jones really adds much speed over LSL. I agree that pace is a concern in that backrow. Who out of LSL and Naisarani are charged with securing the other edge to Hooper will be interesting. I think it will be Naisarani and LSL will largely play through the middle.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Jones is considerably quicker and better in the line out, but a considerably inferior ball runner.

          Of those in the squad, I would have preferred Dempsey at 6. I agree with you that both Naisarani and LSL will play up the middle.

        • Brumby Runner

          I’d like to see afoot race between Jones and LSL. I have to say that Jones has never impressed me as being especially swift, and I do think LSL is quicker over short distance with ball in hand than many here are willing to accept.

          I don’t know who would win such a race, but I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be a whole lot of difference between the two.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He’s missed so many tackles on opposition backs this year when playing at 6; Jones hasn’t.

          That, in a nutshell, is the key difference between them at 6.

        • Who?

          I think you’re probably right, but I also think that Jones probably has a tighter turning circle. It’s like Hodge – many think he’s slow, but I think he’s actually got a bit of top end gas. What he lacks, compared to say, Koroibete, is agility and acceleration. I could see LSL being faster than Jones at the top end, but being maybe less agile.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          The agility and speed over 5m is the most important thing for a 6, to stop half breaks from opposition backs.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Yes, he isn’t a 6. He is a quick lock but a lumbering 6. Jones and Dempsey both much better options in my opinion.

    • Huw Tindall

      HJH deserves the spot after the injuries and he could be a great. Super young but his work over the ball is almost as good as Marx. One for the future.

  • Steve

    Well blow me down he’s actually picked a decent team. Lack of wing pace is a bit disappointing but other than that it’s as good as we could have hoped for.

    It worries me that he’s managed to injure 3 props including our best 2, in the space of a couple of weeks in camp.

    Hopefully not a repeat of the sand hills..

    • Huw Tindall

      No sand hills on the highveldt. It’s dead flat.

      • Steve

        They have DJs though Huw, that might be enough…

      • Crescent

        Not forgetting there are still plenty of mullock heaps from the mine tailings to form some pretty decent hills……

    • Nathan Williamson

      Hopefully it’s just a case of putting them in bubblewrap before a long (and important) year. Although it’s tough to tell with his history and his apparent denouncing of sports science

  • McWarren

    So three Brumbies in the starting forward pack? And we’re suggesting the wallabies are going to play a similar pattern to the Brumbies? Only 5 Brumbies in the side that got them too the second last round of the finals but 7 Tarts and 5 Rebs, the two worst performing teams at the end of the SR season? Why is everyone so cockahoot about the team. Kepu and LSL will be found out for being too slow and or get cards. Naisarani is going to be bent in half by the Boks defence. Apart from Banks is there anyone in the backline let alone the back three who has genuine pace? And can anyone put there hand on heart and say Foley should even be in the squad?

    Boks by 12

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Bit harsh on the score mate. I don’t think they’ll play the Brumbies style, I mean let’s face it they can’t with that team. I like the tight 5 less Kepu but with the injuries I can live with him there. I like the centres and I just hope they get ball they can run onto. I’m not sure of white as I just haven’t seen him play for so long but the reports are good so hopefully he can keep the Boks on the back foot. I do worry about the pace in the wings and the Boks speedsters could be a problem. I actually think the Wallabies can win but it won’t be easy

    • Huw Tindall

      7As and Sio both picked up injuries. Rodda, Hooper and Isi clearly deserve their spots. 6 was always going to be a big unit and Valentini is just too raw.

    • UTG

      Why would LSL and Kepu receive cards? LSL didn’t receive one all Super and, unlike his replacement, Kepu wasn’t receiving a card for shoulder charges every month.

      There are 5 Brumbies starting and 3 Rebels and Tahs. The Tahs get to 7 only because of those picked on the bench. What other Brumbies would you pick that were available instead of these reserves?

      Naisarani has been the front-runner for 8 all season and far and away the best attacking 8 in Australia. I don’t buy your claims that he’s going to be ‘bent in half by the Boks defence’. Again, who else available is going to do a better job?

      • Brumby Runner

        UTG you are pretty much on the mark, but I for one would have had Valetini in place of Dempsey in an instant. One had a solid super season and has potential to be an outstanding back rower, while the other hardly played any minutes at all over the year.
        Best that can be said in the circumstances is that it is a big step up from Hanigan.

        • UTG

          I’m a big fan of Valetini and wouldn’t have minded him on the bench at all. I guess Dempsey is there to cover 6-7-8 because Valetini couldn’t have really covered 7 if Hooper went down. If Samu wasn’t injured he’d probably be the perfect bench cover. I’m hoping we might see Valetini get a start against the Argies at home.

    • Braveheart81

      I’m not really sure what the alternative was in the forwards. There would be three extra Brumbies in the 23 with 6 or 7 starters if three of them hadn’t been withdrawn through injury.

      • Brumby Runner

        True enough BH, but my concern is the injuries. Christian is probably still feeling his shoulder from the Sharks quarter final, but he played the whole of the semi v the Jaguares, so probably could have fronted for the test .

        On the other hand, the two front rowers were apparently uninjured prior to entering the training camp. It was widely expected that they would form the Wallabies front row along with Fainga’a as they had been an outstanding combination right throughout the Super season. A lot of hopes for the Wallabies hinged on the Brumbies tight five but now they’re broken. Shades of the infamous early season training camp that left four top players out of the game for varying periods. I fear that training for the Wallabies is more risky than actually playing.

        • Braveheart81

          I agree with you that Leali’ifano could have probably played if needed but we’re now at game 1 of a potential 12 tests. Why would you risk him now? It’s the complete opposite of trying to get one more game out of him in the Super Rugby finals. I expect he’ll get his start in the next few weeks (possibly next week).

          We’ve got three injured props from training with very different injuries. I’m not sure you can put it down to much more than bad luck. Alaalatoa’s is presumably not too bad as he’s stayed on as the emergency 5th prop. If he was completely unable to play he’d have flown home and they’d have had to bring over extra cover.

        • Brumby Runner

          Doesn’t alter the fact that the injuries were sustained at training. These blokes are not fragile, so there must be questions raised about what goes on at training.

          Maybe selection in the Wallabies squad should be accompanied by a health risk warning?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Braveheart looks like he is just trying to be argumentative. Cheika has a long history of injuring players in his training camps – this is the continuation of this trend.

          Even after suffering a few prop injuries, it eeems like Cheika didn’t wrap the remaining ones in cotton wool as would have been logical.

        • Who?

          Makes sense – because he loves to select on INTENSITY on the training paddock. Even if it means the guys run out on Saturday looking exhausted. :-(

      • McWarren

        BH I was trying, badly, to make the point that we will not be able to implement a Brumbies style of forwards play with only 3 of them in the eight.

    • Howard

      You do realise that 3 Brumbies that would have been in the 23 were sent home with injuries? If they weren’t injured Brums probably would of had 8 and the Tahs probably 5, Shit happens and it’s not some kind of conspiracy

      • Brumby Runner

        No, but the training paddock certainly seems to a danger zone for injuries. I’d warrant there have been more injuries to Wallabies players on the training track than they collectively would have suffered in the whole of the Super season. Most certainly on a pro rate basis but probably also in absolute numbers.

      • McWarren

        Assuming CLL would have been picked over Foley, which I doubt. But my main point wasn’t of the conspiracy type, more the reference in the article that we may implement a Brumbies forward style of play. I just don’t see that happening when 5 of the pack aren’t Brumbies and I don’t think the coaching staff have the ability to teach those 5 guys how to play that style of game, not in the space of a couple of weeks. I agree they don’t have much choice re selections as a result of the injuries. Sorry to disappoint on the conspiracy front, but I’d drop LSL for Jones or Valentini or Dempsey or Cottrel or McCaffrey (playing Naisirani at 6 McCaffrey at 8). I’d also pick Matt Phillip over Rodda and Simmons. But I don’t understand the optimism in the comments when our two form props are missing and they are replaced by Kepu, who I have consistently picked as my first choice for years, but hasn’t had a good season and HJH who I am really excited about seeing develop into our next generation of front rowers but will be found out at scrum time at the moment. If you want a conspiracy theory, why HJH over Hoopert who is by far the better scrummager? We have no pace in the backline except for Banks? Why? Why is Hodge in the team when you have Banks and White with monster boots and maybe JOC.

        • Howard

          Fair call on the Brumbies style of play without Brumbies.I think you overstate Hooperts scrumaging. I think JP Smith would have made a better point.

        • McWarren

          I used Hooper as the example as he is closer in age to HJH. Smith is 29, Hoopert is what 20?

    • joy

      It’s great to hear from a pessimist (or is that realist?) All good except the hoot bit.

  • adastra32

    Perception is often interesting. As in, how curious that experienced WB players with good reputations – BUT returning from (presumably inferior) overseas teams – are viewed more negatively than a rookie Tahs front rower – who, if he comes on, may well be at some risk of being handed his backside on a plate by his SA oppos.

    • Geoffro

      given the type of game likely to be played I’ve no doubt that he’s going to get more than a few minutes , these forwards starting are going to be absolutely buggered at the back end and the last 20 or so is usually when the game is taken from us in the thin air but a few of the Boks forwards dont have a lot of minutes this season gone and will be struggling too.I reckon White will be well suited to the type of game to be played and if Genia and Beale have got their mojo’s on they could be key coming in against a tiring defense

    • UTG

      Who are these experienced WB loose heads returning from OS we could play in front of HJH?

      • adastra32

        Said players, not loose heads in particular: White, but also Beale, Toomua.

        • UTG

          Ah, I see what you mean now. I thought you meant there were some Wallaby front-rowers returning from overseas that would be more prepared than HJH but were viewed negatively by the selectors.

  • sambo6

    Thanks for the review Nathan…but to pick on one little thing….’renewed optimism’……

    Said every team…..ever….before a game is played…..

    Sort of like Mike Tyson’s famous words…’everyone has a plan……until they get punched in the mouth’

  • Hoss

    Nathan, Nathan, nathan – ‘Wallabies by 5’. We use to hang traitors like you, I miss the good ‘ol days.

    Wallabies by 16. You heard it here first !

  • Brumby Runner

    I expect the Wallabies to win this game and by a reasonable margin (> 12 points).

    The Saffa side is not their strongest with many second choice players in the lineup and quite a few of their top players resuming from injuries.

    The Brumbies beat every one of their sides in the Super season and hence provide a very strong base for the Wallabies to dominate at this level.

    Anything less than a comfortable win will be (should be) unacceptable.

    • Braveheart81

      I reckon this is a stitch up for the Wallabies. How you could possibly argue they are strong favourites is beyond me. The Brumbies were very good this year but the only South African team they played away were the Stormers who were the worst of the South African teams and don’t play at altitude.

      • UTG

        Don’t worry, we’ll hear all about how SA were playing their B team and a win means nothing if we get up.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Sadly, it is sort of true. I don’t like it when the Saffas do this in World Cup years, undermines the comp. I guess it is their right though.

        • UTG

          As was said above, it’s more of an A- side from the Saffas. We’re also not at full-strength and any victory in SA shouldn’t be written off.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          They’re lacking Marx (their best player) and Pollard (their best back). The Boks do have great depth in a lot of positions though.

          Regardless, it isn’t a full strength side. Although a win at altitude would still be a great achievement. However, would not be evidence that we are better than the Boks, in my view.

        • UTG

          We’re equally missing at least 4 or 5 players (not including reserves). It would be evidence we’re better than the Boks in my view.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          See, that’s the problem with Aussie fans, in my opinion. We’re coming off our worst season in about 50 years, having had below 50% win ratios every year since the last World Cup; we are ranked below South Africa; we are playing a team that almost 2-0d the All Blacks last year and actually beat England 2-0 in the home series before playing their second string side; and playing against a second string side that was already as decimated by injuries as us and who are purposefully leaving out their best forward and best back, who is also their playmaker (both of whom are available);

          and yet you want to say that one win over that team would be evidence we’re better.

          No wonder we’re never able to take an honest appraisal of the Wallabies and the players we’re using.

        • UTG

          In 2017 we drew with South Africa home and away. Last year we beat them at home and they beat us when they were at home. There’s been nothing between the two sides in the last two years despite the Wallabies having a torrid run of form. If we win away with a team that is missing 5 starters then, yes, I’d be happy to call us a better side and would say we’re favourites if we come up against them in the RWC.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          In 2017, the Boks were coached by Coetzee. Despite probably being the worst South African side for 100 years, we couldn’t have a positive record against Coetzee’s Boks.

          ‘Missing 5 starters’.

          This is a Bok team missing 12-15 starters.

          Also, comparing H2H is silly. Using that logic, Scotland from 08-12 would have been a better team than the Wallabies. Performances against the entirety of the field is a much more accurate indicator.

        • UTG

          Head to head is only silly if the teams don’t play regularly, you can’t just use the marginal case and apply it to every scenario. In fact, head to head is far superior when teams play regularly because different sides have different strengths and weaknesses that are suitable/non-suitable for different opposition.

          I was saying we have 5 starters out not South Africa but, anyway, saying they are missing 15 starters is a wild exaggeration.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          No, that’s nonsensical. Because using your logic if we win:

          Australia would be a better team than South Africa; South Africa would be a better team than England; and England would be a better team than Australia.

          The most you could say would be that Australia matches up well against South Africa and would be favourite head to head. But, again, this is a Boks side lacking 12-15 first choice players. The locks, PSDT and maybe Louw are the only guys I could potentially see starting for a first string Boks. Even then, given EE’s injuries it would probably be Mostert + Snyman.

        • UTG

          That’s not my logic at all, I’ve not suggested anywhere that better/worse needs to be in devised in some transitive preference relation style construct. In fact, I’ve said the opposite, better/worse is not likely to be transitive as different teams have different strengths that match up better/worse against different sides. South Africa’s playing style may allow them to beat England while they lose to a team, Australia, that would lose to England.

          Anyway, we veer off-track. I just think you’re doing all you can not to give any credit to the current setup, if you write off an understrengthened Wallabies side win over South Africa at altitude.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Look at the results of the team – the current Wallabies deserve no credit. They’ve had 3 losing seasons, lost two home series and last year was the worst season since the 1950s.

          This year’s team looks better selected, however. Hopefully the coaching improves also.

        • Brumby Runner

          Not correct, at least in my book, UTG. The relative weakness of the Bokke team means that we should (and expect to) win by a reasonably good margin. If we win, then a fair to good effort with no excuses for the Saffas. If we lose, then totally unacceptable.

        • UTG

          I will hold you to it.

      • Brumby Runner

        And all of those Stormers and Sharks players in the side don’t regularly play at altitude either. Altitude surely can’t be an excuse for a loss or poor performance – the team has been over there for two weeks already, hurting and injuring themselves in preparation.

        There was a bees dick between the Saffa Super sides all season. Where the Stormers finished is really not relevant.

        • Braveheart81

          There must be something in it because the Wallabies record at Durban and Cape Town is amazingly better than playing at altitude (Jo’burg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein).

  • Mark Leo

    HJH is a real go getter around the paddock. Anybody else think he could be converted into a world class hooker? If his lineout throwing was up to scratch then his all round ability would make him very valuable to Australian rugby.

    • Max Graham

      I think he can be a world class prop. No chance, ever, ever that he could be a hooker. None.

      • Mark Leo

        Fair enough Max. Worth considering though. His game around the paddock with the enthusiasm he brings plus mobility and turnover capability is better than any of our current hookers can offer.

        • Max Graham

          I really like the guy and think he was the Oz find of the season. I’m not as pessimistic as you regarding the hookers though. Latu could be anything if he can keep keep out of trouble and I reckon Uelese looks like the complete package. He can be a superstar and even a future captain. Then we have a raft of promising players who are still very young; including Fainga’a, Mafi and Fitzpatrick. If only we had such depth at 10/12, where the cupboard is very bare.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Well GAGR’s the squad is a lot better than I thought it would be. The DDF squad is not really a B Team more A-
    Our reserve forwards may get monstered a little. And with Foley we have waht we have. Considering the broader squad he had this ok. Now lets see if Cheika has changed his game plan accordingly.
    BL’s prediction DDF by 4.

  • laurence king

    Hi GAGR’S, been away for a while. Have I missed anything?
    Well, well well, this is what a side looks like when Mr Cheiks doesn’t get it all his own way. Would we call this a post-Waratah era?

    • Hoss

      Welcome back Mr King. That’s two Taswegians on here now. Another 4 and we will have the whole set.

      • Parker

        At the risk of sounding too intimate with a guy I’ve only met online, I will say Hoss, that you know where my laugh button is. Your comments rarely miss hitting the spot.

        • Hoss

          Does this mean we are dating?

  • Max Graham

    Wallabies are somehow worse in 2019. That game was depressing. We don’t look like a side that has a plan – we just scurry around and hope that somehow the scoreboard has us in front after 80 mins.

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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