Can South Africa beat the All Blacks for the second time in a row? They upset them in Wellington three weeks ago, and victory at Loftus Versfeld would make this a very successful campaign for Rassie Erasmus’ men. By comparison, despite winning the tournament, a loss here would feel like a very poor RC for Steve Hansen’s side.
Odds on South Africa beating the All Blacks at Loftus 2018: 19/5
Odds on All Blacks beat Springboks at Loftus 2018: 3/10
Argentina can condemn Australia to last place in the Rugby Championship if they win at home. The Pumas beat the Wallabies on the Gold Coast, and another loss might see the powers that be at the A R U move to sack Michael Cheika before the November tour.
Argentina are being quoted at 16/19, while the Wallabies are at 6/5.
New Zealand will look to bounce back from their shock loss against South Africa in Wellington when they take on the Pumas at Velez Sarsfield. For Argentina, this represents one of their best opportunities to beat the All Blacks after running them close in Nelson and beating Australia on the Gold Coast in Round 4.
Victories for Argentina and South Africa would keep the Rugby Championship alive, with the potential of a mouth watering decider in Pretoria next week (a la the 2013 clash between the Springboks and the All Blacks at Ellis Park, regarded as one of the best games this decade)
South Africa v Australia: SA 2/5, Aus 11/4, Draw 33/1
South Africa lost to Australia in Brisbane in Round 3- the Wallabies’ only victory of the RC so far. Michael Cheika’s side had lineout issues in the loss to Argentina and Port Elizabeth being a windy city may not do much to improve stats on that front.
The Springboks will be without No.8 Warren Whiteley and the midfield pairing of Damian De Allende and Lukhanyo Am, all injured in the loss against the All Blacks.
Argentina v New Zealand: Argentina 15/2, Draw 50/1, All Blacks 1/8
The All Blacks have never lost in the Rugby Championship in Argentina, but the Pumas are brimming with confidence and will be backed by a partisan crowd. The All Black pack lacks a bit of experience, with skipper Kieran Read not making the trip to South America, and this could be an area for the Pumas to target.
The Rugby Championship has retained the same schedule for this year as it did for previous versions, and the results on the opening day of the weekend weren’t too difficult to predict- New Zealand beating Australia in Sydney and South Africa downing Argentina in Durban. Kings Park however saw only 27 000 in attendance– a far cry from the days one would’ve seen 40 or 50 000 at the venue comfortably.
New Zealand had a tough first half and so did South Africa- both teams trailed at the break to their opponents, but found their mojo in the second half to race to a comfortable win.
New Zealand will be without Ryan Crotty and Rieko Ioane this weekend, with Ngani Laumape and Jordie Barrett coming into the XV as replacements.
South Africa have effectively kept a similar squad, with the introduction of Franco Mostert for Pieter-Steph du Toit the only change in their XV. The likes of Ross Cronje, Lwazi Mvovo and Jean-luc du Preez, the last of whom was named in the Super Rugby Team of the Year for 2018, have not travelled to Argentina.
Odds for New Zealand v Australia
All Blacks: 1/14
Odds for Argentina v South Africa
Los Pumas: 23/10
South Africa: 1/2