This year’s Rugby Championship is the gift that keeps on giving, and week five saw Australia and New Zealand play out an absolute stormer of a game that hinged on a controversial refereeing call, with the fallout still continuing.
While in Buenos Aires, the Springboks secured a bonus point victory against Argentina, a result that saw South Africa tied on 14 points with New Zealand at the top of the Rugby Championship table with just one match to go.
So read on as we take a full look at the action and talking points from a riveting week five in the Rugby Championship.
All Blacks Seal Controversial Win
These Trans-Tasman rivals battled it out in Melbourne on Thursday evening with the Bledisloe Cup on the line, alongside vital Rugby Championship points. The duo didn’t disappoint as the Wallabies, and All Blacks played out a thriller, sharing 76 points and with the match decided on a massive call from French referee Mathieu Raynal.
It was a furious start in the Marvel Stadium as the All Blacks blasted their way to a 10-0 lead in under 15 minutes through a converted try from hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho and a penalty from Richie Mo’unga. The Wallabies hit back quickly, bagging a converted try of their own and a penalty from Brendan Foley to see the sides go in tied 10-10 at half-time.
After the break, however, the game exploded into life, with New Zealand running in three converted tries to put them in what looked like a match-winning position. The Wallabies weren’t to be done, though, and in reply, they also scored three converted tries, including two from Andrew Kellaway.
Australia looked set for an unlikely victory when Nic White slotted over a penalty to put his side 37-34 up with less than three minutes to go. But what three minutes was in store as New Zealand were handed a lifeline after Brendan Foley was deemed to have been time-wasting after his side had been awarded a penalty.
Referee Mathieu Raynal called for an All Blacks scrum, and from that set piece, Jordie Barrett scored a try to land the win for the visitors in controversial style. These rivals now head to Eden Park in Auckland as the All Blacks look to land a victory that could see them crowned Rugby Championship winners, but they’ll face an almighty battle against an Australian side bristling with rage.
Springboks Strike Late
South Africa moved level on points with New Zealand in the table after a hard-fought victory over Argentina in Bueno Aires. The Springboks powered into a 22-6 lead at half-time on the back of three tries, one of which was a penalty try.
However, the visitors started the second half in slow fashion and with signs of ill-discipline that saw them reduced to 13 men for a period. And the Pumas were quick to strike with their numerical advantage, scoring two tries to put them within two points of the Springboks.
South Africa showed their class, though, scoring two converted tries in the last six minutes as Argentina tired, eventually winning 36-20. The Springboks are still in the mix for the Rugby Championship title, and they know that a bonus point victory over Argentina this Saturday in Durban, coupled with the result in Auckland, could see them lift the title.