Week four in the Rugby Championship saw a repeat of the week three fixtures, but with differing results, as South Africa and New Zealand clocked up vital wins. Once again, we’ve taken a full look at the action and talking points from a thrilling week four in the Rugby Championship.
Springboks Back to Their Best
Having been defeated 25-17 last week in Adelaide, South Africa bounced back with a dominant display in Sydney, sealing a comfortable 24-8 victory over the Wallabies.
Two first-half tries for the Springboks, including one from a potential new superstar in Canan Moodie, who scored on his international debut.
South Africa went at the break well in control, and they maintained the pressure and intensity in the second period resulting in two more tries – one for Franco Mostert and Makazole Mapimpi. The Springboks dominated the match, rarely allowing Australia any territory or try-scoring chances.
The Wallabies did score a consolation try late on, but it was far too little too late, and coach Dave Rennie must have concerns with the All Blacks next up for his team. South Africa, meanwhile, head to Argentina to face the Pumas, and with all four teams separated by just one point, it’s setting up to be a thrilling finish to this year’s Rugby Championship with two rounds to go.
All Blacks Bounce Back
Having suffered a history-making defeat in Christchurch last weekend, the pressure was on the All Blacks and their coach Ian Foster as they again faced Argentina, this time in Hamilton.
But what a difference a week makes – the All Blacks blew the Pumas away, scoring seven tries to nil, to run out 53-3 winners. New Zealand were a different outfit this week and were 17-0 up inside 25 minutes thanks to converted tries from Ethan de Groot and Caleb Clarke and a Richie Mo’unga penalty.
The Pumas replied with a penalty before Rieko Ioane crossed the whitewash to send the All Blacks in 24-3 up at half-time. And it was one-way traffic in the second half in wet conditions – the All Blacks playing some excellent rugby to run in another four tries and seal a convincing bonus point victory that moves them to the top of the standings.
Next up for New Zealand is a double-header against their Trans-Tasman rivals Australia with Rugby Championship points and the Bledisloe Cup on the line – the first clash is in Melbourne on Thursday, 15 September. And Argentina can take heart from their trip to New Zealand as they head back home to face South Africa in the first of two clashes with the Springboks.
If you missed out on last weekend’s matches, check out our Week Three roundup to get up to date.