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2022 Rugby Championship: Round 3 match previews

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 18: Len Ikitau of the Wallabies celebrates scoring a try during The Rugby Championship match between the Australian Wallabies and the South Africa Springboks at Suncorp Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

It’s tight at the top of the 2022 Rugby Championship, with each country winning and losing a Test match apiece.

After two rounds of the 2022 Rugby Championship, Argentina leads the tournament on points difference following their 48-17 blowout victory over Australia in San Juan.

South Africa started the campaign with a memorable 26-10 record win over New Zealand in Mbombela.

The Springboks now, however, find themselves in last place after they were blown away in the closing quarter of their second Test (23-35) by the All Blacks at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.


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While Argentina leads the competition, they are only one point ahead of South Africa in fourth.

These results have left the tournament on a knife edge and it also demonstrates how anything can happen in one week of international rugby.

Los Pumas will be fairly pleased to be leading the tournament after their two Tests against the Wallabies in South America.

South Africa will not be happy with being in last place after two home matches, despite a rare win over the All Blacks.

The Boks have a lot to do down under where they haven’t won against Australia since 2013. In fact, the Springboks have only won four Test matches in Australia since 1994.

Argentina will be out to win a first-ever Test match in New Zealand, but history is against the Pumas in this fixture.

The Pumas did, however, create history when they defeated the All Blacks 25-15 for the first time in Newcastle, Australia in the 2020 Tri-Nations series.

But the Kiwis gained revenge with three wins on the trot since nilling the South Americans twice in succession (38-0 and 39-0) before blowing out the Argies 36-13 in the 2021 Rugby Championship in Brisbane.


Australia v South Rugby Championship Round 3 Preview

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has made six changes to his Australian side after their thrashing against Argentina in San Juan.

Allan Alaalatoa and Andrew Kellaway are among a host of stars named for their return as Rennie named his side to face South Africa in Adelaide.

Alaalatoa will start at tighthead prop after leaving Argentina due to a family bereavement. He is joined by the returning Folau Fainga’a (concussion) and captain James Slipper.

Lock Matt Philip also earns a call-up, partnering with Rory Arnold to complete the tight-five.

Meanwhile, Kellaway will return via the bench after overcoming a hamstring injury that has ruled him out of the past four Tests.

Rennie has gone with a 6-2 split to combat South Africa’s ‘Bomb Squad’, with Kellaway and Tate McDermott the lone backs on the bench.

They are joined by the returning Dave Porecki (concussion) and Scott Sio (neck), with Taniela Tupou to inject energy off the bench.

“It’s great to have a number of experienced players back in the mix this weekend,” Rennie said in a statement.

“We understand that respect is earned daily and we get an opportunity to earn it against the current World Champions on Saturday afternoon.”

In further changes, Reece Hodge has been elevated to fullback, pushing Tom Wright to the wing.

Hodge started in the final Test against England in Sydney, with Marika Koroibete rounding out the back three.

Noah Lolesio has won the race to start at flyhalf, partnering with Brumnies teammate Nic White. Queensland Reds inside centre Hunter Paisami reunites with Len Ikitau after he missed the previous Test due to a head knock.

The Wallabies will play in Adelaide for the first time since 2004 as part of a doubleheader with the Wallaroos and Black Ferns.

“It’s really motivating to be back at home in front of our supporters, especially in Adelaide, a place we haven’t played at in 18 years,” Rennie added.

Jacques Nienaber rings the changes to his Jekyll and Hyde side for the first Test of this crucial double header down under.

Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber has handed Warrick Gelant a start on the right wing and recalled scrumhalf Faf de Klerk in the only two changes to his starting team.

Gelant takes over from Jesse Kriel on the wing, while De Klerk has completed his return to play protocol after missing the second Test against New Zealand due to concussion.

De Klerk slots in for the impressive Jaden Hendrikse, who drops to the bench.

Nienaber also made three changes to the replacements bench, which features a rare 5-3 split, where Hendrikse takes over from Herschel Jantjies.

Elton Jantjies will provide flyhalf cover and Frans Steyn additional cover at the back. Willie le Roux and Jasper Wiese are not in the match-23 this weekend.

Nienaber said: “We also feel it is important to give the likes of Ox (Nche), Joseph (Dweba) and Duane (Vermeulen) another opportunity to further build combinations and give them valuable game time as we build toward the Rugby World Cup next year.”

Of the decision to switch from a six-two to a five-three split on the bench, Nienaber said: “We looked at what Australia will bring to the game, and that combined with our need to give Elton (Jantjies) and Frans Steyn some vital game time, prompted us to select five forwards and three backs on the bench.

“With Franco (Mostert) and Kwagga (Smith) on the bench, we will have cover at lock and loose forward, while Frans Steyn’s versatility will also be handy as he can cover centre and fullback.

“These changes obviously mean that Willie (Le Roux), Jasper (Wiese) and Herschel (Jantjies) lose out, but we know what we have in them and what they bring to the team.”

Nienaber expects an onslaught from Australia, who are looking to make up for their thrashing at the hands of Argentina.

Nienaber expects a big onslaught from the Wallabies who will be equally determined to bounce back from their defeat against Argentina. He said: “Australia are always a tough force at home and the fact that we haven’t beaten them here since 2013 is evidence of that.

“Much like us, they will also want to bounce back after going down against Argentina, so we expect them to come out firing.

“The fact that this will be the first Test between the teams in Adelaide will serve as extra motivation for both teams this weekend, so we are preparing for another epic encounter against them.”

The 49-year-old added: “We had a thorough review of our last match against New Zealand, and we have identified the areas of our game in which we need to improve.

“We know we need to make a big step up in the quality of our performance to start the tour on a positive note, and that is a big objective for us this weekend.”

The Bookies have given Australia a 4-point start for this Match – with an offer of up to $200 in Bonus bets.

Matches played: 90
Won by Australia: 39
Won by South Africa: 48
Played in Australia:  40
Matches played in Australia and won by Australia: 26
Draws: 3

Match: Australia v South Africa
Date: Saturday 27 August
Venue: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Kick-off: 02:30 ARG/07:30 RSA/15:00 AUS local [15:30 Sydney]/17:30 NZ
Referee: Paul Williams [NZ]
Assistant Ref 1: Ben O’Keeffe [NZ]
Assistant Ref 2: Tual Trainini [FRA]
TMO: Brendon Pickerill [NZ]

Teams

Australia

15 Reece Hodge, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Hunter Paisami, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Matt Philip, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper (captain)

Replacements: 16 David Porecki, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Pete Samu, 22 Tate McDermott, 23 Andrew Kellaway

South Africa

15 Damian Willemse, 14 Warrick Gelant, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche

Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Francois Steyn


New Zealand v Argentina Rugby Championship Round 3 Preview

New Zealand named an unchanged starting lineup for their Rugby Championship clash against Argentina in Christchurch.

It is the first time in four years that the All Blacks have named an unchanged starting XV in a bid to steady the ship after a season of negativity and poor results.

The Kiwis have lost three Tests this season, two to Ireland and one versus the Springboks, but bounced back at Ellis Park in the second Test of their South Africa leg of the Rugby Championship.

All Blacks selectors Ian Foster, Joe Schmidt and Jason Ryan have announced the match-day 23 for the Test against Argentina at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch.

One change has been made to the team that beat South Africa 35-23 in Johannesburg, with the uncapped Stephen Perofeta in line to make his Test debut as first-five-eighths cover.

Richie Mo’unga remains at first five, while Beauden Barrett has been made unavailable due to a neck injury sustained at training.

The rest of the side remains unchanged, providing an opportunity to build on combinations, which includes the front row group of Ethan de Groot, Samisoni Taukei’aho and Tyrel Lomax.

George Bower, Codie Taylor and Fletcher Newell will again provide cover from the bench as the Kiwis look for stability and cohesion within the team.

The All Blacks are excited by their first trip to Christchurch since 2016.

“It’s great for us to be able to return to Christchurch,” Foster said. “The All Blacks have such a rich history here and it’s exciting to build on that.

“The recent form of Argentina makes this a Test one that we are looking forward to. And the fact that the Rugby Championship is incredibly even, means this Test is vital to us.”

Saturday will see a special milestone achieved by one of the team’s key players. New Zealand’s most capped international halfback Aaron Smith (107), will mark his 100th Test start when the sides kick off their Rugby Championship clash.

Argentina is set to play in New Zealand for the first time since 2018. The All Blacks have played them 37 times since 1976. This will be just the third meeting between the sides in Christchurch.

Michael Cheika unveiled a strengthened backline after making three changes to the side that thumped Australia 48-17 in San Juan in round two of the 2022 Rugby Championship.

Michael Cheika beefed up his backline for what will be a brutal battle against New Zealand. All three changes to Cheika’s starting XV were forced.

Cheika also overhauled his bench as he looks to retain the winning feeling in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Test veterans Juan Imhoff and Jeronimo de la Fuente both miss out in the team that thrashed the Wallabies in South America, Prop Francisco Gomez Kodela also misses out.

Joel Sclavi and Lucio Cinti come back into the side. Cinto goes to the left wing for Imhoff, while Matías Orlando moves to the inside centre.

Matías Moroni is restored in place of De la Fuente and reunites with old centre partner Orlando in the midfield.

Cheika said: “New Zealand have a big backline, so we’ve got some big players there too – maybe – counter that.

“This team is a combination of what we saw from the last game, and the chance to see a few different things.”

Joel Sclavi starts at tighthead prop after Cheika changed all five forwards on the bench.

Sclavi starts at tighthead prop, but fellow front-row forwards Augustin Creevy and Nahul Tetaz Chaparro are not touring Australasia, returning to their European clubs.

Facundo Isa and Rodrigo Bruni also drop out of the matchday squad.

Santiago Socino, Mayco Vivas, Eduardo Bello, Guido Petti and Santiago Grondona all take a seat on the sideline.

Petti who missed the series against Australia is now available. The 27-year-old utility forward comes into the side on the bench. Petti will earn his 70th cap and become the 20th most capped player for Argentina.

“It’s good competition at the moment, there are lots of difficult [selection] duels, and there will be a lot of new energy from the finishing team,” he added.

The Bookies have given Argentina a 21-point start for this Match – with an offer of up to $200 in Bonus bets.

Matches played: 33
Won by New Zealand: 31
Won by Argentina: 1
Played in New Zealand: 17
Matches played in New Zealand and won by New Zealand:16
Draws: 1

Match: New Zealand v Argentina
Date: Saturday 27 August
Venue: Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off local:04:45 ARG/09:45 RSA/ 17:45 AUS/19:45 NZ
Referee: Nika Amashukeli [Georgia]
Assistant Ref: Nic Berry [AUS]
Assistant Ref 2: Jordan Way [AUS]
TMO: Brian McNeice [IRL]

Teams

New Zealand

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 David Havili, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Ethan de Groot

Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 George Bower, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Stephen Perofeta, 23 Quinn Tupaea

Argentina

15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando, 11 Lucio Cinti, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Pablo Matera, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez Samso, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Joel Sclavi, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Thomas Gallo

Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Santiago Grondona, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Tomas Albornoz, 23 Santiago Cordero

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