2022 Rugby Championship: Round 6 match previews – Super Rugby Pacific

New Zealand and South Africa both have a chance at glory after the closest tournament since the Tr-Nations became The Rugby Championship.

All four countries had a realistic chance at winning this year’s southern hemisphere title despending on their Rugby Championship Round Five results.

The 2022 Rugby Championship has reached the final round of the tournament and it all comes down to this weekend.

New Zealand edged Australia 39-37 in a thrilling but controversial Bledisloe Cup Test match in Melbourne, while South Africa scored twice late against Argentina to claim a bonus point and keep their alive tournament hopes.

The All Blacks lead the tournament standings by 14 points. South Africa also has 14 points but they are 13 points behind the Kiwis in points differential.

If both South Africa and New Zealand win their matches, it could come down to whoever grabs a bonus point win. Moreover, if the teams match each other in earning bonus points, it will come down to points difference.

South Africa would need to beat Argentina by a greater margin than New Zealand beat Australia.

Australia and Argentina, however, have both delivered some upsets this year, so really anything could happen and anyone could beat anyone.

One major advantage that South Africa hold is that as they play second, and they will know the result from the New Zealand and Australia’s match in Auckland. The Springboks will therefore know exactly what they have to do to win the title.

New Zealand doesn’t have that luxury, and the defending champions will have to go all out for a big result that will push them far enough ahead of South Africa and into safety.

New Zealand v Australia Rugby Championship Rd.6 Preview

Injuries hamper All Blacks, who will have a new captain when Sam Whitelock takes over from Sam Cane in Bledisloe Cup II at Eden Park, Auckland.

The All Blacks have named Sam Whitelock to lead their team in their Bledisloe Cup clash with the Wallabies.

Injuries have forced changes to the All Blacks team that defeated Australia in Melbourne. Captain Sam Cane, Scott Barrett, David Havili and Quinn Tupaea unavailable for selection this week.

With Whitelock as captain, the All Blacks have also brought No.8 Ardie Savea back from parental leave.

He will take his place in a loose forward trio featuring Dalton Papali’i at openside flanker and Akira Ioane on the blindside.

With Havili and Tupaea out of the midfield selection frame, the All Blacks have retained a key combination that finished the Bledisloe Cup Test in Melbourne. Jordie Barrett will play second-five eighths while brother Beauden will stay at fullback.

The front row sees experienced hooker Codie Taylor selected in the run-on side while Samisoni Taukei’aho will provide cover, alongside props Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Nepo Laulala.

Lock Tupou Vaa’i, midfielder Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and outside back Sevu Reece are the other new faces added to the reserves.

“This year’s Rugby Championship is so tightly contested and our group is continuing to make shifts to improve,” said All Blacks head coach Ian Foster. “We are determined to finish the tournament strongly and we know that Australia will throw everything at us. This is what Test match rugby is all about and we can’t wait.

“Saturday’s sold-out double-header at Eden Park is special for our two national teams. We are right in behind the Black Ferns as they take on Japan and we all wish them well.”

Meanwhile, Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has recalled backrower Harry Wilson for the second Bledisloe Test. Wilson last played against England in Sydney, reverting to his favoured number eight.

This pushes Rob Valetini to blindside flanker, with Rob Leota (Achilles) ruled out for the rest of the season.

He is joined by Cadeyrn Neville, who has fully recovered from a knee injury as he partners Jed Holloway in the second-row following a sternum injury to Matt Philip.

“It’s great to have Cadeyrn available and Harry’s been working really hard to earn another opportunity in the gold jersey, so we’re excited for both of them,” Rennie said in a statement.

“The side parked the disappointment of the last Test early in the week and we have plenty to play for in Auckland on Saturday night.”

The backline remains unchanged, with Jake Gordon and Bernard Foley once again combining in the halves.

Waratahs prop Angus Bell will make his first appearance of this year’s Rugby Championship, selected on the bench.

New Zealand’s All Blacks have played Australia’s Wallabies 174 times and the All Blacks have won 121 matches, lost 45 times and drawn eight times.

The All Blacks 121 wins out of 174 matches gives them a record of winning 70% of their matches against the Wallabies regardless of venue.

This weekend the match will be played in Auckland, New Zealand which is home for the All Blacks.

New Zealand have had home advantage in 80 of the 171 matches. In those 80 home matches played on New Zealand soil the All Blacks have won 62 matches and lost 15.

This gives the All Blacks a record of winning 79% of their Rugby Championship matches against the Wallabies at home in New Zealand.

Last five results.
15-Sep-22 Australia 37-39 New Zealand Marvel Stadium
5-Sep-21 Australia 21-38 New Zealand Optus Stadium
14-Aug-21 New Zealand 57-22 Australia Eden Park
7-Aug-21 New Zealand 33-25 Australia Eden Park
07-Nov-20 Australia 24-22 New Zealand Suncorp Stadium

The bookies have given Australia a 16 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to $200 in Bonus bets.

Match :New Zealand v Australia
Date : Saturday 24 September
Venue :Eden Park, Auckland
Kick Off local: 04:05 ARG/09:05 RSA/17:05 AUS [AEST]/19:05 NZ
Referee:Andrew Brace [IRE]
Assistant Ref 1:Matthieu Raynal [FRA]
Assistant Ref 2:Pierre Brousset [FRA]
TMO :Ben Whitehouse [WAL]


New Zealand

Beauden Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Dalton Papali’i, Akira Iaone, Sam Whitelock (c), Brodie Retallick, Tyrel Lomax, Codie Taylor, Ethan De Groot.

Replacements: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Tupou Vaa’i, Hoskins Sotutu, Finlay Christie, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Sevu Reece.


Andrew Kellaway; Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Lalakai Foketi, Marika Koroibete; Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon; Rob Valetini, Pete Samu, Rob Leota; Matt Philip, Jed Holloway; Allan Alaalatoa, David Porecki, James Slipper (capt)

Replacements: Folau Fainga’a, Scott Sio, Pone Fa’amausili, Darcy Swain, Fraser McReight, Nic White, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia

South Africa v Argentina Rugby Championship Rd.6 Preview

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber made only two changes to his starting team for Saturday’s final round Rugby Championship Test against Argentina. Nienaber has also opted to name six forwards and two backs on the replacements bench.

Experienced utility back Frans Steyn will start at flyhalf in place of the injured Damian Willemse, while Pieter Steph du Toit returns to the starting lineup at flanker in place of Franco Mostert, who will provide an impact off the bench.

The notable changes amongst the replacements are the return of hooker Bongi Mbonambi, who makes a welcome return from a knee injury, and Kurt-Lee Arendse, who has completed his suspension following a dangerous tackle last month.

Mbonambi will be joined by strong reinforcements in Vincent Koch (prop) and Duane Vermeulen (No 8), who join Mostert and Kwagga Smith as the forwards on the bench.

Faf de Klerk and Arendse, meanwhile, will provide cover amongst the backs, with De Klerk earmarked as the back-up scrumhalf and flyhalf cover, while Arendse will cover fullback and wing depending on how the match unfolds.

The Springboks are currently level on 14 points with New Zealand on the Rugby Championship log and trail the All Blacks by 13 points on points’ difference. The Boks, however, will know exactly what they need to do in the match to clinch the title when they take the field as the All Blacks will host Australia in Auckland earlier in the day.

“We showed in the first half last week what we are capable of and our fighting spirit in the dying minutes was admirable,” said Nienaber.

“That made it easy for us to opt for continuity in selection in the starting lineup. Obviously the one change was injury enforced as Damian Willemse has been ruled out due to concussion, and we were pleased the calmness Frans Steyn brought at flyhalf when Damian left the field.

“The energy and enthusiasm Pieter-Steph has been showing at training has also been great, and we know what he is capable of in this loose trio, so I am sure he will make an impact among the loose forwards.”

South Africa’s Springboks have played Argentina’s Pumas 33 times and the Springboks have won 29 matches, lost 3 times and drawn once.

The Springboks 29 wins out of 33 matches gives them a record of winning 88% of their matches against the Pumas regardless of venue.

This weekend the match will be played in South Africa so the Springboks will have home advantage as they have done in 14 of the 33 matches.

In those 14 home matches played on South Africa soil the Springboks have won 13 matches and lost once.

This gives the Springboks a record of winning 93% of their Rugby Championship matches against the Pumas at home in South Africa.

Last five results 
17-Sep-22 Argentina 20-36 South Africa Estadio Libertadores de America
21-Aug-21 Argentina 10-29 South Africa Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
14-Aug-21 South Africa 32-12 Argentina Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
17-Aug-19 South Africa 24-18 Argentina Pretoria
10-Aug-19 Argentina 13-46 South Africa Salta

The Bookies have given Argentina an 18 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to $200 in Bonus bets.

Match : South Africa v Argentina
Date :Saturday 24 September
Venue :Kings Park, Durban
Kick Off local:12:05 ARG/17:05 RSA/ 02:05 AUS [AEST Sunday 25]/04:05 NZ [Sunday 25]
Referee: Damon Murphy [AUS]
Assistant Ref : Frank Murphy [IRE]
Assistant Ref 2:Andrea Piardi [ITA]
TMO : Chris Hart [NZ]


South Africa

Willie le Roux, Canan Moodie, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Makazole Mapimpi, Frans Steyn, Jaden Hendrikse, Jasper Wiese, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (capt), Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Ox Nche, Vincent Koch, Franco Mostert, Duane Vermeulen, Kwagga Smith, Faf de Klerk, Kurt-Lee Arendse.


To follow.


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