The Wallabies’ back five forwards’ scrum engagement is so much better in 2015. Image via Wallabies Facebook
ESPNscrum.com: After the glow of The Rugby Championship, Wallabies fans came crashing back to earth with yet another Bledisloe Cup mauling at Eden Park. Just when things were looking up, the All Blacks hit their groove in the most spectacular fashion, though, the Wallabies perhaps didn’t help themselves.
And in Argentina, South Africa made short work of Los Pumas with Patrick Lambie throwing down a playmaking gauntlet that Heyneke Meyer might just find irresistible.
Here are three points to stick out from the weekend, and with eye ahead now to the Rugby World Cup:
- Australia’s scrum is ready for the north;
- News of the All Blacks demise greatly exaggerated, and
- Springboks better without Jean de Villiers?
Wycliff Palu is one of one of six changes made to the Wallabies’ starting XV for Bledisloe II in Auckland on Saturday. Image: ABC Grandstand
ESPNscrum.com: The Rugby Championship has been claimed for 2015, with the Wallabies’ 27-19 win over New Zealand in Sydney earning them their first piece of major silverware since the 2011 Tri-Nations title.
But that wasn’t the biggest boilover of the tournament – Argentina’s completely dominant 37-25 win over South Africa in Durban a few hours later takes that prize for sure and certain. It proves that Argentina still has some giant-killing life in them heading into the Rugby World Cup, and equally, it brought all the dormant fears of Springboks fans bubbling to the surface. How will Heyneke Meyer react, or indeed, over-react?
Here were a few things to stick out over the weekend:
- Argentina win rocks the world rankings;
- Cheika’s halves experimentation continues, and
- Panic stations in New Zealand?
“Augustin Creevy (no.2) already knows where the maul needs to go by the time he joins the maul, and shortly after, the Pumas start dancing the maul toward the corner, as we can see in the shot on the right. Smith was faced with four Pumas peeling off on him, and Creevy crashed over for his first Test try.”
ESPNscrum.com: If the rest of The Rugby Championship – never mind the Rugby World Cup – plays out half as well as the first weekend of matches, then we down this bottom end of the rugby world are really in for a treat.
As good as New Zealand were in what may well be Richie McCaw and Dan Carter’s last ever games in Christchurch, you had to be impressed with the way Argentina came back at them in the second half, and maybe even exposed a little chink in the almighty black armour.
The Wallabies players will take a lot of confidence out Australia’s last-ditch come-from-behind win over South Africa in Brisbane, but supporters are now taking medication for newly-diagnosed heart conditions.
Nevertheless, here were a few things to stick out over the weekend:
- Short-side lineout drive trickery;
- What to make of the Wallabies win?
- Wallabies set piece play worth revisiting
Dan Carter in heavy traffic against Samoa in Apia on Wednesday. Image: ABC Grandstand
ESPNscrum.com: What. A. Final! I don’t know how long it will take for the 2015 Super Rugby final to be topped, but only one hell of a game of rugby will beat it. The pace was relentless. The skills were outrageous. And as a spectacle, the game itself was breathless.
We had another slightly less breathless spectacle four days later when Samoa hosted the All Blacks in Apia. It’s been a big week for New Zealand rugby. Here’s a few things that stuck out: