The Final Weekend of the 2017 Rugby Championship

Australia Rugby players in action

Richard Prew

Tuesday, October 3, 2017 3:03 PM GMT

Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 3:03 PM GMT

The final two games take place this weekend. New Zealand are once more the champions, Argentina have played 5 lost 5 and incredibly South Africa and Australia have drawn against each other twice.

South Africa vs. New Zealand

11:00 am ET - Saturday, Cape Town

South Africa probably lost the opportunity to finish second in this year’s Championship with their 27-27 draw at home to Australia at the weekend.

Although South Africa remain unbeaten at home in 2017, that record now comes up against its ultimate test. The 57-0 defeat against the All Blacks in Albany in Round 4 ended any remote hopes South Africa entertained of winning the tournament, but now they could still lose the second spot to Australia who are just three points adrift in the standings.

A second draw of the season with the Wallabies saw both sides score 3 tries and favourite-backers came unstuck as South Africa started as 7.5 point favorites. The two wins over Argentina at the start of the tournament seem a long time ago now but the Springboks covered the handicap in both those matches, as they did in each of the tests against France in June which delivered a 3-0 home series win. On the early team news front, Uzair Cassiem will miss the game due to the rib injury picked up against Australia.

In the Rugby Championship era, ten head to head with New Zealand have resulted in nine defeats and the lone success came in Johannesburg in 2014. Going back to the year 2010 the All Blacks have a 14-2 lead in the head to heads (any competition) and the last two clashes have seen New Zealand score 17 unanswered tries.

The All Blacks made it 5 wins from 5 when they beat Argentina 36-10 in Buenos Aires last weekend. A number of regular starters were given a break but New Zealand put the game to bed in the first half before the foot came right off the pedal after the break. The All Blacks also covered the handicap which had been set in the early 20’s and another 5 tries earned a fourth bonus point from 5 Rugby Championship outings this season.

Odds here with Bet365 are South Africa +400 New Zealand -700 and I expect New Zealand to cover -15 at -110

 

Argentina vs. Australia

6:30 pm ET - Saturday, Mendoza

After Australia’s draw in Bloemfontein, they have a great chance to finish second in the championship if they win in Argentina and South Africa lose, as must be expected to New Zealand.

However, The Wallabies face one of the toughest tasks in world rugby this week, traveling from South Africa to Argentina in search of a win against the Pumas.

The Australians have already caught five flights in the past week and it will be seven by the time they arrive in Mendoza, having clocked more than 20,000 kilometers. That takes a serious drain on the body

The Wallabies do feel agonizingly close to a big win.

The acid test will come against New Zealand in Brisbane on October 21 but a sixth straight win against the Pumas would get the ball rolling again after the draw in Bloemfontein.

Any win will be off the back of the attack Foley and Kurtley Beale have turned into an unpredictable yet relentless machine.

It goes without saying that the All Blacks have scored more points (221) than any other team in the Rugby Championship but the Wallabies are second with 158, including 34 and 29 point efforts against the Kiwis.

Argentina, in losing their five games in this year’s Championship, have conceded 198 points and scored only 98.They were 29-3 down at halftime to New Zealand and the final 36-10 score could have been much worse if New Zealand had played the second half at full intensity

Whilst the travel factors are certainly an issue here the point spread quote of Australia -7 at -110 should be supported for your betting picks. Australia are -250 outright, Argentina +175.

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