Rugby Championship 2018: New Zealand vs Argentina Preview

Rugby Championship 2018: New Zealand Preview

In spite of their earth-shattering performance against South Africa in Mendoza, an Argentine victory over New Zealand on the South Island this weekend remains a highly unlikely prospect, writes Shaun Goosen.

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New Zealand v Argentina
09h35 8 September
Trafalgar Park, Nelson, New Zealand

To Win (80 mins)
New Zealand 1/100
Draw 40/1
Argentina 12/1

New Zealand (-28) 9/10
Argentina (+28) 9/10

In defeating Rassie Erasmus’ Springboks 32-19 in what was gaffer Mario Ledesma’s second Test match in charge, Argentina recorded a phenomenal third win over the Boks in as many years, having gone down 21-34 in Durban the week before.

Many pointed to fatigue as a huge obstacle heading into what was Los Pumas’ 28th Test against the South Africans, but a stunning first-half showing – which included three quick-fire tries in the opening half hour – pushed them out to an unassailable lead.

While question marks continue to surround the Argentine Rugby Union’s peculiar foreign policy, especially with regard to their Super Rugby side the Jaguares, there is no doubting the influence and experience Ledesma will bring to the South American party in the years to come.

New Zealand, though, have once again underlined their class in their two Bledisloe Tests against Australia in the season thus far, with Beauden Barrett in particular proving to be at his uncontainable best.

In beating the Wallabies 38-13 in Sydney and then 40-12 in Auckland, they once again reminded the rugby world that they continue to set the benchmark at the summit of the world rugby standings.

While Gus Creevy and his band of brothers are sure to reach for what would be a fairy-tale victory in Nelson - the closest Argentina have come to beating the back-to-back world champs was a 21-all draw in Buenos Aires in 1985 - the odds suggest it may just be a step too far.

Despite a dominant physical showing in Mendoza, the All Blacks have proved to be maestros in all facets of play over the past decade or so, and they are certainly not lacking in the forward department.

Key for Argentina will be maintaining a low penalty count but, considering the guile of their opponents this Saturday, it may still count for naught. New Zealand have the ability to make something out of virtually nothing at all and, while they may well name a second-string side for the weekend, they should still come out comfortably on top.

Verdict: New Zealand (-28) 9/10*
The odds say it all. As good a side as Argentina may be, they will be no match for arguably the greatest sports side in history. All Blacks to take it by 15 or more.

* Forecast handicaps

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets

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