Rugby Championship 2018: South Africa v Australia Preview

Rugby Championship 2018: South Africa v Australia Preview

Rassie Erasmus’ Springbok side can keep their slim Rugby Championship hopes alive with a big win over Australia at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on PE on Saturday, writes Shaun Goosen.

South Africa v Australia
29 September 17h00
Nelson Mandela Stadium, Port Elizabeth

To Win
South Africa 7/20
Draw 30/1
Australia 21/10

South Africa (-8.5) 9/10
Australia (+8.5) 9/10 

The All Blacks currently sit six-log points ahead of South Africa, but the men in green and gold will still be in with a chance of claiming the title if they beat the Wallabies with a bonus point and Argentina upset New Zealand in Round Five.

Coming off the back of that unbelievable 36-34 victory in Wellington a fortnight ago, Rassie’s Boks will be riding a wave of confidence ahead of this weekend’s Test match in the Windy City. Having fallen to the Australians by 23-18 in Brisbane in Round Three, however, there will be a need for composure.

Michael Cheika’s men come into this one with plenty to prove. Their most recent result, a shocking 19-23 home loss to Argentina, all but ended their hopes at claiming the Championship. They will be out to prove a point and ensure they don’t finish the competition as Wooden Spoonists for the first time since 2009.

Cheika has intimated that he may revert to his regular 10-12 axis of Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale, with a back row of Ned Hanigan, David Pocock and Michael Hooper expected to front the Boks.

In the South African camp, both Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am have been ruled out, with Jesse Kriel and Andre Esterhuizen set to start in a new-look combination in the midfield.

Much will depend on how well the Boks manage to negate Pocock’s influence at the breakdown, with the hosts’ back three once again set for a busy afternoon in PE.

Despite the somewhat lackluster affair in Brisbane earlier in the season, this Test has all the makings for a classic. With both teams looking to gain a crucial psychological edge ahead of next year’s World Cup, a lot will be riding on Saturday’s result.

Verdict: South Africa (-8.5) 9/10
Back the Springboks to build on their superhuman showing in Wellington with a second-successive win over the men from Down Under with another ultra-physical performance.

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets

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