What We Learned from the Final Round of the Rugby Championship

Jérôme Garcès shows Scott Barrett a red card in the Rugby Championship match against Australia
Scott Barrett see's red against Australia

Barrett right to see red, Boks’ Championship title fully deserved, and Nyakane nails down starting berth are our main talking points in this weeks what we learned from the final Round of the Rugby Championship. 

Photo Credit: Steve Haag

Boks’ Championship title fully deserved

The Springboks’ resounding 46-13 thumping of Argentina in Salta on Saturday capped off a marvelous Rugby Championship campaign for the men in green and gold that saw them claim a first title since 2009. Rassie Erasmus’ thorough planning and expert man-management has given the Boks a newfound confidence that has been sorely lacking since the conclusion of the last World Cup and which has allowed the squad to genuinely gel as a unit.

Certainly, it’s difficult to remember the last time a Springbok side seemed as close-knit as this one and, with competition for places as hot as ever, this is not something to be underestimated. With just two Tests to go before their World Cup opener against the All Blacks in Yokohama, South Africa can quite rightly feel confident of competing on the biggest stage of all once more.

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Nyakane nails down starting berth

With so many doubting Trevor Nyakane’s ability to compete as a Test-level tighthead since shifting to his role as a “swinger prop” from loosehead, his massive display in Salta on the weekend has surely silenced any remaining critics.

While Handre Pollard may have walked away with the Man of the Match award, it was the Bok front row, led by the irrepressible Nyakane, that laid the platform for victory by proceeding to decimate the once infamous Argentina scrum. Erasmus may have the luxury of calling upon the likes of Frans Malherbe and Vincent Koch to do duty in the No 3 jumper, but there should now be very little debate as to Nyakane’s right to claim the starting berth as his own.

Barrett right to see red

While most of the headlines of the Wallabies’ electric 47-26 belting of the All Blacks in Perth should have centred around the seismic improvement of the men in gold or the unexpected capitulation of the All Blacks, the majority of the focus went to Scott Barrett following his sending off by Jerome Garces. Almost unbelievably, the rugby world seems to be split on a decision that should be considered black and white. Barrett’s shoulder-first assault on Australia captain Michael Hooper was clearly illegal and highly dangerous.

Garces, a man who has admittedly made some shaky calls in the past, was spot-on in his decision to go for red and there should really be no debate about it at all. Still though, while many pundits – headed by the outspoken Will Greenwood – have called for Garces’ head, the Frenchman should rest easy knowing he made the right call.

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Photo Credit: Steve Haag

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets 

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