Mallett: Boks in the ‘pound seat’ for Rugby Champs finale
Nick Mallett believes the Boks are in a handy position to control their own destiny in the pursuit of the Rugby Championship title.
The Boks are currently level on 14 log points with New Zealand on the Rugby Championship log and trail the All Blacks by 13 points on points’ difference.
However, when the Boks take to the field against Argentina on Saturday evening they will know exactly what they need to do to clinch the title as the All Blacks will host Australia in Auckland earlier in the day.
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In his column for Sport24, Mallett said it was certainly a big bonus for the Boks to know what the permutations would be before kick-off.
“The final round of the Rugby Championship takes place this weekend and, all things considered, the Springboks are in the pound seats. They (the Springboks) will know if they just need a win with a bonus point, or a win with a bonus point and a certain amount of points difference to get ahead. Obviously, Australia winning the early game on Saturday would be the most ideal outcome for the Boks, but I just can’t see that happening, given they’re playing in Auckland where they haven’t won in a very long time…
“From a South African perspective, you just have to hope that the All Blacks don’t beat the Wallabies heavily to the point where the title is effectively decided by the Durban kick-off. If the All Blacks beat Australia by 20 points and get a bonus point, suddenly there’s a 33-point difference between us and the All Blacks and they’ve got five points above us. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but that would mean the Boks would have to almost stop Argentina from scoring a point.
“There is no doubt that the Boks can score 35 points, but in playing a brand of rugby which will be more attack minded, you do open yourself up to the possibility of turnovers, knock-ons, and the opposition getting opportunities to score tries as well.
“If the points difference is around that mark, the Boks would almost certainly have to keep Argentina below 10 points on the day, and for us to score over 40. That would be realistic, and anything more than that, I think will be very difficult.”
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The Boks-Argentina clash on Saturday kicks off at 17:05.
Springbok team: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Duane Vermeulen, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Kurt-Lee Arendse.
Argentina team: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Matias Moroni , 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Pablo Matera, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Julian Montoya (c), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Subs: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Joel Sclavi, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Pedro Rubiolo, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Bautista Delguy.
STATS & FACTS
Springbok record against Argentina in South Africa:
Played 15, Won 14, Lost 1; Points for 550, Points against 272, Average score 37-17; Tries scored 65, Tries conceded 25; Highest score 73, Biggest win 60 pts (73-13), Win % 93%
Springbok record at Hollywoodbets Kings Park (overall):
Played 34, Won 21, Lost 10, Drawn 3; Points for 835; Points against 601; Tries for 87; Tries against: 59.
Springbok team records at Hollywoodbets Kings Park:
Biggest win: 101-0 v Italy on 19 June 1999
Most tries: 15 v Italy on 19 June 1999
Most conversions: 13 v Italy on 19 June 1999
Most penalty goals: 8 v New Zealand on 1 August 2009
Most drop goals: 3 v South America on 3 May 1980 and v Ireland on 6 June 1981
- Eben Etzebeth will extend his run as the most capped Springbok player against Argentina with this match marking his 19th Test against Los Pumas from 2012 to 2022.
- Following his two tries last weekend, Malcolm Marx is now the Springbok hooker with the most Test tries – 13. Bongi Mbonambi is second on the list with 11 Test tries.
- The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 809.
- There are 318 caps in the backline with 491 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 292
- The average caps per player in the backline are 46, the forwards 59, while the players on the bench average 36.
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The Rugby Championship title race has gone down to the wire
The Boks and all their supporters will also be keeping a very close eye on the All Blacks and Australia match-up on Saturday, which kicks off at 09:05am SA time.
New Zealand team – 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Will Jordan, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Ethan de Groot
Subs: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Tupou Vaa’i, 20 Hoskins Sotutu, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 23 Sevu Reece.
Australia team – 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Tom Wright, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Lalakai Foketi, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Pete Samu, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 David Porecki, 1 James Slipper (c)
Subs: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Pone Fa’amausili, 19 Nick Frost, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Nic White, 22 Reece Hodge, 23 Jordan Petaia.
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