After bagging big wins in the opening round of the Rugby Championship, the All Blacks and the Springboks meet in a match that could well determine where the title ends up. The Wallabies and Los Pumas will battle to stay in contention. Bet Central brings you the key battles for round 2 of the Rugby Championship.
New Zealand v South Africa: Legends Ready For One Final Battle
Born 5 months apart and having been mainstays for their respective nations since their debuts in 2012, Brodie Rettalick and Eben Etzebeth will battle one last time with Rettalick moving on from New Zealand next and unlikely to feature in the black jersey again post-2023.
There will be different motivations for both legends, the Chiefs enforcer will be playing the old enemy for the last time barring a World Cup meeting and he will want to stick it to the Boks one more time. Etzebeth’s motivation will be a lot closer to home, he lost his father this week and will look to honour him with a superb performance.
Either way, this will be a battle between ageing stars who have been everything for their sides over the last decade. Let’s enjoy it one last time.
New Zealand v South Africa: Late Bloomers Clash
Cheslin Kolbe and Mark Telea came into the national side much later than some of their age-group counterparts but they have come in and made a big impact when given the opportunity. They will face each other directly in Auckland.
Mark Telea is coming off a terrific Super Rugby Pacific campaign with the Blues where his all-round attacking ability made him the MVP. It was a great season and Ian Foster will be hoping he transfers that form from the domestic stage to the Test arena.
Cheslin Kolbe similarly had great success in his final season in France, he won the Challenge Cup with Toulon when they beat a toothless Benetton side in Dublin. He will be hoping to replicate some of that form for the Boks.
Australia v Argentina: Proven Performer Pitted Against Potential Star
It may sound harsh to say Juan Martin Gonzalez is not a proven performer, but last year was his breakout season and he did some good things to get a lot of people’s attention. He’s got such a big engine and possesses incredible athleticism for his size.
The key thing for him is finding consistency in the big games. This BMT is something that Gonzalez’s opposite number Rob Valentini doesn’t lack and even in his last poor showing, he was one of the better Wallabies.
Gonzalez has an opportunity to gauge his progress against a fantastic international 8thman in Valentini. Who knows, he could inspire an Argentine win.
Australia v Argentina: Experience At Inside Centre
Unlike the battle above, in this one 2 established and experienced players will face off in midfield. Jeronimo de la Fuente is vastly experienced and while Argentina coaches have tried various players at 12, they all seem to go back to the Perpignan centre because of how incredibly well he does the basics.
Samu Kerevi who will face de la Fuente on Saturday has a bit more flash about him. In fact, when he is fit and in form, very few centres can match up to the 29-year-old. Eddie Jones will be hoping to see more of that destructive running from Kerevi.
The battle is between expansive and pragmatic, but it should be interesting to see which prevails in Australia.