Rugby’s north vs south internationals
It’s hard to believe but the 2012 international rugby season is already under way. It feels as although it was just yesterday that the All Blacks were crowned champions of the world for the second time.
What an exciting time in rugby it is. We are entering new coaching eras for the AB’s as well as the ‘Boks and a fresh start for Dingo Deans and his young Wallaby Side. There is little doubt that 2012 is the year of the unknown.
The June Internationals did not start so well for Robbie Deans on Tuesday night as Scotland earned a rare win on Aussie soil, on a shocking Newcastle night. In all fairness, it was a second string side from the Wallabies, made up mostly of Reds and Force players and a few fringe players from other franchises.
It was a dour affair and even the most die-hard rugby fans would be hard pressed to describe the game as anything other than simply boring, hard fought as it was.
Australia faces a much tougher task this weekend as Wales are looking ominous after a great World Cup showing and Six Nations crown. Although there are a few injury woes for the men from the UK, such as star inside centre Jamie Roberts, they will be more than confident going into the Wallaby clash.
On the other hand the Wallabies won’t be feeling too concerned about their loss to Scotland and will be looking forward to putting the whole experience behind them and quickly consolidating against Wales. A lot of people are predicting the Welsh to come out all guns blazing and blow the Wallabies off the park.
While this is a real possibility, it is probably not going to happen. The Wallabies are a different beast altogether in Brisbane and it is truly a fortress of world rugby. Even the All Blacks and Springboks have fallen victim to the Wallabies when backed by the Queensland crowd. The combination of a Wallaby team on the rebound and Suncorp Stadium should see the Wallabies up by 11.
The All Blacks take on the men from the emerald Isle in what should prove to an extremely fascinating clash. The All Blacks are entering an age post Graham Henry and will be looking to impress early. Steve Hansen has made some strange selections (Piri Weepu in particular) and will be looking to quickly stamp his own authority on All Blacks history.
The Irish will also be relishing an opportunity to get an extremely rare win over the All Blacks. And if the feat was ever to be accomplished, many feel this is the best opportunity the Irish will get.
The Irish have a few of their own injury concerns heading into the three-match-series with veteran lock Paul O’Connell not expected to be fit for the first game at Eden Park.
However, the All Blacks should get up by at least eight.
The Springboks take on England with the first test at Kings Park in Durban. The Springboks, like the All Blacks, are also sailing in waters unknown with new coach Heyneke Meyer selecting a rather controversial squad that features very few players from Super Rugby’s table toping Stormers.
The side is predominantly made up of Bulls and Sharks players and with notable exclusions, such as the omission of Heinrich Brussow, there is a definite element of mysticism in the Springboks at the moment.
The Boks will have to learn to do without the likes of Victor Matfield, Bakkies Botha, John Smit and Fourie du Preez, who have all moved on. There is still a blend of youth and experience in the Springbok camp, it just all depends on how the new Boks Mentor uses his artillery.
England too have a new coach and were top contenders in the recent Six Nations. They were in fact unlucky to be beaten by Wales due to a highly controversial call at the death. Stuart Lancaster took over after an abysmal World Cup campaign for the former world champions and by all accounts is improving his young English side.
Although England are looking good, an injury free (since the local derbies) Boks side should be too strong as combinations should not be too unfamiliar in the Boks squad. Boks should win by nine in a low scoring game.
Enjoy the rugby on the weekend guys. Give your opinions in the comments below!
Looking to join The Roar team? We're searching for an experienced Group Sales Manager to lead our team in Sydney. Yes, this does mean you get to work with the site all day long! If you're a digital media sales star, we want to hear from you. Apply now.
Passionate about your union? Then sign up to The Roar's brand new daily union email, delivering Roaring articles directly to you day-in, day-out. You'll love it!
Click here to join now!