Southern Hemisphere to dominate on Saturday
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There’s some big-time rugby this weekend and you can expect the Southern Hemisphere to come out the winner.
The Wallabies play Wales at Suncorp, the All Blacks play Ireland at Eden Park, the Springboks play England at Durban and the Pumas play Italy at San Juan in the wine-growing region of Argentina.
The All Blacks have chosen three new caps in winger Julian Savea, halfback Aaron Smith and lock Brodie Retallick.
Otherwise, it’s the usual suspects plus the inclusion of Sonny Bill Williams and Victor Vito.
The Boks’ squad stirred up some dissent in the Republic with some surprising omissions.
But there has also been some cheers, with bench-prop Coenie Oosthuizen and the addition of three new starters – Eben Etzebeth and Jaundre Kruger in the second row and tackle machine Marcel Coetzee at flanker.
The Pumas will be without their European club players, but have Graham Henry in their corner.
The hangdog Wallabies will be somewhat different from the team that lost to Scotland.
Yet the side will still contain some questionable talent, coached by a man who these days is one of the most unpopular men in Australia.
I’ve combed several rugby forums around the world and traded numerous international e-mails with rugby fans in regards to Saturday’s matches.
Here are the results.
Ireland’s team is tremendously well-liked everywhere, but has been written off.
Nobody in the world can put out a team that can compete with the combined talents of Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Dan Carter, ‘SBW’, Aaron Smith and Israel Dagg to name but a few.
A clear win for the Southern Hemisphere there.
England has no real stars.
They have a solid pack, but one without Matt Stevens and Tom Croft.
While Tuilagi takes some stopping, Toby Flood doesn’t.
The Boks have a fearsome front row and ball-winning locks, plus a great halfback and not one but two Stynes.
The Morne type is worth nine points to the Boks even before the game begins.
A clear Southern Hemisphere win there, too.
Things get closer in Argentina.
Expect a forward battle, but the nod goes to the home team. Just.
Regarding the game we’re all waiting for, the Wallabies were favoured before the Newcastle debacle.
But not any more.
Last week, quite a few people thought that even without Quade Cooper, James Horwill, James O’Connor, Kurtley Beale, Drew Mitchell and Lachie Turner the Wallabies might just have enough to get on top of Wales.
But now the Wallabies are seen as fifteen embarrassed men who’ve lost confidence in their coach and his tactics.
Fo some, it’s because of Tuesday’s performance. For others, it’s because of their teammates’ performances.
The Wallabies will be running out at Suncorp toting a 600-pound gorilla – the pressure of having to win or go into hiding.
On the other hand, Wales is seen for what they are – a grand-slam side with a pack strong enough to force the Wallabies into retreat.
They also possess a potent backline, which will run the ball and leave the box kicks to their opponents.
Wales is the easy favourite, which makes Saturday’s prediction 3-1 Southern Hemisphere.
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