Who’s hot and who’s not: Argentina making history, Wallabies’ run over Springboks continues and back to square one for All Blacks

·10-min read
 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

It’s time for our Monday wrap of who has their name in lights and who is making the headlines for all the wrong reasons after the weekend.

THEY’RE ON FIRE!

History made by Argentina: A record victory over Australia was followed up by a historic first win over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil as Los Pumas continued to impress in this year’s Rugby Championship. Their defensive effort in Christchurch was something to behold while they also showed plenty on attack to force their hosts into mistakes, with Emiliano Boffelli once again showing how lethal he is off the tee. The scenes at full-time, both on the field and in the coaches box, showed just what this result meant to Argentina and as they sit atop the table with just three games left, could they do the unthinkable and lift the silverware? Why not?

Impressive response from Australia: After going down to that aforementioned heavy defeat in Argentina in Round Two, there weren’t many who predicted the Wallabies to bounce back in this manner against the Springboks. A lightening fast start was exactly what the doctor ordered in Adelaide as Australia shot out of the blocks, playing scintillating rugby to go 10-0 ahead. Thus began a South African barrage for the remainder of the half but somehow the hosts dug in to go in 10-3 up, showing incredible resolve that ultimately saw them run out eventual 25-17 winners. Dave Rennie will be delighted as players like Marika Koroibete, Fraser McReight and Noah Lolesio.

More joy for Australia, this time in Sevens: Congratulations to John Manenti’s men, who claimed the World Rugby Sevens Series title following a third place finish in Los Angeles. They went into the weekend in second position in the standings but, following South Africa’s early exit in LA, it opened a pathway for the Aussies to lift the silverware. Despite losing in the semi-finals, they could still emerge triumphant by beating Samoa in the bronze medal, which they duly did to make history, becoming their first men’s side to win the series. With the women also the holders of their competition, it has been a remarkable year for Sevens in Australia.

Christian Wade back in rugby: It looks like the former England finisher is returning to union after his three-year sojourn in American football. Despite a bright start in his new sport, it just didn’t quite work out for him, but rugby will no doubt welcome him back with open arms. Wade turned out for Racing 92 in the Super Sevens series at the weekend and there are strong rumours that the French outfit want to snap him up permanently. Although most clubs won’t have too much room left in the budget now, Racing 92 are reportedly looking for a medical joker to replace fellow new signing Regan Grace, who has sustained a serious injury. Wing Wade is 31 now but clearly still has plenty offer the game.

South Africa set for Munster challenge: Thursday, November 10 will be a date for the diary as Munster add to their famous list of impressive matches against international opposition. The game will be played at Pairc Ui Chaoimh and it will no doubt be a sell-out as the Red Army packs out the ground for a meeting not to be missed. The Springboks will be testing the depth of their squad on the end-of-year tour as this fixture is one of two against club sides, with Bristol Bears also taking on a South Africa Select XV. It is wonderful to see midweek matches being brought back.

Will Jordan boost for All Blacks: One, if not the, hottest talents in New Zealand signed up for more at the Crusaders last week as the exciting Jordan put pen to paper on a new deal with New Zealand Rugby (NZR). While the deal is only one year long and takes him through to the Rugby World Cup – there will no doubt be a long-term contract coming after France 2023 that includes a sabbatical – it is positive news for all concerned. Jordan is a significant part of the All Blacks’ and Crusaders’ futures and if the 24-year-old free-scoring finisher can build on his excellent start to his career at the elite level, then the two sides will be much better for it as he’s a remarkable talent.

COLD AS ICE!

Back to square one for Ian Foster and All Blacks: New Zealand had looked to have turned a corner after beating the Springboks in Johannesburg, but there was always the worry they would come crashing back down to earth against the Pumas. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what happened as they were well beaten on the night, going down 25-18 on Saturday. The pressure, as expected, is right back on head coach Foster, captain Sam Cane and the rest of the All Blacks so, if they don’t right the wrongs before this weekend’s rematch, then surely a resignation will come from the former? If not then New Zealand Rugby must make a U-turn in their support and change the coach.

More frustrations for the Springboks: South Africa can lament how they did not take their chances all they like but it’s a results-based business and losing once again on Australian soil to the Wallabies has not gone down well. For most of the first half we expected the Springboks to go on to take a stranglehold of the game. However, they missed countless chances – not just off the kicking tee – as the Wallabies hung on before being clinical with their ball in the second stanza. Ultimately, that leaves Jacques Nienaber’s men bottom of the standings after three rounds and while some fans and pundits blame the officials, even they will admit deep down they lost to the better side.

Worcester Warriors on the brink: The news had looked to be getting worse for Worcester’s players, staff and fans as the days wore on last week. Irrespective of what owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring put in their statements – calling the media stories ‘conspiracy theories’ – they haven’t actually said anything which allays any fears. The Warriors are in serious financial trouble and Whittingham and Goldring haven’t suggested how they will get the club out of its current mess. When you add in the previous lack of communication with the players, coaches and staff, it raises suspicions, both in terms of the financial state the Warriors are in and the true motives of the owners. At least there was something positive to cling to on Sunday when former chief executive Jim O’Toole confirmed that he has submitted a bid “to ensure the long-term sustainability” of the Premiership club. O’Toole said his plans were dependent on Worcester being placed into administration, which would lead to an automatic 35-point penalty for the new season. Everyone waits to see what happens next.

Tawera Kerr-Barlow Aussie switch: We like the law change from World Rugby, which allows players to switch nations on the basis of their birth place and ancestry, but it wasn’t really created to help someone move between tier one countries. It should really just be for tier two sides but, by opening it up to all nations, it could obviously lead to loopholes and the whole process being abused. With Kerr-Barlow, who was born in Australia but raised in New Zealand and played 27 times for the All Blacks, saying he’s available for the Wallabies, it simply feels wrong. This was always the worry when the law was brought in and, as it is currently written, it is open to being taken advantage of.

Another setback for Jack Goodhue: While it’s fantastic news for one Crusaders back in Jordan, the same cannot be said for Goodhue, whose woes were compounded last week when it was confirmed that the centre required knee surgery. After making his return to action for Northland in their NPC match against Wellington, the All Blacks back was subsequently dealt the worst possible news and our thoughts are with him as it must be an incredibly frustrating time. A player with so much promise when he burst onto the scene as a youngster, one hopes this is the last time he suffers such disappointing injury news. Hopefully he returns stronger than ever and we see him back on the field soon.

READ MORE: Sunday Social: Argentina celebrates historic win in New Zealand, Nic White fallout and Peter O’Mahony in a Leinster shirt

The article Who’s hot and who’s not: Argentina making history, Wallabies’ run over Springboks continues and back to square one for All Blacks appeared first on Planetrugby.com.