Almanac Rugby – The Rugby Championship: Round 5

It was a momentous occasion as the four teams gathered in Townsville for the penultimate round of this year’s Rugby Championship. The two most successful teams in the history of rugby faced off for their 100th test against one another. Doing so in the centenary year of their first test added an extra level of solemnity.


Smarting from two losses to the Wallabies, the Springboks knew it would take a lot to match the rampaging All Blacks. The intensity was evident in the opening minutes. A hundred tests between these behemoths would be marked by the fiercest of contests. The ensuing match between the Wallabies and the Pumas seemed destined to play second fiddle, and so it proved to be.



New Zealand 19 South Africa 17

Both teams played high wire footy from the kick-off. Neither wanted to hold back and wait for opportunities. End-to-end rugby produced an All Blacks try within three minutes. The Boks responded within a few minutes. It took many of us by surprise that we were seeing a shoot-out. That soon passed, however.


No more tries were to be scored for the rest of the match. Instead, we got the anticipated trench warfare. Certainly, the ABs showed glimpses of their expansive, running style, as evidenced by their 13 offloads to the solitary stat from the Boks. However, it was obvious the match would be won or lost on ill-discipline being punished by three-pointers.


Late in the game, it looked like the Boks had done enough to gouge out the win they so desperately wanted. The men in black, however, know how to handle pressure. Jordie Barrett slotted the last points of the game with a couple of minutes to go and his teammates played down the clock.


That was the 60th win for the All Blacks. In most sports that would be convincing dominance. It should be noted, however, that no other team comes close to that level of competitiveness. The Wallabies would give anything to get close to a 40% winning position. Wales and Scotland have never beaten the ABs and Ireland only notched their first win a few years ago.


The All Blacks secured the Championship with that win. Attention then turned to whether the Wallabies would slot into the second spot.



Australia 27 Argentina 8

It has been difficult for the Wallabies to string wins together in recent years. After a superb two-match stint against the Boks, it was the Pumas providing the next challenge.


Thankfully our boys stood up.  Their opponents didn’t get a single clean break and the team only tallied up ten missed tackles. It was this defensive discipline that gave the men in the First Nations-adorned strip the ability to attack when opportunities arose. The sloppy lineouts were really the only blemish.


Another consistent team performance gave them the four points to slot in behind the Kiwis. With one round to go, we can safely say it has been a successful campaign by the Wallabies. The squad is taking shape. The return of James O’Connor didn’t have the hoopla of Quade-mania but it provides more optimism of a promising future.


Back to the Gold Coast on Saturday. Surf’s up!





The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in 2021. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order HERE.



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Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.


  1. Great arvo of sport that day….nrl prelim, wallabies, grannie, ABs ….so satisfying to watch the Wallabies playing with composure and just enough flair to entertain against the Argies compared to last season. Thanks for the post Ruminator!

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