Almanac Rugby Union: Week 4 of The Rugby Championship




All Blacks 53 Los Pumas 3

Springboks 24 Wallabies 8


Here we go again. Every series this winter has seen the bounce-back win in the second week. This being Week 4 of the TRC overall means we had the return bouts of the two series listed above. The two most successful teams in the history of rugby were just too good.

A stunning seven-try rampage by the All Blacks was built on the back of transition play with multiple phases. They didn’t smash the Argentinians with overwhelming breaks or offloads. Instead, they kept the ball in hand and ran lines that created space for their dazzling backline.

It was all out attack from the men in black. They missed almost as many tackles as their opponents but that didn’t matter. Their mindset was very much “get out of my way, I’m coming through”. At one point they even went with a grubber kick to keep the momentum going.

A grubber! I thought that had gone the way of field goals. I’m a big fan of both, so I’d love to see them use it again. Or perhaps the Wallabies should give it a go. What do you reckon, Dave Rennie?

Alas, there were no grubbers along the new turf of the freshly minted Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday. There was a field goal attempt, to be sure, but it was lame. Like the All Blacks, the Springboks signaled their intentions from the get-go. The South Africans not only racked up the four tries but their win was almost as dominant as their arch-rivals.

The Wallabies only broke the line on one occasion. Defensive discipline was a key feature of the Springboks, along with them being more adventurous in attack. The kick and chase that resulted in a spectacular try to teenage sensation, Canan Moodie, perhaps best exemplified the derring-do of the visitors.

The All Blacks will be in Melbourne on Thursday week for the first Bledisloe Test. The Wallabies will have to conjure up some new set pieces and change their game plan to match it with them, I suspect. Anything is possible in the two matches between the Springboks and Los Pumas.

All four teams have two wins and two losses. The ABs are on top by virtue of an extra bonus point over the other three teams. They are now short-priced favourites to take it out from here.

Funny how a team that was meant to be facing its greatest crisis can still be in such a vaunted position. You just can’t beat class. While frustrating, it’s strangely calming to be reminded of that dictum.


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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. Brian, what a fluctuating series! Just when you think we might challenge the ABs, they monster the Pumas and we implode against the Boks. RA is a mess and their best response seems to be to try to buy a couple of rugby league players.

    Did you see and hear Roy Masters’ thoughts on this idea on ‘Offsiders’ on Sunday? Contemptuous – and rightly so.

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