Rugby Championship Round 3 - South Africa Take The Lead

 

It was South Africa who made the biggest statement of the third round of the 2013 Rugby Championship with an emphatic 38-12 crushing of Australia. The Springboks managed to break their Australian hoodoo with an impressive victory which takes them one point clear of New Zealand at the top of the Championship table.

The top two sides will meet in round four next weekend for the first time in this year’s competition, which is already a mouth-watering prospect.

In the round's other game Argentina provided an impressive and gutsy performance against New Zealand in Hamilton, eventually going down 28-13. This proves that Australia will have another difficult game on their hands next weekend as they host Argentina in Perth.

Talking Rugby Union’s Southern hemisphere correspondent, Scotty Donaldson, provided that "most people assumed the All Blacks would give Argentina a thrashing, while the closer game of the round would be between the Wallabies and Springboks.

"The disturbing thing is that the Wallabies have got only one home game left and still haven't posted a win. They seem to have lost their confidence and already look like a beaten team before they hop onto the field.

"It seems that coach Robbie Deans wasn't the problem, it is more a case of them simply not having the players to challenge the All Blacks and Springboks."

In a very damp Hamilton, the All Blacks were far from convincing but managed to grind out a 28-13 victory, without a four try bonus point.

The Argentinians seem to already have improved greatly since round one of the Rugby Championship, could they defeat Australia next weekend, who are lacking confidence and, frankly, look ripe for the picking.

Next week’s fourth round will prove to be crucial in the grand scheme of the competition. South Africa have a one point advantage and a possible away win in New Zealand would surely place one South African hand on the trophy? A finger at least.

The powerful Springbok side got the better of a fast but disappointing Australian defence, will they be able to unlock the All Black defence with the same ease, however?

On the other hand, World Champions New Zealand will need to improve from this weekend’s performance against Argentina. They will have to adapt to conditions better and defend tighter, as South Africa make the most of all of their opportunities in attack.

Over in Australia, the Wallabies, who are desperately lacking confidence, host Argentina. Scotty Donaldson reports that there is a real lack of confidence in the Australian camp, "who desperately need a win to restore some pride.

"It just doesn't seem right that Australians are lacking confidence, but in recent times their cricket team has also had the same problem. It is simply because they don't have the talented players like they used to.

"A Pumas win next Saturday night would be ground-breaking."

Before the game nearly all punters picked the All Blacks to win against Argentina, but by a much greater margin. On the other hand, however, the 26 points margin between South Africa and Australia was far greater than anticipated.

How will Australia fair next week? Will they get that all-important confidence-boosting first win they so desperately need?

How long can South Africa hold off the All Blacks at the top of the Championship table?

We will find out next weekend as the top two teams meet in a titanic clash in the fourth round of the 2013 Rugby Championship.