Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
19 Jul 2022
2:01 pm

OPINION: Boks on high; worries for All Blacks, Aussies ahead of Rugby Champs

Ross Roche

In contrast the All Blacks and Australia will be reeling from home series losses against Northern Hemisphere challengers.

Springbok players celebrate after sealing the series against Wales with a 30-14 third Test win over the past weekend. Pictures: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

The Springboks will have a pep in their step as they shift their focus to the Rugby Championship, which is set to kick-off in just under three weeks.

A strong final performance against Wales in the third Test decider in Cape Town over the past weekend will have given the team a timely boost, after they had struggled in edging the first Test and then slipped up in the second, leading to the exciting finale.

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It was always expected to be a series win for the Boks, but with the form that Wales were coming into the series in, it was expected to be a clean sweep, with many surprised at how the visitors managed to put up a serious challenge in the end.

The second Test, which the Boks lost 13-12 in the dying moments, was also played using an experimental squad as the hosts made 19 changes to the match 23 for that game, before reverting to their full strength side for the decider.

In all it was a fruitful series in that the Boks were given a good challenge, managed to give their entire squad a run and finished off in style, and they will be able to take that momentum into the Rugby Championship.

Home series losses

In contrast, the All Blacks and Australia will be reeling from home series losses against Northern Hemisphere challengers and will head into the Champs off the back of dual defeats.

The All Blacks will head into the competition with plenty of worries, after a snap review of their series loss to Ireland was announced shortly after they lost the final Test 32-22 to condemn them to a first home series defeat in the professional era.

There first two games in the Rugby Champs also couldn’t be any tougher as they face the Springboks on the Highveld, with them set to be the underdogs for the first time in the professional era.

As for the Aussies, they won’t be as disheartened as they gave England, who are considered the stronger team, a good run for their money in the series, but they will also be disappointed to have lost after they won the first game with 14-men on the field after a red card.

Argentina will head into the Rugby Champs with confidence after edging Scotland 2-1 in an entertaining home series, and they will be keen to produce a couple of upsets.