Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Boks must be at their best to lift Rugby Championship crown

The big question is whether South Africa can produce a result that threatens New Zealand’s points difference lead.

The Springboks may have to produce their best performance of the season against Argentina if they are to clinch the Rugby Championship title at Kings Park Stadium in Durban on Saturday evening.

An extremely close competition is set to come to a thrilling conclusion this weekend, with the All Blacks and Boks in the pound seats going into the final round of fixtures.

READ MORE: Mapimpi backs Boks to win Rugby Championship in Durban

All four teams are still in with a mathematical chance of lifting the trophy, but Argentina would need to pick up an extremely improbable win over the Boks, by a massive margin, while also hoping other results go their way, if they were to claim the title.

The Wallabies would probably need a bonus-point win over the All Blacks in New Zealand, plus for Argentina to upset the Boks if they were to take it.

While for the All Blacks and Boks it is simple mathematics, with both teams locked on 14 points, and the All Blacks with a better points difference of 13 higher than the Boks.

So if the All Blacks pick up a bonus-point win over the Wallabies, the Boks would need to do the same over Argentina, while making sure their margin of victory was 14 points more than the All Blacks margin of victory over the Wallabies.

However, if the All Blacks just manage a win over the Wallabies, the Boks would need only to win with a bonus point to claim the title.

If the games go as expected, the Boks will most likely be chasing a big win against the Argentineans, as the All Blacks are expected to pick up a bonus-point victory over the Aussies.

The question is whether South Africa can produce a big enough result to threaten New Zealand’s points difference lead.

Missing opportunities

So far this season the Boks have picked up five wins in eight games, with four of them by comfortable margins.

However, in all four of the games they arguably should have won by more, and they are currently stuck on a weird run of winning by 16 points in each of those matches.

The Boks dominated their third Test decider against Wales in July, but they left a number of tries out on the field, particularly in the first half, eventually running out 30-14 winners.

The first Test of the Rugby Championship against the All Blacks in Mbombela then saw the Boks produce another superb showing, but once again they did not take all their chances, as they ended as 26-10 victors.

ALSO READ: After all these years, Frans Steyn is still Boks’ go to guy

In the second Test against the Wallabies in Sydney, the Boks again missed out on a few try-scoring opportunities, while conceding a late try, to finish with a 24-8 win.

Finally, last weekend, the Boks were on track for a big win after going into half-time with a 16-point lead, but they allowed Argentina to fight back to within two points, before pulling away at the death to register a 36-20 win.

So it remains to be seen if the Boks will be able to produce their best performance of the season, take most of their opportunities and win by a margin larger than 16 on Saturday, in order to give them the best possible chance of winning the Rugby Championship.

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits