One of rugby’s most exciting competitions gets underway on Saturday as the Australian Wallabies host a depleted South African Springboks in the first match of this year’s Tri Nations Tournament. And with the Rugby World Cup just two months away, the winner of this competition could gain some much needed momentum.
Date/Time: Saturday, July 23, at 6:00 A.M. EST
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney Australia
Round 1 Tri Nations Rugby Betting Line:
The South Africans were the last team to break New Zealand’s supremacy in the Tri Nations, winning it all back in 2009. However, the Springboks will make their trip to the land down under minus 21 players who have been deemed unfit to participate in the teams opening match due to various injuries. Consequently there is a huge amount of experience missing from their squad and in turn it has diminished their chances at not only beating the Wallabies in the opening round, but hoisting this year’s Tri-nations Trophy.
Nevertheless, the Springboks who will leap onto the pitch come Saturday, will be searching to solidify a place on the upcoming World Cup squad, and that combined with the lack of pressure to walk away with even a single tournament victory could work in the team’s favor, not to mention that Boks Coach Peter de Villiers and his side have to be inspired and reeling with confidence in their chances at playing the spoiler, after witnessing the Wallabies meltdown against Samoa in one of the biggest international rugby shocks for some time.
But with just two regular starters hitting the pitch on Saturday, the Springboks are going to have to rely on their size and power, rather than quality, if they want to beat the Aussies.
Australia meanwhile, has to be feeling a little anemic after their stunning loss to Samoa, and will try to put it behind them while drawing on the confidence-building upset they pulled off against reigning champions New Zealand last October, which was something of a surprise given their status as underdogs, and the rise of the Kiwis.
Injuries too have plagued the Wallabies of late, and Coach Robbie Deans has been dealing with his own selection problems.
Prop Benn Robinson will be sidelined for this one, but the Aussies youthful replacements are some of the best young talent in the country, and should be capable of filling all of the Wallabies voids, including Robinson’s. Whether they are ready or not to break through fully at international status to compete with the All Blacks is a different matter all together. But then again the Springboks are not the Kiwis.
If Australia can get solid play from veteran ruggers Ashley Cooper and Will Genia, and mix it up with solid defensive play, they will limit the Boks’ offensive opportunities while moving one match closer to bringing home the title for the first time in a decade.
There is a lot of raw, young talent on this Australian squad. And while they are not the strongest side in this year’s tourney, they should be able to outmatch and expose the South African’s roster issues in this one.
Matt’s Wallabies vs Springboks Free Prediction: Australia 39-13 South Africa