A preview of Saturday's Rugby Championship clash between Australia and South Africa in Brisbane including best bets and tryscorer specials with @Olimp_SA
Australia vs. South Africa, Saturday 18 September 09:05
After a win in the final test of the British & Irish Lions series and back-to-back wins against Argentina, the Springboks’ winning streak ended in Robina last week against Australia. The two sides are back at it again on Saturday as the battle for second spot in the Rugby Championship continues.
Last week proceedings got off to a slow start with both sides trading penalties until Australia managed to break through the Springbok defense out wide after Siya Kolisi was yellow carded for a tip tackle. Andrew Kellaway ran in for the hosts and gave them a 13-6 lead, but after second rower Matt Philip was sent to the sin bin the Boks were able to take advantage of the extra man in the pack and hit back with a rolling maul try by Bongi Mbonambi. Pollard failed to convert the try, while Quade Cooper was able to slot two more penalties and send his side into the break leading 19-11.
South Africa had a chance to close the gap shortly after the restart, but Pollard failed to capitalize and missed his second kick of the match. A yellow card for a deliberate knockdown didn’t help matters much for the Boks, but fortunately they were able to avoid leaking more than three points while they were down to 14 men. A reckless tackle by Fainga’a earned him a yellow card just before Le Roux was set to return to the field and once again South Africa was able to take advantage of the extra man in the pack. Marx dotted down from the lineout and with Pollard adding the extras South Africa managed to close the gap to just one point. However, Cooper managed to keep the scoreboard ticking for Australia thanks to a perfect kicking performance and despite another unconverted pushover try from Marx, Cooper kicked his side to victory in the final moments.
South Africa dominated the Aussies last week up front with three tries from the lineout, but I would have liked to see more attacking from the backline. Pollard had an off day with the boot which didn’t help matters much, but even if he hadn’t it would have been a very unconvincing win for the Boks. If South Africa stick to their same game plan from last week of kicking the ball away and keeping things amongst the forwards it might be enough to grab the win, but it won’t be a blowout victory.
The handicap has been set at -7.5 for this match and I am not comfortable backing the Boks on the handicap after last week’s performance. Instead I will focus on the points and with the over total points arriving in six of Australia’s seven matches this season it looks like a good bet. It’s also worth noting that the Wallabies have a very strong track record at Suncorp Stadium, winning their last nine matches here including a win against South Africa in 2018. They might not have enough to seal back-to-back victories on Saturday, but I believe they can keep it close enough to cover the handicap.
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