Argentina v New Zealand
Rugby Championship – Saturday @ 23.40
Who’d have predicted the All Blacks would have lost to the Springboks two weeks ago!?
Unsurprisingly, we can’t see a repeat feat when they travel to Buenos Aries on Saturday evening. Steve Hansen’s side are bound to be the proverbial wounded animal here, with the 23 of them all thirsty for Puma blood.
Have you ever seen a wounded animal do the Haka? It’s not a pretty sight.
Six changes to the side that lost to SA shows that Hansen is keen to keep players on their toes ahead of next year’s World Cup, and the defending champions will be expected to make a statement in this game after their previous disappointment.
If they do, they should rack up some scores. During that disaster against South Africa Rieko Ioane bagged himself a brace. Don’t rule out a similar return from the Blues winger this time on what should be a serious show of strength from the world champs.
Sydney Roosters v Melbourne Storm
NRL Grand Final – Sunday @ 10.20
There’s nothing flukey about these two making it to the Grand Final – hello 2017’s North Queensland Cowboys.
Apart from South Sydney’s lethal left edge and St George Illawarra Dragons blistering start to the season, you’d be hard pushed to find anyone who’d challenge these two as the cream of the NRL crop this year.
Billy Slater and Ryan Hoffman are hoping to bring down the curtain on their established careers with another Grand Final win and Blake Ferguson is hoping to leave the Roosters on a high. Slater’s got a lucky break having been cleared of a shoulder charge versus Cronulla, but there are still doubts over whether Cooper Cronk will play. This game could hinge on whether he passes a late fitness test.
The Roosters had the best defence in the regular season, conceding 361 points in 24 games which averages out at – cue Carol Vorderman – just 15.04 point per game.
The Storm only conceded a couple more points than Sydney on average so these two could not be more closely matched defence-wise. They’ve only met once this season, with Melbourne winning by the minimum on a squeaky scoreline of 9-8.
All of which points to this being a razor-tight affair. If the Roosters can get over the nerves of playing in their first Grand Final since 2013 they can ruin Melbourne’s back-to-back title ambitions. James Tedesco should prove he is the best full-back in Australia if they do and will likely take the man of the match award.
*All odds correct at time of posting