South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina are the teams fighting for victory in this year’s Rugby Championship, which begins on July 21st and ends on August 10th. Whilst the All Blacks hold the most titles, including last year’s, the path to victory this year may not be as clear.
Will the All Blacks do it again?
New Zealand’s rugby team is considered the best team in the history of the sport. In 580 matches, the descendants of Maori have emerged victorious 449 times, with a win percentage of 77.4%. So far, no one has managed to come close to this achievement.
Of course, the All Blacks are the main favorites, but as history shows, the team are willing to sacrifice one victory for another. On the eve of the 2011 and 2015 World Cups, the New Zealanders lost both Rugby Championships to Australia, but then invariably won the World Cup.
Whilst Steve Hansen will therefore be willing to take care of key players to protect the team’s World Cup chances, it would still be very wrong to underestimate the All Blacks ability on the field this year.
How do the rest of the field compare?
It is difficult to pinpoint who exactly will be New Zealand’s main competition for the 2019 trophy. Australia traditionally tend to have a good Rugby Championship in the run-up to the World Cup, but this time the Wallabies are without two of their central stars: David Pocock, who is recovering from injury, and Israel Folau, who is excluded from the national team due to an ongoing scandal with the Rugby Union.
Rassie Erasmus has transformed the South African side under his leadership and the team appear to have found a far better rhythm on the field. However, away matches are still a serious problem for Springboks, who have won only 4 of their last 10 away games. Given that they will have to play 2 matches away from home during this year's Championship, the stats don’t seem to favour the Springboks’ chances.
Can Argentina come out on top?
Whilst Argentina have never achieved higher than third place in this tournament, they have a wonderful chance this year for two main reasons. The first is that Mario Ledesma’s team will play two games at home (against New Zealand and South Africa), giving them that highly sought-after advantage.
The second comes down to the Jaguares performance in the Super Rugby. The Argentine franchise, made up entirely of rugby players from the national team, reached the final of the tournament for the 4th year of its existence, losing in the decisive match to the New Zealand Crusaders (19:3). This shows real promise, and we believe that Los Pumas that can create a real sensation in the Championship this year.
With the 2019 World Cup only months away, the Rugby Championship is the perfect tournament to test out your betting picks. Head over to our sportsbook today to place your bets and see how far your team can get in this year’s closer than ever competition.