A humbling defeat at the hands of Argentina has all but ended Australia’s already slim chances of lifting the Rugby Championship title. 48-17 is the biggest defeat a Tier One Nation has had to Argentina since Japan lost 54-20 back in November 2016.
Dave Rennie’s men will need to seriously up their game with back-to-back clashes against the Springboks before the same against the All-Blacks. They welcome back a number of players that missed the second Argentina match, and that will be a big boost for the hosts.
South Africa dominated New Zealand in the competition opener, though were pegged back in the second test leaving the title very much in the balance. Anything other than a victory here would be detrimental to the Boks chances, and we’d expect them to come out swinging.
The visitors unsurprisingly come into this clash as favourites, though what is surprising is their poor away record on Australian soil in recent years. Indeed, they’ve failed to win any of their last seven away matches against the Wallabies, a run stretching all the way back to 2013 and is worth consideration.
With that said, the most recent two of those meetings saw Quade Cooper dominate proceedings at 10 last year, and that is now the area that the hosts are at their weakest with Bernard Foley drafted into the squad as desperation sets in.
Noah Lolesio is given another opportunity to cement the 10 jersey in his first ever start against the Boks. The Wallabies have a W5-L5 record in games Lolesio has started, and he’ll be looking to put his mark on this game.
Australia +5.5 Handicap
Faf de Klerk returns at half-back after his concussion in one of two changes to the side that lost to New Zealand, with Warrick Gelant earning a spot on the wing.
South Africa haven’t played many matches on the road recently, with their six since winning the 2019 World Cup seeing them win three (Scotland, Wales, Argentina) and lose three (England, New Zealand, Australia), and with a slight disparity in quality of those sides we’d be slightly cautious about their price here.
Allan Alaalatoa is one of many players returning to the Wallabies squad in a big boost that has seen experience return to the side in the form of both Foley and veteran utility back Kurtley Beale, and the prop has suggested his side have a certain ‘edge’ about them in training and are feeling confident.
That confidence can only be accelerated by the fact they’ll be back on home soil and have the home support, though quality is a real issue at the moment and the Boks look like too strong an outfit, though the handicap line appeals at the prices considering their positive home record.
AUSTRALIA +5.5 HANDICAP
Australia v Springboks Teams
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