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Hello there! Just a quick one today from me. Round 3. What’s in the bag? Well, New Zealand welcome Argentina to Nelson, with South Africa visiting Australia in Brisbane. Below are The Algorithm’s predictions for the matches.
No surprises in the New Zealand match, with the hosts expected to comfortably see away Argentina. Australia and South Africa could be the match to watch this weekend however, despite the relatively comfortable prediction for an Australian win above. We feel South Africa might just be looking for that something extra to avenge their defeat to Argentina in the previous week.
Given the way the matches have fallen so far The Algorithm now gives New Zealand a healthy chance of retaining their Rugby Championship title for the third consecutive year.
Argentina’s stats in New Zealand don’t make for pleasant reading. 14 matches. 14 losses. The average points margin at the end of the match is 35, which includes an 85 point thrashing in Wellington in 1997. This remains Argentina’s heaviest ever defeat.
However, in recent matches the margin has been decreasing. Aside from a 35 point deficit in 2016, most matches have been within 20 points come the final whistle. Hardly a sign of hope for many Argentina fans we’re sure, but it is a sign of what they will be up against on Saturday. Realistically, playing to a 15 point deficit would be a real performance for the Argentinians.
Australia and South Africa have met 85 times in total, with South Africa leading the head to head 46 to 36, with 3 draws (2 of which were last year in the Rugby Championship). In Australia however, the Wallabies lead the head to head, by 24 matches to 12, with 2 draws. 7 of the South African wins on Australian soil came pre-1990 however, with the Australians establishing some home dominance thereafter.
There seems to be a rough pattern here. Australia win 3 or 4 matches, before South Africa either win or draw a match. If this goes to form tomorrow, we can expect an Australian win. Indeed the rankings back this up, with the Wallabies currently holding a slight lead over the Springboks. With home advantage, the Australians should be too strong for South Africa. However, Erasmus may demand that little something extra from his Springbok side, in order to avenge their defeat to Argentina two weeks ago, so this match could be a little closer than expected. It could be a close one, definitely one to keep an eye on this weekend.