Rugby Championship needs a shot in the arm

Thu, 05 Oct 2017 16:28

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Rugby Championship has become too predictable over the years with New Zealand's dominance over their opponents.

The All Blacks picked up their fifth Rugby Championship in six years, but despite their dominance, All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen believes South Africa, Australia and Argentina are still worthy opponents.

Hansen is being nice, of course, but the reality is that the other three teams still have a lot of catching up to do to make the tournament interesting again in terms of being more competitive..  

New Zealand will end their 2017 Rugby Championship campaign against the Springboks at Newlands on Saturday after virtually securing the title again after four rounds of competition.

Probably the most eye-catching result of the competition was their 57-0 victory over the Boks in Round Three, which was a clear example of the gulf in class and professionalism between the two sides.

However, Hansen once again came to the defence of his opponents two days before their return match in Cape Town. 

"The scoreline doesn't really indicate how tough the games are," said Hansen.

"It probably doesn't do you [media] and your fans over here any comfort but for us we know it was a tough game and it was physical. 

"If they managed to take a couple of their opportunities that were there [in Albany], it could have been a whole different game. 

"Yes, we have been fortunate is the last couple of years to play really well and win the thing but there is not that bigger gap. I don't think."

The All Blacks are clear favourites once again for Saturday's clash, but Hansen said the Boks have are a different beast at home. Although, Newlands might not bring too many home comforts for the Boks with the support the All Blacks receive in the Mother City.

"We are really looking forward to the game and we know there is a big challenge. 

"We've never been disappointed by the Boks at home by their performances, so we know we are going to have to be at our very best, so we looking forward to it,' said Hansen.

By Warren Fortune

There are currently no matches being played
Fri, 23 February 2018
Highlanders v Blues 06h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Reds 08h45 Melbourne
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 19h00 Irish Independent Park
Dragons v Edinburgh 19h30 Rodney Parade
Leinster v Kings 19h35 RDS
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
France v Italy 20h00 Paris
Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Chiefs 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Bath v Sale Sharks 12h30 Recreation Ground
Lions v Jaguares 13h05 Johannesburg
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Sun, 25 February 2018
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 6 6 0 0 28
Australia 6 2 2 2 15
South Africa 6 2 2 1 14
Argentina 6 0 0 6 0