The Rugby Championship Round One Preview

The Rugby Championship Round One Preview

Australia, South Africa and Argentina will be looking to end New Zealand's stronghold on the Rugby Championship title this year with the Wallabies looking to do the double and claim the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002. 

The action kicks off this weekend with the All Blacks traveling to Sydney to face off in the opening match of the tournament against the Wallabies, while the Springboks host Los Pumas in Durban. 

Round 1 (all times local)

Saturday 18 August: Australia v New Zealand @ ANZ Stadium, Sydney (20:05)
Saturday 18 August: South Africa v Argentina @ Kings Park, Durban (17:05)

New Zealand v Australia (Bledisloe 1)

Past Results:

Matches played: 161
All Blacks won: 111
Australia won: 43
Draw: 7
Last match: All Blacks 18-23 Australia (21 October 2017)
Largest winning margin: New Zealand 43-6 Australia (1996)


All Blacks: 

The All Blacks have named a settled squad from the one that played France in June including the return of captain Kieran Read and lock Brodie Retallick. A late change sees Ofa Tuungafasi being ruled out with a rib injury and replaced by Tim Perry who is set to make his Test debut. Crusaders centre Jack Goodhue also gets the nod at centre ahead of Anton Lienert-Brown for his second Test start. Sam Whitelock will also earn his 100th test cap for the All Blacks and will set an impressive record in doing so.

1. Joe Moody 2. Codie Taylor 3. Owen Franks 4. Brodie Retallick 5. Samuel Whitelock 6. Liam Squire 7. Sam Cane 8. Kieran Read – captain 9. Aaron Smith 10. Beauden Barrett 11. Rieko Ioane 12. Ryan Crotty 13. Jack Goodhue 14. Waisake Naholo 15. Ben Smith 

Reserves: 16. Nathan Harris 17. Karl Tu’inukuafe 18. Tim Perry 19. Scott Barrett 20. Ardie Savea 21. TJ Perenara 22. Damian McKenzie 23. Anton Lienert-Brown


The Wallabies have named a settled pack for the opening test including the return of Michael Hooper who missed the closing stages of the Waratahs' season through injury while Tom Robertson gets a rare and well-deserved start. In the backs, Reece Hodge gets his first start in the Wallabies 13 jersey following the injuries to Samu Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani while Will Genia also returns from injury. Matt Toomua returns following his three-year absence in the Wallabies jersey while exciting back Jack Maddocks could make his test debut from the bench. 

15. Israel Folau 14. Dane Haylett-Petty 13. Reece Hodge 12. Kurtley Beale 11. Marika Koroibete 10. Bernard Foley 9. Will Genia 8. David Pocock 7. Michael Hooper (captain) 6. Lukhan Tui 5. Adam Coleman 4. Izack Rodda 3. Sekope Kepu 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau 1. Tom Robertson.

Reserves: 16. Tolu Latu 17. Allan Alaalatoa 18. Taniela Tupou 19. Rob Simmons 20. Pete Samu 21. Nick Phipps 22. Matt Toomua 23. Jack Maddocks.
South Africa v Argentina

Past Results:

Matches Played: 26

Springbok Won: 23

Argentina Won: 2

Draw: 1

Last match: Argentina 23-41 South Africa (19 August 2017)

Largest winning margin: South Africa 73-13 Argentina (2013)



Warren Whiteley, Francois Louw, Eben Etzebeth and Malcolm Marx all return to the Springbok starting XV having missed the June Tests. The uncapped duo of Damian Willemse and Marco van Staden feature on the bench, while Makazole Mapimpi will start at No 14 jersey. Sharks centres André Esterhuizen and Lukhanyo Am will feature in the same in the midfield for the time having both made their first starts for the Boks in June. 

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Siya Kolisi (c), 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira.

Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Damian Willemse

Los Pumas:

Mario Ledesma has named his first Los Pumas side with tighthead prop Juan Figallo returning to the starting XV having last featured for the side against South Africa during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. 

Diego Fortuny, Santiago Medrano, Juan Cruz Mallía, Bautista Delguy and Bautista Ezcurra will make their Rugby Championship debut in the match, while Agustin Creevy continues to lead the side from hooker.

15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolás Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertanou, 8 Javier Ortego Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Augustin Creevy, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Subs: 16 Diego Fortuny, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Tomás Lavanini, 20 Tomás Lezana, 21 Martín Landajo, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Juan Cruz Mallia.

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