The Rugby Championship Round Three - The Round of Opportunity

The Rugby Championship Round Three - The Round of Opportunity

Los Pumas coach Mario Ledesma has been the least busy coach following the bye week. Following the win over South Africa in round two Ledesma has made just four changes.

One of those four changes was out of necessity with Juan Figallo being ruled out through injury. while Martin Landajo and Gonzalo Bertranou were rotated once again.


The other changes were either just to keep players fresh or the regular starter returned.

However, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have all given a number of players an opportunity to step up this weekend and make a claim for more regular minutes in the test jersey.

Michael Cheika made a shock selection that saw his go-to man in the no.10 jersey, Bernard Foley, getting dropped to the bench with Toomua filling in at inside-centre and Beale to flyhalf.


Foley has been accurate from the tee but hasn't been able to spark the Wallabies backline like he did for the Waratahs this season. 


Unfortunately for Foley if this change works, and works well, he could lose his starting place for the rest of the competition. There is also a big opportunity up front for Rory Arnold who has brought in from the dark to start over Izack Rodda.

The Brumbies lock has been in and out of the Wallabies squad throughout his career and could cement his place in the squad against a powerful Springbok pack.

Another shock selection was Rassie Erasmus giving Elton Jantjies the nod over Handre Pollard. Pollard struggled from the tee over the past two games while Jantjies didn't feature at all during the past two games. Jantjies has blown hot and cold for the Springboks over his test career and like Toomua could get ahead of Pollard this weekend with a strong performance.

Jesse Kriel will be hoping to make a big impact this weekend after he looked to have lost his starting jersey to Lukhanyo Am. The Bulls centre started the vast majority of the Springboks' games last year but has only started one game under Rassie Erasmus. 

There are plenty of opportunities in the All Blacks squad this weekend. Shannon Frizell gets his second start in a black jersey and is certainly a rising star for the future but is unlikely to push for a regular starting place with Steve Hansen rating Liam Squire as New Zealand's best blindside flank by some distance.

Ardie Savea has arguably the biggest opportunity despite all the talk around Richie Mo'unga. Savea will make just his 5th start in the All Blacks jersey this weekend. With Sam Cane out through injury and Matt Todd in Japan, Savea is likely to get a full 80 minutes this weekend, something that has been extremely hard to come by for the flanker. Savea will want to prove that he is more than just an impact player.

Richie Mo'unga does have a big opportunity in the starting line up this weekend. The Crusaders flyhalf might have to wait some time to get another opportunity to start for the All Blacks with Beauden Barrett in such great form and Damian McKenzie providing a massive impact off the bench. 

It's hard to believe that after 47 test caps, TJ Perenara will make just his 10th start in the All Black jersey this weekend. Perenara has a genuine opportunity to claim some more minutes in the starting jersey. The Hurricanes scrum-half has kept the pressure on Aaron Smith throughout his career and may close the gap between the two with a stellar performance in the no.9 jersey.

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