An exciting slate of Rugby Championship and Top 14 matches await over the weekend, but who will come out on top?
The Wallabies face an ominous trip to Wellington after the thrashing they received last week in Sydney, with the All Blacks in imperious mood, while Argentina will hope to bounce back in Salta after losing late on to the Springboks in Nelspruit.
Round 2 of the Top 14 meanwhile begins on Saturday with six games before Sunday’s high-profile clash between Montpellier and Clermont.
First things first, make sure to sign up for our Rugby Championship fantasy game with our friends over at SuperBru. Week one was a blast.
New Zealand v Australia
Preview: After last weekend’s humiliation, the odds are stacked heavily against the Wallabies and they will have to show considerable improvement if they want to match this All Blacks side, let alone beat them.
Prediction: The All Blacks are playing on home soil and should have little trouble in winning this one. Although the Wallabies will be more competitive, the All Blacks will win by 18 points!
Argentina v South Africa
Preview: The Argentinians have in recent times made a habit of losing Tests in the last 10 minutes and after last week’s last-minute defeat to South Africa in Nelspruit they will be desperate to make things right this time around.
Prediction: It should be a tight game with dry, hot conditions expected in Salta which will hopefully encourage some running rugby. The Boks are looking vulnerable and this might be Argentina’s best chance in a while to secure a first-ever home victory of South Africa. Argentina to edge it by 3-6 points.
Round 1 was packed full of twists and turns – who saw Bayonne winning against Toulon? – so we head into Round 2 of the new Top 14 season ready to expect the unexpected.
Toulouse v Bordeaux-Bègles
An opening day win over Montpellier was a big statement from Toulouse after a few mediocre seasons, outscoring their visitors two tries to none too. This is another tough home test up against UBB, who will be buzzing on their trip south after defeating defending champions Racing 92 on the opening day. Ian Madigan won the kicking battle that day with Dan Carter and faces another smart marksman this week in Sébastian Bézy. Raphaël Ibanez will be hoping his ambitious side can produce more try-scoring opportunities. Toulouse by 5.
Montpellier v Clermont
A monster clash awaits on Sunday between two of the league’s title contenders. Montpellier fell flat in Round 1 at Toulouse and Jake White will be expecting more in attack from his star-studded group. Clermont meanwhile came away from their trip to La Rochelle with a frustrating 30-30 draw, having led 24-10 at the break. This all comes down to which packs gets the upper hand, and neither set of forwards are exactly the shy and retiring type. Montpellier look a little susceptible after last weekend, giving Clermont a big chance. They could sneak it. Clermont by 3.
Other Top 14 predictions:
Pau v Toulon: Toulon by 7
Bayonne v Castres: Castres by 5
Brive v Stade Français: Stade by 9
Grenoble v La Rochelle: Grenoble by 3
Racing 92 v Lyon: Racing by 10