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Rugby Championship, Boks to topple 'Bumbling' All Blacks?

Whilst the title of this article may have caught the attention of many Springbok fans who are buoyed by the fact that we achieved a series victory over Wales, it was hardly a convincing one. When Wales arrived on our shores they were ranked 9th and the Boks were 1st. Fast forward to today and Wales recorded their first ever win in SA and the Boks are now 3rd in the rankings. The tour definitely wasn't the success we wanted it to be.

The All Blacks had a tough time against the Irish in July too, however this must also be viewed within context. Ireland are debatably the best side in the world at the moment. They managed to record not only their first victory in New Zealand, but also a series win. The All Blacks faced a much tougher opponent in July than the Boks and whilst they may have come off second best, using that as a yard stick to judge their chances in the Rugby Championship could be very dangerous.

Just popping onto social media you will see a flurry of articles and memes about how the All Blacks are in trouble, their coach should be fired and what changes should be made to the squad. Yes they lost to Ireland, but they are also still the All Blacks and quality doesn't just disappear over night. Anyone that thinks they will be a walk over in the Rugby Championship is in denial on the one hand and over-estimating the Boks on the other.

The Springboks v All Blacks games under Rassie and Jacques' era have been extremely close affairs with a sort of tit for tat pattern developing between them. We win one, they win one and most are within a single penalties margin. I don't expect this year to be any different. Neither the Boks, nor the All Blacks are currently playing to their full potential.

Yes 2022 is probably the best shot the Boks have at getting the double over their Kiwi foe, but it isn't because of how they performed against the Irish. This is the first year since the formation of the Rugby Championship from the Tri-Nations that we will host the All Blacks in back to back test. Mbombela is first up and then the hallowed ground of Ellis Park follows. It is the home ground advantage and lack of travel fatigue that gives the boys their best shot. We always complain about the travel having such a big influence on the game, now is our chance to prove that that really is the case.

I have nothing but respect for this New Zealand side, they are extremely skillful and with just a few tweaks to what they are doing they could easily return to their former glory. Saying they are a bad side after losses to Ireland and France is not accounting for the whole picture, the Boks still have to face those two powerhouses in November. In rugby's biggest rivalry though, you know these sides are going to lift their games and we are in for a great contest, I am hoping for back to back wins, but I will be happy with 1 from 2.

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