With New Zealand-Ireland, then Australia-England and South Africa-Wales, the posters will not be missing in the tours of the northern nations this Saturday.
Between the nations of the southern hemisphere and those of the north, the par is perfect after the first two weekends of friendly matches: it is therefore the third and final confrontation, Saturday, that will determine the winner of each summer tour. . These victories not only shook the certainties of rugby’s leading nations, New Zealand’s All Blacks, three-time world champions, and South Africa’s Springboks, crowned in 2019, but also reshuffled the cards of the established World Rugby ranking.
Thus, on Monday, France took over, victorious over Japan (20-15) and host of the next World Cup in Tokyo on Saturday (8 2003). It brought South Africa back to third place, while Ireland is now second thanks to their historic victory in Dunedin against New Zealand , while the All Blacks have fallen to fourth, their worst finish since 2003. That said, whether this second series of Test matches has shattered certainties and raised questions in each of the nations set to compete in the 2023 World Cup, a little more than a year after they started.
On the first day, July 2nd, the world hierarchy had still made its way through the southern nations at home with the full map. Before the nations of the north rebel together in unprecedented fashion the following Saturday, one by one taking their revenge on their opponents and winning some of the historic victories.
Foster threatened with the Blacks?
Ireland (23-12) defeated the All Blacks for the first time on their ground, and Wales also achieved a first win, beating the Springboks at home at the last moment (13-12). England, for their part, capitalized on the advantage over Australia (25-17) and eventually Scotland did the same on the run, largely dominating Argentina (29-6) on their country. The counters are therefore reset to zero. “It’s a final for us. The streak is at stake and the Welsh must feel the same. We have big games ahead of us this year and next year it’s good that we’re getting used to games under pressure like this,” said Lood de Jager from Springbok’s second row.
For the South African world champions, this third test game is more about the staff revision, with ten changes in the starting XI, the hour is much more serious for the All Blacks. “Like the World Cup, it’s a matter of life and death. It’s a good challenge for us. I can’t wait to be there,” said New Zealand captain Sam Cane on Wednesday. A new disappointment on Saturday in Wellington could indeed mean the departure of manager Ian Foster, who has been criticized after a mediocre 2021 (12 wins and 3 losses, the worst record since 2009).
For their part, the Wallabies have had to deal with many injuries, while the Rose’s XV, deprived of concussion victims Maro Itoje and Sam Underhill, will field almost the same formation as in Brisbane, with three exceptions. “We have to be tough, but stay calm, that will be our challenge,” said England coach Eddie Jones. A mantra that Argentina’s Pumas can also employ if they want to avoid a second humiliation by Scotland after losing Salta.
The program for the third and last friendlies on Saturday:
(09:05) New Zealand v Ireland, in Wellington
(11:55 am) Australia-England, in Sydney
(17:05) South Africa v Wales, Cape Town
(21:10) Argentina v Scotland, in Santiago del Estero