Rugby Championship: maximum pressure for the All Blacks and their coach

Rugby Championship: maximum pressure for the All Blacks and their coach

Flagship nation of world rugby, New Zealand, which challenges the South African world champions this Saturday, is in crisis.

Rieko Ione trying to escape Handre Pollard last season. Panoramic

Shaken by a black series of four defeats in five matches, the All Blacks and their coach Ian Foster, in the hot seat, play big during the Rugby Championship which they will begin on Saturday with a perilous trip to the South African world champions.

Attention, monument in danger. A leading nation in world rugby, New Zealand is in crisis after losing two matches in a row at home against Ireland in July (23-12 and 32-22).

Already beaten twice last fall, by XV du Clover (29-20) and France (40-25), it has slipped to fourth place in the world rankings, unheard of, and seems to no longer really do scare his opponents.
Coach Ian Foster risks his head

Strongly criticized in the land of the long white cloud, Foster has so far managed to save his head, unlike two of his deputies, John Plumtree and Brad Mooar, recently sacked.

The Rugby Championship, a benchmark annual competition in the southern hemisphere, in which defending champion New Zealand has won eight of the last ten editions, sounds to him like the tournament of the last chance.

Will he see the end? The All Blacks of Sam Cane, renewed as captain against all odds, begin with two delicate meetings in South Africa, reigning world champion.
The Springboks, who also suffered last month to win (two wins to one) their Test series against Wales, will be without Toulon winger Cheslin Kolbe on Saturday in Nelspruit, in the northeast of the country. , wounded in the jaw.

They are therefore cautious, especially since they have not beaten New Zealand at home for eight years. “The All Blacks are gifted in all areas. They will come to Nelspruit to make up for their lost series against Ireland and show that they remain one of the best teams in world rugby,” warned South African coach Jacques Nienaber.

The other meeting of this first day of the Rugby Championship will pit Argentina against Australia on Saturday in Mendoza. A special match for the new coach of the Pumas, the Australian Michael Cheika, who spent five years at the head of the Wallabies.

Victorious without necessarily convincing from their series against Scotland in July (two wins to one), the Argentinians, struggling in the competition since their integration ten years ago, will have a shot at home against Australia, who remains on two home defeats and a lost series against England (25-17 and 21-17).

A new rule will be tested during the tournament, played over six days until September 24: the possibility of replacing a player who has received a red card after 20 minutes.

The calendar (Paris hours):

Saturday August 6
South Africa – New Zealand (5:05 p.m.)
Argentina – Australia (21:10)

Saturday August 13
South Africa – New Zealand (5:05 p.m.)
Argentina – Australia (21:10)

Saturday August 27
Australia – South Africa (7h30)
New Zealand – Argentina (9:45 a.m.)

Saturday September 3
New Zealand – Argentina (9:05 a.m.)
Australia – South Africa (11:35 a.m.)

Thursday September 15
Australia – New Zealand (11:45 a.m.)

Saturday September 17
Argentina – South Africa (21:10)

Saturday September 24
New Zealand – Australia (9:05 a.m.)
South Africa – Argentina (5:05 p.m.)

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