2018-08-13 by Liam Del Carme
Australia v New Zealand
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has already installed the Wallabies as favourites for Saturday’s Test in Sydney. He is basing his assessment on what he saw from the Wallabies last year. Apart from the first half of the first Test, the Wallabies had the better of the All Blacks in the other five halves they played last year. They won the last Test 23-18 in Brisbane.Although the Australians teams failed to rise to the occasion in Super Rugby, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika tends to draw the best from the country’s playing elite.Expect the All Blacks to use ambush tactics, where they allow the Wallabies possession and territory, before hitting them hard on the counter.Also, expect a high scoring match with the All Blacks holding on inside seven points.
South Africa v Argentina
The Springboks showed encouraging signs in the June Tests, but their record still shows two wins from four clashes. That is an underwhelming stat and as much as Rassie Erasmus won hearts and minds, his team will be expected to challenge hard in the Rugby Championship. That means they will have to convincingly vanquish Los Pumas. That is easier said than done as the Boks host Argentina at the same ground where the tourists recorded a historic win in 2016.
The Pumas may have won just three of their last 23 Tests, they under new coach Mario Ledesma will be a formidable outfit. The Boks though, should win by at least 10 points.
Whitehaven v Doncaster
Whitehaven have bolstered their squad with five new players to help them push for promotion. Club legends Craig Calvert and Carl Sice have come of retirement but the results haven’t gone their way of late. Calvert retired at the end of last season as the club’s leading try scorer, while Sice hasn’t played since 2013.
Whitehaven lost 20-0 away to Oldham and crashed to a 46-0 beating at the hands of the Bradford Bulls the week before.Doncaster is on a four-match winning run after their latest win over London Skolars. It includes an away victory over Hunslet Hawks, and a commanding 46-4 win over Coventry Bears. Doncaster start favourites.
Bradford Bulls v Workington Town
The Bradford Bulls and the York City Knights are in a tussle for honours in League 1. A win for the Bulls over Workington Town is imperative to sustain their aspirations. Workington Town however are no push overs, having fought their way into the top three. The Bulls have delivered some solid performances It includes a crushing 46-4 win over Whitehaven and a 48-0 beating of North Wales Crusaders last weekend. The Bulls are overwhelming favourites.
York City Knights v Hunslet Hawks
The Knights are giving Bradford Bulls a run for their money in their battle for league honours. The Bulls and the Knights are a cut above the rest of the opposition and although Hunslet Hawks have delivered some solid performances this season, the Knights, who need no incentive at this stage of the season, should be too good. They’ll go into this game on the back of a 130-0 humiliation of the West Wales Raiders.