2019 Rugby Championship: 3 reasons why the All Blacks are the team to beat
The countdown to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan begins in earnest this weekend, with the opening round of the 2019 Rugby Championship. An abridged version gives South Africa, Argentina and Australia little time to make up ground against the All Blacks, who remain hot favourites to lift the trophy in Australia at Optus Stadium in Perth.
The Pumas are set to kick off the opening round, hosting the All Blacks at Jose Amalfitani Stadium in Buenos Aires. The Wallabies will then be hoping to improve on their abysmal 24% win rate when they take on the Springboks Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg.
With that in mind, we thought we’d take a look at why the All Blacks remain the team to beat.
1. The All Blacks are really that good
The All Blacks are on the verge of their 450th win in international rugby and need only 26 points to become the first nation in international rugby to score 16,000 international points. Love them or loathe them, you can’t argue with that type of ruthless consistency and the Stats Insider model has given them a 91% probability in claiming a win in Buenos Aires this weekend. The Pumas are yet to taste any success against the All Blacks, who have never lost to Argentina in 32 meetings. The stats make for unhappy reading; the home side have lost their last 10 games playing the All Blacks at home.
2. Super Rugby has kept New Zealand ahead of the curve
The Crusaders have become the foundation of the All Blacks success over the years and 2019 was no different. Under potential future All Blacks coach, Scott Robinson, the Crusaders claimed their third consecutive Super Rugby title this season at home. Richie Mo'unga has emerged as a viable alternative to Beauden Barrett, while Sevu Reece will get a chance to cement his credentials on the wing this weekend against the Pumas. Crusaders forwards Sam Whitelock and Kieran Read continue to prove to be match-winners at domestic and international level. Four out of the five Kiwi teams made it through to the 2019 Super Rugby Finals and expect the dominance to continue for some time yet.
3. Is the Rugby Championship in danger of becoming one-sided?
The closest Wallabies fans will get to the Bledisloe Cup is watching John Eales highlights on youtube. The Wallabies won’t be getting their fingerprints on the Rugby Championship this year; with the men in gold simply lacking the depth to compete with New Zealand. A limited pool of players has meant that we have been subjected to watching Michael Hooper and his cohorts cop a flogging in the same vein as Queensland in the Origin dynasty years.
The Springboks provided the competition with a genuine spark in 2018 defeating the All Blacks 36-34 and breathing some life back into the competition. Argentina took another step in the right direction in 2019 as Jaguares made their maiden 2019 Super Rugby Final. Expect some improvement from a Pumas squad boasting Pablo Matera, Emiliano Boffelli, Tomas Lavanini, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, Matias Orlando and Guido Petti.