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Who will win the 2012 Rugby Championship?

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Discussion thread for everything related to the inaugral Rugby Championship competition between Australia, NZ, South Africa and Argentina.

I think likely outcome for the series will be:

1. NZ
2. SA
3. Australia
4. Argentina


To get the ball rolling for you Wallaby fans:


Gregan backs Wallabies to reclaim Bledisloe Cup
DAVID LONG
Article

Wallabies great George Gregan believes Australia have their best chance in years to finally snatch back the Bledisloe Cup.

One of the greatest halfbacks to play the game and an integral part of the success Australia had in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Gregan feels that things could fall Australia's way in this year's series.

He believes the defining game of the three-test series will be the opening match, in Sydney on August 18.

"Australia has had chances in the last few years, in terms of being in a position to play game three and hope to get the job done. But they haven't quite done it," Gregan told Sunday News.

"Robbie [coach Robbie Deans] and the Wallabies team are always under pressure to bring the cup back to Australia. That's never going to change and it's no different for the All Blacks.

"Having two tests at home certainly helps Australia, but it is important to get the right result in game one.

"Winning the first game creates momentum because seven days later they play again, at Eden Park.

"It would be nice for Australia to go to Eden Park with a win under the belt, particularly from an Australian perspective, because it gives them a chance to get the job done and create history if they win in Auckland.

"But it also gives them a chance to win the cup in game three."

Like the All Blacks against Ireland, the Wallabies had a clean sweep of victories in their June test window, but they did face far tougher opposition in Wales.

It was a thrilling series with all three tests going down to the wire.

Gregan feels Australia have now developed the skill of knowing how to close out tight games.

"They are definitely maturing. Everyone talks about them being a young side, which is true, but they're a young side that has played a lot of rugby together now.

"For the majority of the squad, they're three or four years into this. There are quite a few players with 40 tests under their belts and that experience showed in the Wales series.

"They can close out games now and Australia and New Zealand are similar in the way they like to do that, in an emphatic way.

"But Australia showed their ability to close out the tight ones in the Wales series.

"It was a very good Welsh team and it was good to do the things they needed to do to get that result.

"It's something that's talked about a lot, but it's nice for the players to have experienced it and it wlll stand them in good stead."
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Ahead of the opening test of the series, Gregan will be involved in trans-Tasman rivalry once more, as he will be part of a Wallabies side to take on former All Blacks in a golf tournament.

In the Classic Wallabies team will be Gregan, Andrew Slack, Tim Horan, Elton Flatley, Greg Cornelsen, John Ballesty, Peter Carson, Phil Crowe, Tim Lane and James Black. Playing in the Classic All Blacks side will be Andy Haden, Justin Marshall, Grant Fox, Wayne Shelford, Joe Stanley, John Hart, Mike Brewer, Olo Brown, Terry Wright and Stu Wilson.

"It was on the back of an ARU initiative to make a festival of the Bledisloe Cup week and tied in with it a Ryder Cup-type golf tournament with Classic All Blacks and Classic Wallabies," Gregan said.

"Rugby players are no different from other sportspeople in that they love their golf and there is a chance to grab bragging rights before the actual Bledisloe Cup match.

"Hopefully, it will become a great annual fixture and it's a great chance to catch up with some of the guys we've played against.

"My handicap is six. I played a lot as a kid and I love my golf. I love rugby and it's been very good to me, but my favourite game is golf.'

Gregan played in 27 Bledisloe Cup tests. They were some of the most memorable games of his career, with perhaps surprisingly his standout being the 39-35 defeat in Sydney in 2000.

"The best test I ever played in was in the Bledisloe Cup. It was when Jonah Lomu scored right at the death in 2000," he said.

"They got off to a flier. We had hardly touched the ball and in a couple of blinks of the eyelids we were down 24 points.

"We got back into the game and at halftime it was 24-24. I remember walking off the field at the break and everyone was breathing pretty hard.

"It's funny the things you remember, but that's stayed in my mind, thinking that we've got another 40 minutes of this to go.

"It was an amazing game and obviously New Zealand won it, but I'll never forget it. It was one of those really special test matches."
 

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Will be interesting to see what the argies bring to the table, would be great if they can scalp one of the others away from home. Though I fear if that happens it will likely be Australias on the Gold Coast.
I think Australia has a decent chance, feeling more confident about them than the last few years.
Hopefully they win it properly though, by also getting the Bledisloe. That was the problem with last years tri nations win, because we still lost the bledisloe I felt we didnt deserve the tri nations.
 

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New Zaeland is still the best team but SA has lot of good players.
 

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You can admire them of course. But I asked if you believe they will win. Two completely different things. Don't always get so defensive.

You also haven't mentioned the AB's once.
thus i voted Australia and also pointed out that South Africa has some awesome talent at the moment........

like i said, talent only gets you halfway...
Springboks still have to battle selection politics and coaching enigmas...
 

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Fucks sake, CH9 Melbourne are delaying the Bledisloe on Sat night until 11.30pm! They're showing the Karate Kid instead. Nothing but absolute contempt from those *****. I'm off to the pub!
Sounds about right. Their Rugby World Cup coverage was pathetic and their Olympics coverage was nearly as bad.
 

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Sounds about right. Their Rugby World Cup coverage was pathetic and their Olympics coverage was nearly as bad.
I don't know what your expectatuions are but they sure are high, they're a commercial station, they are there to make money.

Interesting to see Sonny-Bill in the NZ side, I thought the NZRU would have banished him after turning his back on them or is he there just to create some interest?
 

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Well every other channel has been able to show the majority of rugby world cup matches live, channel 9 didn't. Also, channel 7's garbage coverage of the olympics was much better than channel 9's who constantly jumped from sport to sport, still managing to completely miss out on a large number of events. Their corny ads and build ups were also nearly enough to make you vomit.
I guess they just want their best players available for the competition. Not sure if the NZRU are really going to hold a grudge against him for switching back to Rugby league.
 

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Watched the game with a mate last night, his remark 'My under 16s side played better than the Wallabies'. The score line flattered us, with the All Blacks happy to sit on their lead, never really moving out of second gear. Hopefully this loss gets the Wallabies to pull their head in and play proper rugby. But I guess from the moment the side was named most people had given up on a Wallabies victory. I did think Berrick Barnes played some smart football though, had a decent kicking game.

Also watched S Africa v Argentina. THat was a good game, with the scoreline flattering the safricans a bit. While the Argie scrum didnt click into gear, during the second half they showed how dangerous they could be with a rolling mall. Also absolutely loved their kicking game, in particular the chase after the kicks. Think theyll improve tremendously over the competition, theyre not going to be rolled over.
 

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I was only able to watch the first 20min as i had to board my flight...
But thats all i needed to watch to realise the Wallabies had lost that game..

Australia selected a defensively orientated team, but the defence was not good enough to prevent the All Blacks from scoring.. So they now need to bring a bit of attacking flair into the team... ie Quade Cooper
 

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I watched it, I just about always do when it's us vs the All Blacks. I thought the Kiwi haka looked a little tamer than usual, maybe it's because they have the teams so far apart now. Pretty easy win for the Kiwis without them ever really having to strain themselves. We should have had Quade Copper playing, maybe with him we'd have some hope and spark, rather than going through the percentage play motions. Beale the full back had a shocker, is he always that bad?

I really try to get into Rugby, but they make it so hard at times. When it's flowing it can be a joy to watch, but for the last decade or so, despite or maybe because of some rule changes it just seems to be getting worse and worse. Constant penalties around the rucks and mauls, most of the time I don't know what for, just about all of them are breaking some rule it seems. There must have been about 40 penalities in the game, I don't have the exact number, but they felt pretty constant. Scoring a try for 5 is a rare event, but why worry when you can boot 3 points all day.

They've got to make some changes, less rules to break in the ruck/maul, sin binning for blatant rule breaking. 2 points for all goals, conversion, penalty and field. Try something because it's not that great a spectacle at the moment.
 

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AB - some refs are way worse than others. It's no fun for anyone to watch when a ref wants to take control of a game. There are definitely some out there though they really let the game flow and keep penalties to a minimum.

Wallabies attack was woeful though. Beale is usually one of the better players in the team, but was way off the mark in that game. Rob Horne and Faingaa just aren't effective at centre....yes they are ok in defence, but they provide no attacking prowess.
 
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