Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle (Australia)
Date: Saturday, November 28, 2020
The Tri-Nations Championship is poised in a very interesting way as the teams head into the final two matches. All three sides are tied on six points, with New Zealand and Australia each having played three games, while Argentina has played just the two so far.
New Zealand dominated Australia to win the first Tri-Nations clash between the two in 2020 – their third match in three weeks after a couple of warm-ups – but they were then shocked by the Aussies a week later. The All Blacks have more talent than the other two teams in the comp, but their last two outings have been defeats and they are in real danger of not winning the championship.
Argentina got a belated start to their campaign because of all the rules surrounding travel in our current climate. They made history by beating the All Blacks two weeks ago for the first time in their history 25-15. It was a game where passion and desire made a huge difference, but that would be understating the skill that the Argentines showed in their win.
Argentina then took on Australia last weekend and the two battled to a 15-15 tie. It was a game in which Argentina showed all the grit and determination that has become their hallmark with a backs to the wall performance repelling the Aussies attack.
The All Blacks could have made a myriad of changes to their team given the strength in depth of their squad. Instead, head coach Ian Foster has elected to make just three changes to the side that was defeated by Argentina two weeks ago.
Those changes all come in the pack, with Foster sticking with his backline from the clash. The players coming into the side are flanker Akira Ioane, lock Scott Barrett, and prop Nepo Laulala, with Foster hoping the changes will add size and power against an Argentine pack that was dominant to the point of bullying New Zealand in their previous meeting.
Pumas coach Mario Ledesma would have loved to stick with the warriors that beat New Zealand two weeks ago. The problem is that the schedule of this competition – that sees Argentina play four games in four weeks – means he has had to rotate his squad to freshen things up.
Ledesma has made no less than 10 changes to his starting XV for this one, though pillars such as fly-half Nicolas Sanchez, hooker Julian Montoya, and inspirational captain Pablo Matera remain. This is going to be a huge test of some of the squad players, though as most have played for the Jaguars at some point there will at least be some chemistry to work with.
The line here is 18.5 in the favor of the All Blacks as the bookies fully expect them to exact revenge on Argentina and their under-strength team. Take New Zealand +18.5 (0.90) with BetXChange as the Argentines will struggle to keep the score down late with their combination of tired players and replacements.