2022 New Zealand All Blacks vs Argentina

The Rugby Championship Round 4 Preview: Can Argentina Do The Double?

The Rugby Championship Round 4 Preview: Can Argentina Do The Double?

The Rugby Championship has been wild so far—here's what's coming up in Round 4 of the competition.

Aug 31, 2022 by Briar Napier
The Rugby Championship Round 4 Preview: Can Argentina Do The Double?

If you flipped the current Rugby Championship table upside down, you’d have the final table many people probably projected before the competition starting earlier this month.

But alas, the Rugby Championship this season is about as topsy-turvy as it gets.

This year’s competition officially reached its halfway point following the conclusion of Round 3’s matches, and considering the recent history of the Rugby Championship, the tournament's current course is unlike any seen before it.

Strap in for the ride ahead, because there could be some history made. And dependent on which country you support, that could be for all the right or wrong reasons.

Here’s a look at what’s to come for Round 3 of The Rugby Championship, with every play of the action streamed live on FloRugby throughout the tournament.

NOTE: All kickoff times are listed in Eastern Time and are subject to change.

Where things stand

Argentina shockingly pulled off its first-ever win in New Zealand as the All Blacks’ recent woes continued, while Australia marked its return to Adelaide for the first time in 18 years with a big victory over South Africa. For further breakdowns of the Round 3 tests, click here for FloRugby’s previously-published recap.

Standings (After Round 3)

1. Argentina (2-0-1, +23 point differential) - 9 points (one bonus)

2. Australia (2-0-1, -8) - 9 points (one bonus)

3. New Zealand (1-0-2, -11) - 5 points (one bonus)

4. South Africa (1-0-2, -4) - 4 points (zero bonus)

Try leaders

1. Two tied (Juan Martin Gonzalez, Fraser McReight) - 3

2. Four tied (Thomas Gallo, Len Ikitau, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Kwagga Smith) - 2

Points leaders

1. Emiliano Boffelli (Argentina) - 54

2. Handre Pollard (South Africa) - 32

3. Richie Mo’unga (New Zealand) - 25

4. Two tied (Juan Martin Gonzalez, Fraser McReight) - 15

New Zealand Vs. Argentina

When: 3:05 a.m. Saturday

Where: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand 

The lowdown: When Argentina led The Rugby Championship standings following its home series split to Australia to kick off this year’s tournament, it looked more like a quirk in the table rather than a legitimate expectation. 

Now, following a stunning maiden victory against New Zealand on its own turf, Los Pumas’ Rugby Championship title aspirations just got a lot more serious. To put Argentina’s thrilling win against the All Blacks on Saturday at the Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch into perspective, not only had Los Pumas never won a previous test against New Zealand on the road before, but they’d never really come close, having been defeated by at least double digits (including as bad as a 93-8 thrashing in 1997 in Wellington) every single time they traveled to Aotearoa. 

But make no mistake, Argentina was no fluke this past weekend. 

Winger Emiliano Boffelli has been in red-hot form, looking like the player of the competition thus far through consistent kicking (19 for 22) and elite playmaking on the outside. Paired with other standouts like flanker Juan Martin Gonzalez, prop Thomas Gallo and the numerous others that have shined for coach Michael Cheika in The Rugby Championship, and Argentina has the look right now of the tournament’s most complete unit. 

A successive victory this weekend in Hamilton, however, would immediately rocket Argentina into unforeseen territory as the probable favorite to bring the title to South America for the first time. Even amid a dreadful six defeats in eight matches, it’s still the All Blacks at home. It's going to be a tough out. If New Zealand coach Ian Foster isn’t going to sort out now, will he ever? 

Australia Vs. South Africa

When: 5:35 a.m. Saturday

Where: Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney, Australia 

The lowdown: Argentina might’ve gotten the headlines for its upset win, but Australia—currently injury-plagued and full of squad rotation—and its triumph over South Africa this past weekend was also a huge accomplishment.

Last weekend's result kept the Wallabies on pace with Los Pumas and restored some belief to a side that’s missing captain Michael Hooper (personal reasons), veteran fly-half Quade Cooper (Achilles’ injury) and a few other major contributors. On the flip side, breakout stars have been found amid the chaos, too. 

For instance, Hooper’s replacement in flanker Fraser McReight—who was called up in the first place by coach Dave Rennie following solid performance’s with the Australia A team during July’s Pacific Nations Cup—was spectacular on the weekend in Adelaide with a two-try performance, leaving him tied for the competition lead. 

On the South African touchline, coach Jacques Nienaber must find a way to establish some consistency—and fast—for his side as the Springboks now unexpectedly find themselves at the bottom of The Rugby Championship table halfway through this year’s competition, a place that especially stings considering rival New Zealand’s major struggles. 

Stronger starts could be helpful, particularly when considering the Springboks have scored half of their six tries in this year’s competition in the 75th minute or later. They also allowed Australia to hit them immediately for an opening-minute try in their meeting this past weekend. 

The defending world champions know that they have a standard of success to uphold, and shutting down any Aussie momentum quickly this weekend in Sydney will be critical to the Boks’ hopes to get back on the right track.