It’s been a while since I’ve felt this level of excitement for a rugby tournament. As the Springboks enter the home stretch of the 2009 Tri-Nations Rugby Tournament, butterflies dive-bomb my stomach every time I think about their next, exhilarating clash.
Update: 6 Sep 2009 – Find out from this post what the standings look like after Saturday, 5 Sep’s game between the Springboks and The Wallabies.
Rugby’s Spectacular Tri-Nations Tournament
The world’s top 3 rugby playing nations clash in this annual affair; South Africa’s Springboks, current rugby world champions and International Rugby Board (IRB) No.1, New Zealand’s All Blacks, who usually lead the IRB rankings, but are currently No.2, and Australia’s Wallabies who complete the trio of powerhouse rugby nations and are positioned on the IRB rankings at No.3.
The 2009 Tri-Nations started on July 18 and the last match will be in Wellington, New Zealand on September 19. Two grueling months of action packed rugby with 9 fixtures in as many locations in 3 countries.
Getting up to Speed with Springbok Domination
Last year’s Tri-Nations was a dismal affair for the Springboks who where pretty much out of the running just over halfway through the tournament. This year the boot is quite on the other foot, and we’re just over halfway again, this time the Springboks are virtually a shoe-in to win.
Since their first game in this year’s tournament on 25 July against the All Blacks in Bloemfontein, the Springboks have made it clear that they were in it to win the 2009 Tri-Nations. The Springboks beat New Zealand in that game 28-19 and took the Tri-Nations standings’ lead over New Zealand who in turn out-played the Wallabies the week before, beating them 22-16.
The following weekend on August 1st, the Springboks reaffirmed the commitment by again beating the All Blacks 31-19. Morne Steyn was the poison on the unbeatable dart of the Springboks that day, scoring all the points with 8 penalty conversions and a try. South Africa then met the Wallabies for the first time on August 8 in Cape Town and made them feel quite unwelcome by handing them a 29-17 loss as souvenir.
Morne Steyn again booted 24 of the points, whilst Victor Matfield crashed the try-line as a reminder that the Boks can still score points on the ground too. Reminiscent of the Naas Botha-era of rugby, the Springboks were then accused of playing boring rugby, winning with the boot, etc. But the Springboks knew then, as they do now, that they dictate the game and paid no attention.
After the rest weekend and following the All Black / Wallabies clash the weekend after, the Springboks arrived in Perth 72 hours before their 29 August match against the Aussies. Reminding fans and critics why the Springboks are the world champions, they plowed the fields of the Sabiaco Oval in Perth with spectacularly annihilating, ground-based rugby. The Wallabies, dazed and confused by a 22-6 half-time score, rallied valiantly to stop the Boks, but failed and the Springboks won 32-25.
What’s left of the 2009 Tri-Nations Tournament
Right, so here’s everything you need to know about the 2009 Tri Nations Rugby Tournament so far…
Opportunities to score more points:
|Lose||1 (if score difference is 7 or less)|
|Bonus||1 (for scoring 4 tries or more in a game)|
|18 Jul||All Blacks vs Wallabies||Auckland, NZ||19:35||22 – 16||4 – 1|
|25 Jul||Springboks vs All Blacks||Bloemfontein, SA||17:00||28 – 19||4 – 0|
|1 Aug||Springboks vs All Blacks||Durban, SA||17:00||31 – 19||4 – 0|
|8 Aug||Springboks vs Wallabies||Cape Town, SA||17:00||29 – 17||4 – 0|
|22 Aug||Wallabies vs All Blacks||Sydney, AU||20:05||18 – 19||1 – 4|
|29 Aug||Wallabies vs Springboks||Perth, AU||18:05||25 – 32||1 – 5|
|5 Sep||Wallabies vs Springboks||Brisbane, AU||20:05||–||–|
|12 Sep||All Blacks vs Springboks||Hamilton, NZ||19:35||–||–|
|19 Sep||All Blacks vs Wallabies||Wellington, NZ||19:35||–||–|
From the tables above, with 2 games left per team, you’ll note the following:
- Even if Australia score maximum points of 5 per game they will only end on 13 points, almost sure losers;
- New Zealand still have a snowball’s chance in hell at winning the tournament by 1 point, but only if
- they can win both their remaining games (4 x 2 = 8);
- they can score 4 tries or more in each of those games (2 x 1 = 2);
- they can prevent South Africa from scoring 4 tries;
- they can ensure South Africa loses by more than 7 points;
- Australia also manages 3 and 4 above;
- South Africa, who only needs 2 points to be out of reach of New Zealand, will win the 2009 Tri-Nations Rugby Tournament if they
- win any of their 2 remaining games;
- draw any of their remaining games;
- score 4 tries or more in both their remaining games;
- lose by less than 7 points in both their remaining games;
- score 4 tries or more in 1 game and lose by less than 7 points in another;
Essentially, if you’ve bet on the Springboks to do anything other than win this Tri-Nations Tournament, you’ve probably already lost your money.
However, with both New Zealand and Australia now playing for honour and respect in this tough world of rugby (add New Zealand’s slim chance to still win plus probably wanting IRB No.1 slot back), the remaining games promise to be filled with brutal, action-packed and ferocious rugby. Which is exactly the reason why the mere thought of this Saturday’s clash and the next, is giving me heart palpitations.
There will be blood.