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The Breakdown: A statistical look at round five of the Rugby Championship

By Rob Lancaster
New Zealand captain Kieran Read looks rueful (Getty Images)

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New Zealand are in the unfamiliar position of attempting to bounce back from defeat in round five of the Rugby Championship this weekend but the omens are in their favour to do just that.


The All Blacks lost a corking Test match to South Africa 36-34 last time out in a game that could have seen them defend their title had they picked up a bonus-point victory.

Steve Hansen’s men will be stung, but they still remain the dominant force in world rugby and Argentina – who have won two matches in the same Rugby Championship for the first time – will need a near-flawless performance to cause an upset.

Australia coach Michael Cheika will be feeling the pressure after the Wallabies lost a home Test to the Pumas for the first time in 35 years and they have just one win from four matches.

But a decent recent record against the buoyant Springboks may help provide a much-needed boost.

Argentina v New Zealand

The Pumas will have to do something they have never done before to cause an upset. In 27 fixtures, the All Blacks are undefeated against Argentina – winning 26 and drawing one.


Moreover, Steve Hansen’s side have won each of the past five meetings between the teams in Argentina by a double-figure margin and averaging 39 points per game.

New Zealand have not suffered back-to-back defeats since 2011, while Argentina last earned consecutive home victories in two years ago.

Argentina have a poor record at Velez Sarsfield having lost their past three games at the ground, a fourth would equal their worst run at the venue (four games between 1991 and 1992).

A strong start may be crucial for Mario Ledesma’s side. With 65, no team has put on more first-half points in this year’s tournament than Argentina.


South Africa v Australia

South Africa have a spring in their step after their New Zealand triumph, but have won just one of their past six matches against Australia (drawn two, lost three) despite leading at half-time on four of those occasions.

But the Springboks are unbeaten in five straight home encounters versus the Wallabies, keeping them to 10 points or fewer in all but one of those.

Australia can become the first team to defeat South Africa at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on what will be their first encounter against the Springboks at the Stadium.

South Africa have not earned back-to-back wins against two different opponents in the Rugby Championship since 2014.

The second half could be crucial. South Africa have conceded just 35 points after the break, while Australia have put on the fewest in the second period with 23.

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