North against South, a victory everywhere, the “beautiful” in the center

With New Zealand-Ireland, then Australia-England and South Africa-Wales, the posters are not lacking this Saturday during the tours of the northern nations.

Between the nations of the southern hemisphere and those of the north, the equality is perfect after the first two weekends of test matches: it is therefore the third and last confrontation, Saturday, which will decide the winner of each summer tour. . These victories, in addition to shaking up the certainties of the leading nations of rugby, the New Zealand All Blacks, three-time world champions, and the South African Springboks, crowned in 2019, had the effect of reshuffling the cards of the established world ranking by World Rugby.

Thus, on Monday, France, victorious over Japan (20-15) on Saturday in Tokyo, and host of the next World Cup (September 8 – October 28, 2023), took the lead in this ranking, a first since its establishment in 2003. It put South Africa back in third position, as Ireland, thanks to their historic victory in Dunedin against New Zealand, are now second, while the All Blacks have demoted to fourth place, their worst ranking since 2003. This is to say if this second series of test-matches shook certainties and raised questions within each of the nations which will compete in the World Cup-2023, just over a year from its kickoff.

The first day, July 2, had yet respected the world hierarchy with the full card achieved by the nations of the South, at home. Before, in an unprecedented way, the nations of the North rebel together the following Saturday by taking all, each in turn, their revenge on their adversaries, bringing back for some historic victories.

Foster threatened with the Blacks?

Thus, Ireland beat (23-12) the All Blacks for the first time on their soil and Wales also achieved a first, by importing it at the last moment (13-12) over the Springboks at home. them. England for its part took the advantage over Australia (25-17) and finally, Scotland, on the creation, did the same by largely dominating Argentina (29-6) on its land. The counters are therefore reset to zero. “For us, it’s a final. The series is at stake and the Welsh have to suffer the same. We have big games coming up this year and next year it’s a good thing for us to get used to games under pressure like these, ”said Springbok second line Lood de Jager.

If for the South African world champions, this third test match will rather be placed under the sign of the staff review, with ten changes in the starting XV, for the All Blacks the hour is much more serious. “It’s a matter of life or death, like at the World Cup. It’s a good challenge for us. I can’t wait to be there,” New Zealand captain Sam Cane said on Wednesday. A new disappointment, Saturday in Wellington, could indeed signal the departure of coach Ian Foster, criticized after a mediocre 2021 (12 wins and 3 losses, the worst record since 2009).

The Wallabies, for their part, had to deal with the numerous injuries, while the XV de la Rose, deprived of Maro Itoje and Sam Underhill, victims of concussions, will field practically the same formation as in Brisbane, with three exceptions. . “We will have to be fierce but remain calm, that will be our challenge,” revealed England coach Eddie Jones. A mantra that could also apply to the Argentine Pumas if they want to avoid a second humiliation by Scotland after the rout of Salta.

The program for the third and final test matches on Saturday:

(09:05) New Zealand – Ireland, in Wellington

(11.55 a.m.) Australia – England, in Sydney

(5:05 p.m.) South Africa – Wales, Cape Town

(9:10 p.m.) Argentina – Scotland, in Santiago del Estero


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