Rugby/Tours: North against South, a victory everywhere, the “beautiful” in the center

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.

French rugby players had to after winning their second test match against Japan (20-15), on July 9, 2022 at the National Stadium in Tokyo (AFP / Archives – Charly TRIBALLEAU)

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.

Welsh center Nick Tompkins pierces the South African defense during the second test match between the two teams on July 9, 2022 in Bloemfontein (AFP/Archives - PHILL MAGAKOE)
Welsh center Nick Tompkins pierces the South African defense during the second test match between the two teams on July 9, 2022 in Bloemfontein (AFP/Archives – PHILL MAGAKOE)

It puts South Africa back in third position, since Ireland, thanks to its historic success in Dunedin against New Zealand, is 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 has shaken 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? –

Irish players celebrate their victory, 23-12 against the All Blacks, a first on New Zealand soil, during the second test match between the two teams, on July 9, 2022 in Dunedin (AFP / Archives - Marty MELVILLE)
Irish players celebrate their victory, 23-12 against the All Blacks, a first on New Zealand soil, during the second test match between the two teams, on July 9, 2022 in Dunedin (AFP / Archives – Marty MELVILLE)

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.

Welsh back Liam Williams (l) congratulates winger Josh Adams after his scored try against South Africa on July 9, 2022 in Bloemfontein, during the second test match between the two teams (AFP/Archives - PHILL MAGAKOE)
Welsh back Liam Williams (l) congratulates winger Josh Adams after his scored try against South Africa on July 9, 2022 in Bloemfontein, during the second test match between the two teams (AFP/Archives – PHILL MAGAKOE)

“For us it’s a final. The streak is on the line and the Welsh have to experience the same. We have big games coming up this year and next year it’s a good thing for us to get together. 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 during 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. .

New Zealand coach Ian Foster, during a final training session for the All Blacks, on July 15, 2022 in Wellington, on the eve of the 3rd test match against Ireland (AFP - Marty MELVILLE)
New Zealand coach Ian Foster, during a final training session for the All Blacks, on July 15, 2022 in Wellington, on the eve of the 3rd test match against Ireland (AFP – Marty MELVILLE)

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. .

England coach Eddie Jones, on his arrival for the last Australian training for XV de la Rose, on July 15, 2022 in Sydney, on the eve of the 3rd test match against AFP (AFP - Saeed KHAN)
England coach Eddie Jones, on his arrival for the last Australian training for XV de la Rose, on July 15, 2022 in Sydney, on the eve of the 3rd test match against AFP (AFP – Saeed KHAN)

“We will have to be fierce but stay calm, that will be our challenge,” said England manager 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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