South Africa’s Herschel Jantjies in action against Australia during their Rugby Championship match. Agence France-Presse
New Zealand began the on-field build-up to their defence of the World Cup with a scratch combination and a scratchy 20-16 win over Argentina in the Rugby Championship on Saturday.
With the Rugby Championship being seen as little more than a World Cup warmup for the southern hemisphere’s top four nations the abridged tournament could produce a surprise or two amid the tinkering with tactics and selections.
Managing risk while experimenting with selections, tactics and combinations has been the major theme in the build-up to Saturday’s Rugby Championship blockbuster clash between South Africa and New Zealand.
Cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams was benched and fellow centre Ryan Crotty missed out altogether as New Zealand named their team for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Ireland.
Bottom club Ittihad Kalba will look to bounce back to give their new coach a winning debut when they take on Fujairah in the fourth round match of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) on Friday.