This year's TRC has shown that as we approach Rugby World Cup 2019 there is very little between the SANZAAR nations.... the latest draw between All Blacks and 'Boks showed that.
New Zealand and South Africa played out a pulsating 16-16 draw in Round 2 of The Rugby Championship 2019, the All Blacks looked home and hosed heading into the final minute of play before the Springboks conjured up a wonderful try to Herschel Jantjes allowing them to fly out of New Zealand with some hard-earned competition points. The result last weekend means there has now been a drawn match in each of the participating countries in The Rugby Championship.
Argentina finished with a drawn result in just their second match ever in The Rugby Championship (Round 2, 2012 v South Africa). The Pumas raced out to a 10-0 lead after less than 20 minutes of play through a penalty goal to Martin Rodriguez (11th minute) and a converted try after No.12 Santiago Fernandez crashed over (16th minute).
The Springboks got on the scoreboard with eight minutes left to play in the first-half when fly-half Morne Steyn struck a penalty goal, Martin Rodriguez returned serve three minutes later to send the Argentines into half-time with a 10-point lead (13-3). Both teams traded penalty goals to open the second-half proceedings before Springbok No.12 Frans Steyn scored a try against the run of play in the 64th minute which was duly converted to give the finishing score-line of 16-16.
The tied result against South Africa was only the second time in The Rugby Championship’s history New Zealand have been held to a draw. The first such occasion took place five years ago against Australia in Sydney (12-12). It was a grinding affair with not a single try scored in the match, the points all coming off the boot of Australia’s Kurtley Beale (4 penalty goals) and New Zealand’s Aaron Cruden (4 penalty goals). The conditions made getting on the front-foot hard to come by, although Australia were particularly unlucky having dominated possession (66%) and territory (67%) on the day. Capturing the entire affair in a single number can perhaps best be displayed by the fact All Blacks’ scrumhalf Aaron Smith made the only clean break in the entire match.
Overall, the top five teams in World Rugby history with the most draws have all come from the northern hemisphere. Indeed, a draw in back-to-back rounds of The Rugby Championship has never occurred. The world will have to wait and see if this trend is reversed in Round 3 of the 2019 campaign.