The South Africa men’s national rugby team, aka the Springboks, recently made a couple of changes, bringing back Scrum-half Faf de Klerk just three weeks after recovering from a concussion.
The rugby championship kicked off in early August, and the four teams competing against each other are South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina.
Can Faf de Klerk’s return to the team affect the Springbok’s chances of winning the championship, or can Argentina or Australia keep them from climbing to the top of the table and lifting the trophy at the end of the tournament? With only a few weeks to go, anything can happen.
What happened to Faf de Klerk
The Springboks scrum-half Faf de Klerk suffered a horrific knockout in the very first minute of the opening game of the Rugby Championship against New Zealand’s All Blacks. He was running low, and his head collided with the knee of the All Black’s Caleb Clarke, who looked visibly worried about the clash and was clearly concerned when the emergency response team ran onto the pitch to stabilise him and get him stretchered off.
There was no malice involved, and it took around seven minutes before play could resume. It was distressing scenes for people who were in attendance watching the game and also for millions of fans watching around the world on television or online. However, the host broadcasters, SuperSport, cut away from the upsetting scenes of Faf de Klerk receiving treatment to make it less distressing for the viewers.
At the very end of the match, de Klerk made a miraculous pitch-side appearance, and fans from both teams applauded him. He also applauded the crowd and was seen talking to teammates. He was then watched closely to see if this injury would worsen, and he spent three weeks out before returning to play the first of two games against Australia (aka the Wallabies).
What kind of odds do the Springboks have of winning the Rugby Championship?
If you were to place a real money wager on New Zealand to win the Rugby Championship outright, you would see that most online sports betting sites currently have them priced at around -333.3 in American/Moneyline odds, which equates to 3.10 in UK fractional odds, and 1.33 in European decimal odds. In comparison, South Africa to win the championship outright comes with odds averaging around 4/1 (or 5.00). Australia are priced at around 11/1 (12.00), and Argentina are currently priced at around 33/1 (34.00).
In other words, it might be worth a flutter on Argentina to win with these great odds. Although the All Blacks are currently the favourites to win the Rugby Championship, they are sitting at the bottom of the table after just two games played. As it stands, New Zealand (who are in fourth) have played 2, won 1, drawn, and lost 1, and have 4 points (with a -4 points difference). South Africa are in third place. Australia are in second place, and Argentina are sitting at the top of the table with 5 points and a +16 points difference (PD).
Results so far
The Springboks won their opening game 26-10 on August 6th against New Zealand before losing 35-23 in their second match against them on August 13th. They lost to Australia on August 27th, and their second game against the Wallabies is on September 3rd before they go on to play Argentina on September 17th and then again on September 24th.
More about Faf de Klerk and the Rugby Championship
Faf de Klerk is one of the most recognised players in rugby today. The 30-year-old was born in Nelspruit, Transvaal, South Africa, in October 1991, and he started his senior career in 2012 playing for the Pumas before going on to have spells at the Lions, the Golden Lions, the Golden Lions XV, and the Sale Sharks. He currently plays in the Japan Rugby League One for the Yokohama Canon Eagles. De Klerk has played for his country on 39 separate occasions, racking up 25 points across all games.
The Rugby Championship, formerly the Tri-Nations, is an annual rugby tournament that includes four teams: Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. It started in 1996, and the most successful team is the New Zealand All Blacks, who have won an incredible 18 titles. Australia and South Africa have both won on four separate occasions, and Argentina have yet to win. The final game this year is scheduled to take place on September 24th between South Africa and Argentina.