Well, where do you start in trying to dissect what happened in Week 3 of the 2022 Rugby Championship?
The unthinkable happened, as Ian Foster’s All Blacks set another unwanted record, this time by losing at home to Argentina. The 25-18 win by Argentina at the Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch was the first time the Pumas have won a match against the All Blacks in New Zealand.
What a result for @lospumas!
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) August 27, 2022
The loss to Argentina set more records than just that, though. It was the first time in the proud rugby nation’s 119-year history that they’ve lost three successive matches at home. And it also means that only twice, 1949 (six losses), and 1998 (five losses), have the All Blacks lost more times in a season than the four defeats they currently sit on.
And for New Zealand fans, they know that there is still plenty of time for Foster and his team to claim that record outright! With the way things are currently going, it seems like they may well lose more than six matches this season.
Foster Really Must Be Drinking In Last Chance Saloon?
Another defeat for the All Blacks at home to Argentina this weekend really must signal the end of the road for Ian Foster. It did feel like that last week. But somehow, it didn’t seem plausible to believe that the Pumas would win on Kiwi soil.
Ian Foster got the backing of New Zealand Rugby (NZR) after Week 2, when the All Blacks got back on track, beating South Africa 35-23 at Ellis Park. And with back-to-back home matches against Argentina to follow, NZR and Foster would no doubt have felt they’d successfully negotiated the tricky waters they found themselves in after the opening weekend defeat.
Not now! The defeat in Christchurch last Saturday has put them right back in the choppy waters, and this time, Foster is pinned right up against the rocks.
A loss this weekend is unthinkable. And as one respected All Blacks’ following journalist, Gregor Paul, said, “one more loss at Hamilton (the venue for this Saturday’s match), for the sake of a legacy 120 years in the making, has to be the terminus.”
The back-to-back defeats to Ireland earlier in the season were hard for the New Zealand public to swallow. But Ireland went to the top of the world rankings after those wins. Ireland was already one of the top sides in world rugby. So it was kind of acceptable, in a strange way.
— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) July 16, 2022
As much improved as Argentina are, they aren’t in Ireland’s class. So losing back to back to the Pumas is just unthinkable. And it surely would have to be the end for Foster.
Joe Schmidt is Ready and Able to take over
Part of the coaching restructures implemented by NZR to save Foster after the recent losses saw Joe Schmidt brought in from his role as a selector to attack coach and strategist.
If Foster is to be relieved of his duties anytime soon, Schmidt would be more than capable of taking over.
Schmidt arguably set the wheels in motion for some of Foster’s problems in his previous role as Ireland coach.
Under Schmidt’s leadership, Ireland went from being plucky underdogs to serious contenders. The players were there in Ireland. The mentality wasn’t. Many in Ireland would rightly credit Joe Schmidt with changing the mindsets of not only the players but also the Irish rugby fans and media.
Even if it were in a caretaker role until after the 2023 world cup (New Zealand are +300 to win it with the top-rated sportsbooks), it’s hard to see any reason why Schmidt wouldn’t be one of the names in the hat should Foster depart any time soon.
What Next For Foster and New Zealand?
As mentioned earlier in this article, New Zealand faces Argentina in Hamilton this Saturday.
After that, there is a two-week break until Week 5, when the All Blacks cross the Tasman Sea to face the Wallabies. The two-week break could be the ideal time to get rid of Foster should they lose again this weekend.
Who is the Favorite to win the 2022 Rugby Championship?
Despite the loss to the Pumas, the All Blacks are still the favorites with the best rugby betting sites to win the 2022 Rugby Championship.
This is mainly thanks to Australia’s 25-17 win over South Africa last Saturday.
Fun in the sun for the @wallabies
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) August 27, 2022
It would surely now take a brave or foolish punter to wager hard-earned cash on New Zealand to win the title at -150.
|2022 Rugby Championship Winner Betting|
Table toppers Argentina has come some way in the betting. They started the competition at +7500. They may well be still fourth in the betting, but at +1200, their odds have shortened somewhat.
If they win again this weekend, they are in with a real shout of winning the whole competition. At the start of this year’s competition, the Pumas would have probably been happy to score a win or not finish bottom of the table.
So to be in with a chance of winning the Rugby competition at the halfway stage must be way beyond even their wildest dreams.