FOX Sports Live coverage of the Wallabies road to Japan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup begins this weekend.
Facing South Africa at 12.30am on Sunday morning, the Wallabies will then square off with the world champion New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina in a four-way fight to see which nation reigns supreme in the Southern Hemisphere.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has welcomed back James O’Connor and Nic White to the squad to join established domestic players Michael Hooper, Kurtley Beale and Will Genia plus Taniela “Tongan Thor” Tupou in the green and gold.
FOX Sports will deliver insights and analysis throughout the Rugby Championship with former Wallabies George Gregan, Drew Mitchell, Phil Kearns, Tim Horan, Rod Kafer, Justin Harrison, Greg Martin and Stephen Holies alongside host Nick McArdle and the voice of Rugby in Australia, Greg Clark.
FOX Sports Rugby expert and Wallabies legend, Tim Horan, said: Australia: “After the Wallabies first two test matches in the Rugby Championships they will need to have settled on starting 15 for the World Cup so they can build some momentum. They need an attacking mindset which is apparent in the selection of their fullback with Kurtley Beale, Tom Banks and Dane Haylett Petty in the running, and which backrow combination Cheika goes with in order to springboard us into Japan come September.”
South Africa: ”The Springboks, ranked No.5 in the world, are my bolters for the World Cup because of the style of game of play is aimed at low mistakes, plus a dominant forward pack and kicking the majority of their goals, which suits because World Cups are won by not making mistakes. It will be interesting to see how they fare in the Rugby Championships as it will be telling for their campaign in Japan. Flyhalf Handre Pollard is the key man and he will punish teams that cough up penalties within kicking range.”
Argentina: “Following the success of the Jaguares making the Super Rugby final, Argentina have a distinct advantage with the bulk of their squad playing together for the whole Super Rugby season, so they will hit the ground running. They have a flamboyant and fast style of play where they like to keep the ball alive and kick out of trouble with ease. This team continues to improve a lot and are more than capable of beating the best in the world.”
New Zealand: “The All Blacks are the best in the world and continue to be the benchmark. They will be wary of their challengers and be ready to rise to the occasion this year. Any team that beats them will need a total team performance across 80 minutes. They have an embarrassment of riches in their squad that comes off the back of the Crusaders winning the Super Rugby title with the addition of superstars Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams and Ardie Savea.”
All times are AEST:
Week 1 – Sunday, July 21
South Africa vs Australia, FOX Sports 506, 12.30am
Argentina vs New Zealand, FOX Sports 507, 3.55am
Week 2 – Saturday, July 27
New Zealand vs South Africa, FOX Sports 503, 5pm
Australia vs Argentina, FOX Sports 503, 7.30pm
Week 3 – Saturday, August 10
Bledisloe Cup Game 1 – Australia vs New Zealand
Argentina vs South Africa