Five lessons from the Test matches in Buenos Aires and Auckland, according to SIMON BORCHARDT.
Pat Lambie can control a game for the Springboks
Having started all three of this year's Rugby Championship matches on the bench, the 24-year-old made the most of his opportunity to wear the No 10 jersey on Saturday. Playing behind a dominant pack, Lambie confidently ran the show for the Boks, and produced a flawless goal-kicking display, slotting two conversions, three penalties and a drop goal for a 16-point haul. He may just have done enough to move past Handré Pollard in the flyhalf pecking order going into the World Cup.
Specialist wingers must play on the wing
Heyneke Meyer did Jesse Kriel a disservice when he played the 21-year-old out of position on the wing against Argentina in Durban. On Saturday, Lwazi Mvovo showed the value of a specialist winger when he beat three defenders to score the Boks' second try. Like Lambie, the 29-year-old made the most of a rare chance to start, making 64m from seven runs, completing three tackles and fielding a kick.
Dan Carter is back to his best
The 33-year-old flyhalf has struggled for form this season, but seems to be peaking at just the right time for the All Blacks. Carter had an excellent game at Eden Park on Saturday, taking the ball flat and getting the best out of Ma'a Nonu on his outside. It was Carter who created his side's first try when he stepped off his left foot, burst through a gap in the defence and put Dane Coles away with the perfect pass. He also kicked well for goal, slotting five conversions and two penalties.
Ma'a Nonu must wear the All Blacks No 12 jersey at the World Cup
The latest issue of NZ Rugby World magazine has Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams on the cover along with the coverline: The Impossible Choice. That choice has been made easier for coach Steve Hansen following Nonu's impressive display at Eden Park. He was strong with ball in hand, scoring two tries, and showcased his footwork and passing skills when he put fellow midfielder Conrad Smith away for a try. Williams will have a part to play for the All Blacks at the World Cup, most probably as an impact player off the bench, but it's Nonu who should start the big games in the No 12 jersey.
Quade Cooper must not be the Wallabies' first-choice flyhalf at the World Cup
In the build-up to the Bledisloe Cup decider, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika insisted that Cooper, who he had named to start at No 10, had nothing to prove in Auckland and would be going to the World Cup regardless of how he did. While that should still be the case, Cheika will now know that Bernard Foley, and not Cooper, is his first-choice flyhalf. Cooper produced another erratic performance at Eden Park, kicking a couple of early penalties, before passing the ball into touch, dropping a high ball and then conceding a penalty try when he high tackled Aaron Smith. The All Blacks would score two tries while Cooper was in the sin bin, and it was no surprise that he did not return to the field. Cooper has proven to be a defensive liability at Test level in the past, and on Saturday he was hidden at fullback when the All Blacks were on the attack. He also appeared to be affected by the pressure of the occasion, which would make him a risky selection for any World Cup play-off match.
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