The Rugby Championship 2015 is over with the Wallabies the unlikely winners given that they started the competition as the third ranked team. Here are seven things we learnt from the Rugby Championship 2015;
1) The focus was definitely on aiming towards the Rugby World Cup with all teams testing some new players and combinations. We won't find out until October, if we could read much into The Rugby Championship 2015 or not, because it is hard to say if we saw all teams playing at full strength. We all know the fact that no team has won The Rugby World Cup and Rugby Championship/Tri Nations in the same season.
2) In Rugby World Cup year there were only three games per team and the draw was very important. The All Blacks and Pumas only hosted one game each, while the Wallabies were lucky enough to host both the Springboks and All Blacks, which did give them an advantage. With only three game per team, it meant that there was no room for a slip up by any team.
3) Were the Pumas foxing all along? The Pumas were comfortably beaten in the end by both the Wallabies and All Blacks, before turning the tables on the Springboks. Were they simply foxing by keeping their cards close to their chests knowing that they will play the All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup?
4) Have the Wallabies shown the blueprint for beating the All Blacks? The Wallabies played a rushed defensive game and aggression at the breakdown to unsettle the All Blacks. Playing both David Pocock and Michael Hooper together worked well. It is hard to know if the All Blacks will figure out how to combat such tactics by the time the Rugby World Cup comes around.
5) Do the All Blacks need some new blood? The likes of Lima Sopoaga and Nehe Milner Skudder had impressive debut games for the All Blacks, while some of the usual rockstars from years gone by didn't exactly cover themselves in glory during the Rugby Championship. Do the All Blacks need some more new blood? I personally think that Ardie Savea would be a player more suited to combating the likes of David Pocock and Heinrich Brussow at the breakdown during the Rugby World Cup.
6) What has happened to the Springboks? They came so close to beating the Wallabies away, they played some great rugby in almost beating the All Blacks and then they thought they just had to show up to beat Argentina, but were humbled. They have the makings of a good team, but appear to be lacking that killer instinct. They didn't win a game in The Rugby Championship 2015 and finished last.
7) Both final round results were upsets. According to tipping website SuperBru, 14 percent of tipsters picked the Wallabies to beat the All Blacks, while 0.7 percent picked an Argentina win over South Africa.
What can we take from the Rugby Championship 2015?