The four Rugby Championship nations have enjoyed a few days off, with the tournament set to recommence this Saturday. The Springboks and Pumas are on the road for the next two weeks, making the long-haul journeys for games in Australia and New Zealand. The All Blacks and Wallabies, meanwhile, have set up camp in Nelson and the Gold Coast respectively. Read on as we look at each team's progress to date and what they'll be working on ahead of Round 3.

The Pumas will take plenty of confidence from their big win over the Springboks in Mendoza. It was arguably their best performance in the Rugby Championship as they pelted the South Africans upfront, which laid the platform for some classy finishing by their backs. However, much like the Springboks over the past couple of years, their biggest challenge is going to be replicating the passion and execution they play with at home on foreign soil. The two matches they played against the Springboks is testimony that they can be bi-polar. In Durban they were dominated in the physical exchanges and seemed to surrender meekly like a house cat. However, in Mendoza, they purred like the Puma and hunted the Springboks down for dinner. The Jaguares' performances on tour in Australia and New Zealand under coach Mario Ledesma in 2018 were very good, and there is no reason why this team can't replicate those performances over the next two weeks.


After a seemingly positive build-up, it took just one half of rugby in Sydney for Michael Cheika and the Wallabies to receive a staunch reality check and plunge the coach deeper into the pressure-cooker. A week later that heat only intensified as the All Blacks again ran up a bonus-point win; Beauden Barrett's four tries firing the world champions to a 40-12 victory and a frustrated Cheika into a terse media-conference with travelling Australian journalists. Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle has since come out in support of Cheika, backing the coach's "plan" albeit with the caveat that the board "couldn't ignore results". Read into that what you will, but whatever the interpretation the need for Cheika to defeat both the Springboks and Pumas in the coming weeks is critical.


The All Blacks made a mockery of Steve Hansen's pre-Bledisloe "Wallabies are favourites" comments, not that the coach would have minded one little bit. While they were tested for 40 minutes in both trans-Tasman clashes, the All Blacks ability to strike from the smallest opportunity continues to keep them clear of their Rugby Championship rivals and the chasing pack across the globe. At the heart of the victories have been New Zealand's two key players: Brodie Retallick and Beauden Barrett. For Retallick, it has been a dream return to Test rugby after he missed last year's spring tour and the June series against France; the lock backing up his man-of-the-match performance in Sydney with another superb outing in Auckland. Barrett, meanwhile, has silenced those discussions that were circling about Canterbury as to why Richie Mo'unga wasn't in the black No. 10 jersey. Barrett simply went out and scored five tries in two Tests. Conversation over.


Rassie Erasmus will look to reverse the Springboks' dismal away form over the last few years during South Africa's tour of Australasia. The Boks' away record since 2016 has been rather appalling - they have only managed to win three of their past 15 Tests during that time. Their latest mishap on the road came against Argentina in Mendoza two weekends ago where they looked a totally different team from the one that had dominated the Pumas in Durban the week before. It's also been a trend at Super Rugby level in the past couple of years; South African teams only managed two wins in 21 matches outside of the Republic in 2018, which includes the Lions going down to the Crusaders in the final. The Boks have also struggled away from home against Australia and New Zealand since the advent of the Rugby Championship in 2012. The Boks last beat Australia in away from home in 2013, while they haven't been able to get one over the All Blacks in New Zealand since Peter de Villiers' team clinched the Tri-Nations in 2009.