Super 15, Friday June 29th, two quick picks

I’m usually quite cautious betting on Super 15, but this year there seems to be an inordinate amount of tight 1-12 margin games occurring, so we’re having a punt for the morning.

There’s two main games we’ve been having a look at for this weekend and both are on Friday morning.

Highlanders v Chiefs 8.35 GMT, Sky sports

The highlanders have won five from seven at home, and also beat the Chiefs away in week 1 (albeit slightly fortunately). The Highlanders simply have to win this game for their quest for qualification to remain a realistic one. On the other hand. the top of the table Chiefs can cement a playoff place with a win here. There’s a bit of rotation on both sides, but most of the All Blacks involved in the Irish drubbing are back.

The general consensus here is that the Chiefs will have enough to win this but i’m not convinced. They don’t have to win as the Highlanders do, and I’m going to bet that the Irish series will have taken a fair bit out of the likes of SBWilliams, Cruden (who is carrying an achilles issue), and Cane.

    Highlanders to win by 1-12 points is 9/4 in Bet365. The team with the greater need in rugby is usually the one to back at the business end of the season. If they win, they likely won’t beat them by a big margin so the 1-12 is the way to go ( Ignore the 1-10 at slightly higher prices- a last minute kick or breakaway converted try and you’ll be kicking yourself)

    Highlanders/Chiefs Half time /Fulltime is 6/1 in ladbrokes. You could view this as a min-hedge. You’d expect the Highlanders to come out strongly at home, but there’s a chance the quality in the Chiefs side shines through in the second half to nick it.

Rebels v Reds, 10.40 GMT, sky sports.

There’s 15 points separating these teams in the table, with the Reds still harbouring a realistic hope of qualification for the playoffs. The recent average score between these two teams is Reds 32, Rebels 9. The fact is that the Reds simply have to win this game, and clearly have the beating of the Rebels. There’s only one winner here for me- and that’s the Reds. The only question for us was just by how much. Cooper is named in the starting lineup for the Reds, and Beale is at full back for the Rebels. Beale is still rusty- as demonstrated against Wales in the final test, and Cooper will no doubt need to shake off the cobwebs too. This is Mortlock and Al Campbell’s last game for the Rebels in Australia aswell, so there should be a bit of extra effort from the home side. One other important thing is that it’s set to be raining in Melbourne, which should help towards neither team running away with it

    The Reds 1-12 is best price 15/8 in Ladbrokes, and we’re on it. The Reds have to win this , but we’re banking that they’ll do just enough to come through without demolishing an emotionally motivated home sid.

If you fancy a small stakes double on the Highlanders/Rebels 1-12, the best combo is offered by ladbrokes at about 19/2 . We’ve also had a sneaky longhot punt on the Ht/ft double of Highlanders/chiefs, and Rebels/Reds. Both weaker teams on paper to come out and lead at half time and the favourites to claim the win in the second half. The double comes in at at just under 50/1 across the board in paddypower, stanjames and skybet

Rugby Review, International weekend three betting, Jun 22-24

In our rugby review this week we’ll take a look at the three main games previewed from the weekend. We’ll see what we’ve learned, and we’ll look at the implications of other results from around the rugby world.

South Africa v England rugby review, 14-14 draw

1. Rugby Review -(Main bet) South Africa have won both preceding rugby matches by 1-12 points, and you can get 7/4. South Africa should win this with the weaknesses in the England rugby side, but the way they have fallen apart defensively in the second halves of both games makes this one the percentage pick. It’s as short as 6/4 elsewhere. This one should really have come off for us with South Africa camped on the England 22 four minutes from time after some excellent rugby. They had about four chances to go for the drop after a series of good drives, but lack of leadership and bottle saw England turn the ball over with a penalty. Quite disappointing, but them’s the breaks. England were unlucky not to win in the end, with Farrell being the wrong man for the job of drop kick master. Then again, had Morne Steyn not continued his abysmal kicking form, the 1-12 would have come in nicely. Real question marks over his place for the Four Nations.

2. If you fancy England to get a win, then there’s value in the Halftime/fulltime SA/England at 12/1. Both games have followed a pattern of the Springboks best in the first half, and England playing most of the rugby in the second half. England have some decent bench fodder relative to South Africa, and the likes of Barritt, Botha and Marler can come on and make a big difference if things are still in the mix. Well, if you watched the game, you saw how close this one came. Cracking value for an interest bet; let’s hope Owen Farrell gets a rest as he has looked seriously below par for the entire series, and leading up to it versus the Barbarians.

3. I like Waldrom anytime try scorer at 11/2 for value. Waldrom was in for a try in the second half until Morne Steyn dived into the flight of the pass and the ref gave a penalty. Waldrom was one of the best players on the field, if not the best; keep an eye on his markets whenever he’s in an England shirt this autumn.

4. Alternatively, there’s merit to the thinking that England will know they need a fast start, and for them to be leading at half time and SA at full time is biggest 13/2- This game was always going to be close, and we came within a point or two of this either side, with Flood missing a try conversion, and the Springboks failing to notch a drop at the death. There’s always good value in this market so it’s good to keep an eye on it.

5. Danny Care at 5/1 anytime try in boylesports is also decent value (shortened to 16/5 in paddypower)- he has something to prove, got one try midweek, and he’ll be on the ball sniping close to the opposition line for a fair bit of the second half you’d think, with a few quick taps to go with that. Really good value punt this. Danny duly delivered nicely for us, with a few goes at scoring, after he got the first try from a quick tap snipe. We were just unhappy we hadn’t backed the first try which was nearly 30/1 in places – but the happiness duly returned on the way back from the bookies!

So, despite losing all three games in the series, England don’t look in the worst of shape, with three strong second half showings (when they could easily have wilted) and alot of new players blooded and new combinations tried. They should do well in the Autumn.

South Africa on the other hand need to address fitness concerns, with three bad second half performances, and a bad overall series for Morne Steyn at ten. At least they know what they need to work on, and they can thank England for that.

New Zealand v Ireland rugby review, 60-0

  1. (main bet)Ireland+17  is the pick if you’re looking at handicaps here. If you think that last week was a blip however, Skybet have -15 available- which is an 8 point step-down from last week. Well, most pundits and people in general are still in shock about this one. Ireland’s game two weeks ago did indeed turn out to be a blip, and kudos to anyone on the skybet -15. We weren’t some of those people unfortunately! Ireland seemed to have nothing left in the tank after a long season, and the previous week’s monumental exertions against the world champions, and simply imploded. It was a hardest rugby game  of the weekend to predict, but my initial doubts about Kidney have come to the fore once again after I had stupidly let my guard down after last week’s three point loss. Surely it’s time to go for him. There’s real talent in this Irish team, and it just isn’t being utilized.
  2. If you’re looking for an anytime try scorer punt, Cian Healy is biggest 12/1. Cian Healy was undoubtedly Ireland’s best player and never stopped trying. Along with the two second rows he was the only one who made any yards, time and again throwing himself brutally into everything. Alas, Ireland had such a small amount of ball, he only got near the line once. Ireland actually didn’t score and while New Zealand were awesome, Roman Poite was an absolute disgrace and gave Ireland absolutely nothing, and they were hard done by on a number of occasions- the offside rule doesn’t seem to apply to New Zealand for one, and the breakdown saw two sets of rules. The final straw was in the second half when Roman Poite bent over to Richie McCaw who was sitting on the ground and said “are you ok Reechee?” The referees union compounded Ireland’s misery after last week’s outcry against Owens, that’s for sure. Poite needs to go along with Kidney, he’s very poor, to say the least
  3. Healy is a whopping 50/1 for first try. I had him against Clermont in the Heineken cup semi final at 40/1. This one was dashed after 5 minutes of non-defending and headless-chicken passing from Ireland.
  4. Anytime drop goal is 13/8 – Never needed was it?

Ireland are left now with an aggregate score of 124-29 after this brutal series.  This last game was always going to be a tough one to call so we went light enough on the punting, but we felt Ireland had turned a corner of sorts so cautiously sided with them. It wasn’t to be however, and overall the tour was a failure; mainly thanks to New Zealand being amazing, but a nice chunk of credit should also go to refereeing decisions in both the second and third tests.

Some players came through to cement their international credentials- like Donnacha Ryan and Dan Touhy. But Ireland will continue to flounder and only pull off one-off games as long as Kidney is in charge. Very little has been achieved save for the ’09 grand slam, which was arguably helped by Eddie O’Sullivan’s previous good work. You just wonder now whether Kidney will he be allowed to run out his contract beyond the six nations next year, or will he and the IRFU do what is right for the nation of Ireland and have him bow out gracefully.

New Zealand on the other hand look in fine fettle. On Saturday they never showed signs that they were missing the likes of Thorn, Read, Mealamu, Vito and even Carter. As long as it’s not raining, they’ll be seriously difficult to beat. Look out for the upcoming four nations preview soon on dropkickrugby.com.

 

Australia v Wales rugby review, 20-19

  1. (main bet)If you’re strictly a handicap only man then the Australia -3 in looks better than the Wales +4 at evens. I get the feeling that with Beale back, there’s more danger of Australia running riot than Wales, and as I’ve been saying all along, Wales look tired and are carrying a few injuries, and let’s not forget there’s a 43 year old record for this Australian team to maintain of no loss to a Welsh team at home. This one didn’t come off,  and Kurtley Beale actually managed to mess up more Australian attacks than we’ve ever seen by an Aussie full back – Throwing forward passes, speculative passes that were never on, over-running team-mates, running catches into touch on his own 22! And generally making bad decisions, he was the main cause of our -3 punt crashing. That said, it was his break that let to Horne’s try and to be fair he is only back after an injury. But perhaps Deans made a mistake rushing him back; looking at it two different ways, he does have game time under his belt for the Four Nations, but his confidence can’t be too high at this point. I’d still expect him to have big games against South Africa and Argentina…
  2. Kurtley Beale anytime try 5/2. See above. Still managed to come close a couple of times.
  3. Alex Cuthbert anytime try 11/4, In my opinion Wales’ best player over the series, he was held up inches short just before Ryan Jones scored for Wales under the posts through the hole he created.
  4. Digby Ioane anytime try is biggest 2/1. Made one or two fantastic breaks but support never arrived. Well watched by Wales.

Similar to the two other games, Australia let Wales back into the game a number of times off failures in their own attack inside the Welsh 22. We almost got our losing try scorer bets refunded too but for Australia nicking this at the death (paddypower had a money back special on those if Wales won the game).
All three of this weekend’s games were always going to be difficult to call, with the series being wrapped up in all three tours. Here, Australia looked particularly vulnerable on turnover ball, when their attacking moves break down, and they might get away with it versus Wales most of the time, but Argentina and particularly New Zealand will do damage. With three narrow victories over a tired Welsh team, and a loss to Scotland, they don’t look in the best shape going into the Four Nations.

Wales on the other hand will need to rest those injured that we’ve been highlighting all tour (with Warburton again having to come off and showing the injuries he is carrying that we highlighted). You’d fancy them at home to maybe get at least one win in the Autumn, but I still make Australia slim favourites, injury permitting after the Four Nations.

Samoa v Scotland rugby review, 16-17

If you’re a follower on twitter, you may have noticed a few of us were pulling all – nighters on Friday night into Saturday to watch a few of the games that were on. We found a stream courtesy of the Samoan tourist board that was confirmed around 12 midnight on a few places around the web’s discussion boards, and kicked back with a few beers for an entertaining and profitable game of rugby.

This was a really exciting game, and again per twitter, we were on the Scotland 1-12 winning margin (which we also doubled up with Australia 1-12 as a last minute punt that payed off). In truth Scotland looked tired after their tour, and were semi-fortunate to win this. It came down to Scotland pounding the Samoan line for about ten minutes at the end, but Scotland were also fortunate to have remained down there for so long, with Samoa knocking on two or three times when they could have cleared at the end of frenzies of defending. The winning try came from a scrum move and the defense bought the decoys and a chasm opened up for Harley to run through. It was a sad end to a brave Samoan performance. Though you never felt Scotland were out of it, Samoa could have won this. They have some serious players there, and after watching this game they are never to be discounted.

Scotland on the other hand come back with a 100% tour record, but I’m not really convinced as to whether they’ll do well in the Autumn. Hopefully the bookies will over-compensate a bit and give us a nice edge to oppose them next game.

Argentina v France rugby review, 10-49

I had backed France 1-12 in this for a small interest, expecting France to get a good lead up and maybe take their foot off the gas a bit, but that was never going to happen here. We watched it on Saturday night, and we were immediately struck by the urgency and ruthlessness on show from France. There was no live betting available though so we just had to sit back and enjoy the ride. And it was a great game to watch as France never let up and went for the jugular. Argentina had no answer, and in retrospect the all nighter on Friday cost us big time and took our concentration away, because this French team was always going to hammer the pretty much third string Argies and we missed a major opportunity here to clean up on the available France -5.

For the rugby betting future?

A couple of things to take from this game and this weekend- France are well and truly back- and look re-invigorated and there was a serious sense of togetherness and teamwork about this performance. Favourites for the six nations no doubt about it for me, and the biggest price available is 3/1 in bet365 and skybet (free no deposit 10 euro/pound bet available) and it has already been snapped up by us. The bookies are making Wales favourites but I just can’t see it, with France having Wales at home, and Wales having a very lucky year this year. Their luck ran out against a medium-to-good Australian side that contrived to let them back in the game a few times. They have injuries throughout their marquee wing – Warburton, North, Jenkins, and Davies. Priestland at the helm has done little enough since the world cup that says they’ll nail this upcoming six nations and Gatland looks like he’ll stick with him. With a resurgent France back on the block, and the best talent pool available, they look like they could finally start to consistently fulfill reasonable expectations. I can’t see the 3/1 lasting for too long.

Regarding Argentina, take no notice of this result- this was a training exercise for the last members of the squad for the Four Nations to put their hands up. Argentina haven’t played their first team once for this tour, and their second string managed to completely dominate an Italian frist XV shorn only of Parisse, and they beat a quality French side last week (albeit luckily). New Zealand’s favourites tag for the Four Nations is well placed for sure, but Argentina are going to be underestimated by the bookies in their first game after this hammering (second/third team). I think the Argies will be majorly up for their inaugural tournament, and they always catch teams off their guard. There’s 100/1 available in Stanjames for them to win the tournament, and they’re as low as 50/1 elsewhere. For me this is just a stupid price, the Argies could well beat Australia and South Africa if they play to their abilities, and New Zealand could have an off day. Worth consideration for a fiver or even a euro if you think 100/1 is a daft price! And That’s this week’s punting rugby review.

Four Nations rugby betting preview coming soon.

South Africa v England Rugby Betting Preview, Tips, and Odds. June 23rd, 4pm GMT

South Africa v England Rugby Betting

Rugby Media Coverage

Sky Sports 1

Best Betting/Team Win Handicap
South Africa 1/4 williamhill -9 10/11 ladbrokes
England 4/1 sportingbet +10 evs bet365

South Africa v England Rugby Betting Preview, Tips, and Odds. June 23rd, 4pm GMT,

Form Guide

Last week’s game was manna from heaven for the bookies, with the final score landing right on the majority of handicaps at 9 points, and blasting us all out of the water. For England rugby wise, it didn’t end all bad with a strong comeback preventing a massacre when all seemed lost; just before half time you’d have been very brave to bet on the England rugby team outscoring South Africa in the second half. But second half fitness failed the Springboks once again and England rescued an acceptable loss from an unacceptable hammering.

Again there’s the tendency to say that like Wales, the shackles are off for England with the series being lost, and they can play with free reign. But it’s the same for the Springboks. England should come in with a bit more hunger but there’s a lot of changes in the side, and apart from Waldrom getting his first start, I don’t see where the physical power is going to come from to get England the win, but the likes of Tom Palmer is valuable in adding some ballast.

Relative to the seemingly one-sided nature to the game, there were some quite interesting stats out of last weekend. South Africa just shaded the possession stakes controlling the ball for 43 minutes against 37 for England, exactly the same figures as the week before. It seems South Africa are that bit more clinical with the ball, but without the fortuitous first try for the Springboks, perhaps England weren’t too far off a victory here, and they played some great rugby in the second half..

England lost 5 set piece balls to South Africa’s 3, and JP Pietersen was the stats man of the match, making 126 running metres and 4 of his team’s 6 line-breaks. We highlighted Pietersen was in line to have a big series in the first match preview and he’s certainly proving us right, and definitely one to watch for tries in this game. Based on those possession stats, if you had the same England team out, you’d fancy them to stay inside the handicap of ten this week. However the team is much changed, and arguably not for the better.

Teams

The Springboks make three changes to the starting 15, the most notable of which is Aplon in at full back for Lambie. Potgieter comes in for Alberts (last week’s first try) who is injured, and Wynand Olivier comes in for Steyn at inside centre, who is getting married. Aplon is a quality player that always punches above his weight, while Potgeiter shouldn’t weaken the side; playing well for the bulls this season. Olivier should offer something more subtle and different to Steyn, who I’ve never been crazy about, but he’s not playing well of late and is a possible weakness that Lancaster will likely look to target.

The England rugby team has six changes, so let’s start with the positives and then look at the negatives! I like Danny Care in, he had a good game midweek, and he’s the best scrumhalf in the squad. Waldrom will score a try on Saturday I reckon, or will at least carry a lot of ball and cause the springboks problems.  We highlighted that Morgan had a lot to live up to and was unproven at this level, and so it proved- he has done nothing really of note on tour and won’t have helped his future prospects in an English shirt.

On to the negatives. The brand Haskell has nothing to add here, and I’ll be surprised if he has a good game. Foden is on the left wing and yes, he played well in the first test with some crucial interceptions, but he’s not a left winger. This is an experiment by Lancaster make no mistake about it. Goode at full back is a quality player, with good instincts, but he’s not the fastest player and he could be caught for pace. Abendanon gets stick from some quarters, but he was excellent in defence and attack midweek, scoring a hat-trick, and he deserves a shot at full-back more than Goode I feel. He at least should have been on the bench, and he has to be disappointed. Corbisiero is in for Marler to start, and I can’t really see what advantage this is for England around the park.

So in short, I think England had a decent shot at winning this game with a full deck, but with the injuries, and the experimental nature of the some of the picks, you get the feeling that Lancaster won’t be too bothered if this doesn’t work out, as long as he learns something.

South Africa: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Bjorn Basson.

England rugby: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 11 Ben Foden, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Danny Care, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 James Haskell, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Alex Corbisiero,
Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Mouritz Botha, 19 Phil Dowson, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Owen Farrell, 22 Brad Barritt.

 

Rugby Betting Tips

  1. (Main bet) South africa have won both preceeding rugby matches by 1-12 points, and you can get 7/4 in williamhill and stanjames for this to happen again. South Africa should win this with the weakenesses in the English side, but the way they have fallen apart defensively in the the second halves of both games makes this one the pecentage pick. Its as short as 6/4 elsewhere. We might double this up with Wales 1-12 aswell.
  2. If you fancy England to get a win, then there’s value in the Halftime/fulltime SA/England at 12/1 in Betfred. Both games have followed a pattern of the Springboks best in the first half, and England playing most of the rugby in the second half. England have some decent bench fodder relative to South Africa, and the likes of Barritt, Botha and Marler can come on and make a big difference if things are still in the mix, we might even see Tuilagi pushed to the wing towards the end.
  3. Alternatively, there’s merit to the thinking that England will know they need a fast start, and for them to be leading at half time and SA at full time is biggest 13/2 in bet365.
  4. I like Waldrom anytime tryscorer at 11/2 in paddypower, ladbrokes and skybet, and I like Flood anytime try at 11/2 in ladbrokes. Don’t forget, paddypower are refunding all losing tryscorer bets if England win this game (first, last, anytime)
  5. Danny Care at 5/1 anytime try in boylesports is also decent value (shortened to 16/5 in paddypower)- he has something to prove, got one try midweek, and he’ll be on the ball sniping close to the opposition line for a fair bit of the second half you’d think, with a few quick taps to go with that. Really good value punt this.

If you fancy any of these there’s free bet detals on the home page.
Weather – looks like we’ll have a dry Friday and saturday in Port Elizabeth
Referee– Steve Walsh- should be fine.

Australia v Wales Rugby Betting Preview, Tips & Odds 6am GMT Jun 23rd

Australia v Wales Rugby Betting Preview

Media Rugby Betting Coverage

Sky Sports 1

Best Betting/Team Win Handicap
Australia 8/13 888sport -3 10/11 boylesports
Wales 5/3 sportingbet +4 evs bet365

 

Form Guide

Unfortunately for fans in Europe and South Africa, this rugby match has been put back four and a half hours to 6am GMT, leaving us no doubt bleary eyed this Saturday morning. I had been quite enjoying the line-up for the past two weeks of a game at 830, 11 and 4, but alas it’s not to be this weekend. The changed time won’t mean any extra heat, with temperatures moderate and the sun shining.

Australia are two from two this series, with the finale this weekend, and I’m finding this one to be the toughest of the games to call. On one hand you can say that Australia were lucky last week with a last gasp penalty and on the other you could say Wales were very lucky to be winning after a scramble of a try from their own half after an Australian fumble. Australia were very much in the ascendancy at that point. Don’t forget Pocock was in for a try at the death as well, but was frustratingly called back by the ref for a much more difficult penalty instead of letting the advantage play (as alluded to in our rugby betting wrap for last weekend’s games).

Wales have looked tired from the start of this series, and yes, the shackles will be off and they can play freely this Saturday. But the same can be said for Australia with the series win in the bag. I’m expecting a decent few tries on a sunny day of rugby, with plenty of try scorers in both teams, and an eventual tight win for Australia.

Teams

The starting Wales 15 is unchanged from last week, with the only overall change being Hibbard out of the match day 22, and Owens replacing him. Still the same concerns over injuries being carried then (Warburton, Davies, North) and Priestland still starts despite doing nothing of note since last year really.

Australia put Ashley Cooper on the wing to make way for the return of Kurtley Beale at full back. Beale coming in means a try scoring punt for me. I have a theory that players coming back from off-field controversy often play better than they normally  would, and with Beale having just been charged with assault, I’ll be wagering on him making a Welsh try line assault too! Possibly even a Man of the match gong if he lasts the 80 also.

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 David Pocock (c), 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani; 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Michael Hooper, 21 Nic White, 22 Anthony Fainga’a.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Ryan Jones, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Luke Charteris, 19 Justin Tipuric, 20 Rhys Webb, 21 James Hook, 22 Scott Williams.

Rugby Betting Tips

Stats betting is very attractive for this week’s game, and especially when Paddypower have a money back special of a refund on all tryscorer bets if Wales win the game. They are slightly shorter than williamhill on some prices for tryscorer bets, but if you fancy the extra chance of a refund, then paddypower are the way to go. I’ll give comparisons anyway.

  1. (main bet)If you’re strictly a handicap only man then the Australia -3 in boylesports looks better than the Wales +4 at evens in bet365. I get the feeling that with Beale back, there’s more danger of Australia running riot than Wales, and as i’ve been saying all along, Wales look tired and are carrying a few injuries, and lets not forget there’s a 43 year old record for this Australian team to maintain of no loss to a Welsh team at home.
  2. Kurtley Beale anytime try 23/10 paddypower, 5/2 williamhill
  3. Alex Cuthbert anytime try 21/10 paddypower, 11/4 in williamhill and skybet
  4. Digby Ioane anytime try is biggest 2/1 in paddypower. This game should be open, and he’ll be after a try, and very disappointed if he doesn’t get one for the whole series.  I’m surprised the left winger isn’t shorter priced
  5. Cuthbert to score 2 or more tries is 11/1 in paddypower, he has looked the most likely for Wales and has done a Hatrick at least once this season for Cardiff. And if you fancy a bit of a fun interest punt, a Mike Phillips Hattrick is 300/1 in williamhill. He has been quiet lately, even helping Bayonne get relegated! but he scored 2 in a few games in his career, and if this rugby match opens up, he’s the man with his hands on the ball more than anyone else. Fiver between the lads possibly?!
  6. I can’t find over/under try markets up yet, but i’ll probably be talking the overs.

If you cancy an over priced extremely speculative bet on the rugby over the weekend, williamhill have all three teams to win at  100/1 in the wiliamhill specials section for rugby union. The accumulator wouldn’t run near this price, so well worth a lash of you think two teams have a chance. Anythng can happen.

Weather

– dry and sunny in Sydney

Ref

– Craig Joubert. Had a good first game barring the odd non-calling of Pocock for ruinin Welsh ball when he had just told him not to ruin Wales ball. Odd odd odd.

New Zealand v Ireland Rugby Betting Preview, Tips & Odds 8.35 am GMT, Sat Jun 23rd

 

New Zealand v Ireland Rugby Betting Preview, Tips and Odds

Rugby Betting Media Coverage

Sky Sports 1

Best Betting/Team Win Handicap
New Zealand 1/10 skybet – 15 10/11 skybet
Ireland 9/1 stanjames + 17 evs stanjames

Form Guide

This is the third and final New Zealand v Ireland Rugby match for the considerable future in New Zealand. After last week’s agonising loss at the death to New Zealand, Ireland once more step into the breach this weekend following a brilliant performance in a game they were very unlucky to lose. The entire Irish team outplayed their counterparts in a complete turnaround from the 32 point loss the previous week. This punter got burned by losing faith in Declan Kidney’s ability to get a decent result, but we won’t be making the same mistake this time around.
Form-wise then, we have two Irish teams to choose from; the one that got hammered, and the one Nigel Owens wrongly gave a penalty against in the scrum with 5 minutes to go in the Kiwi 22. Arguably, had Ireland been given the correct decision there and scored from the penalty, New Zealand still would have been able to come back and score. However, would New Zealand have gone for a drop goal to draw the game? I don’t think so. I think they would have gone for the try, and the win, in front of the Christchurch crowd, and there’s a good chance Ireland would have held them out. So, if we run this hypothetical to its conclusion with regard to the handicap this week- there’s no way it would be as big as it is had Ireland won- which in retrospect was a very possible outcome to last week’s game.

Teams

Ireland have made three changes from last week, and I’m only wary of one of them. O’Mahony can cover for Heaslip who is out with a broken finger, and Paddy Wallace is no step down at inside centre for Darcy – he’s has had possibly his best ever season this year, and has scored against New Zealand in the past. I’m not crazy about McFadden still on the wing against this class, but one thing in favour of this is that Kearney is at fullback, so he’s unlikely to make the same mistakes he made in the first test where he and Earls had a couple of try-causing mix-ups. Keith Earls is the third change back on the wing, and I do think Ireland loses the physicality of Trimble here, but Earls is always capable of some unexpected magic, and Ireland will need that to win this game.
Looking at New Zealand, they’ve made six changes, notably McCaw is at 8, and Carter is out injured, and in steps Cruden who played in the world cup and didn’t look anything more than ordinary- and they protected him a lot. Both of the wings (Savea included) are out having been exposed last week, and there’s a debutant in the second row- Romano, along with a debutant at 7, Cane. Any team without Carter is weakened, top that with McCaw moved from his natural environment at 7, two new caps, and forecasted pissing rain and Ireland looking at the bigger picture will be heartened.

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Richie McCaw (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Samuel Whiteloc, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Beauden Barrett, 22 Tamati Ellison.

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O’Driscoll (c), 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Peter O’Mahony, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Declan Fitzpatrick, 18 Donncha O’Callaghan, 19 Chris Henry, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Ronan O’Gara, 22 Andrew Trimble.

Rugby Betting Tips

In a turnaround from last week, im going for Ireland on the plus handicap this week for a number of reasons. First, Ireland may not play in New Zealand for the next 12 years wth the new touring structures, so this is definitely the last chance for a large chunk of this team to beat them down there. It s also Ireland’s last game of the season, so they should give it everything. They have the knowledge that they could have won last week, and they see a team before them that they know has doubt in it, and is shorn of Read, a settled backline, and the best outhalf on the planet in Carter.  It’s also set to rain, and Ireland have the gameplan to deal with that as they showed last week. Ireland have a team of seasoned internationals that are well used to winning the big one-off games at Heineken cup rugby level and on last week’s showing, the +17 available in stanjames looks a bit big. Also, note the win odds have come down from last week, from 14/1 in most places, to 6 or 7/1 this week in most places.

  1. (main bet)Ireland+17 in Stanames is the pick if you’re looking at handicaps here. If you think that last week was a blip however, Skybet have -15 available- which is an 8 point stepdown from last week. As mentioned though, i really like the Irish handicap. I also noticed that most bookies have New Zealand to win by 1-12 at 15/8. These are the odds they generally give to the 1-12 margins in a scratch game in the English Premiership or Rabo League when the hadicap is at most 1 point either way- so they’re obviously fancying this themselves a wee bit, and this price doesn’t really tally with the 17 point handicap for me. That said, the bookies don’t know everything, never assume they do no matter how easy it is to listen to run-of-the-mill pundits trotting out the same old rubbish line- “the bookies rarely get it wrong”. This is possibly the most irritating cop out line in all of sports punditry.
  2. If you’re looking for an anytime tryscorer punt, Cian Healy is biggest 12/1 in Paddypower. PaddyPower also have a money back special of all losing tryscorer bets refunded if Ireland win. Unlikely yes, but a nice bonus, especially when you’re getting the biggest price available anyway. It’s due to be a tight game, and Cian knows how to score tries- getting a few in the Heneken cup, often popping up in backline moves, and there’s rarely a game where he doesn’t have at least one go at barging his way over from close in. New Zealand looked vulnerable defending their line last week, so this could be a real goer.
  3. Healy is a whopping 50/1 in paddypower for first try, and he’s 40/1 in skybet where you get a free tenner bet for opening an account with no deposit. 40/1 is the price I had him against Clermont in the Heineken cup semi final. I’ll be on this for a small interest myself.
  4. Anytime dropgoal is 13/8 in Paddy power. Kearney, Sexton, O Gara, Cruden…if there’s a tight game on the cards in the wet and one team needs to push out to two scores ahead to finish off the game, or win it at the death, or even get the first score- this looks a great price. It was 11/8 last week, I assume it has gone out because Carter is out.

Rugby Weather

-Definitely likelihood of rain in Hamilton.

Ref –

Roman Poite. Irealand will be praying the rugby gods allow the self-obsessed Poite to realise that New Zealand regularly infringe at the breakdown. Last week they penalise McFadden for going off his feet (probably called incorrectly), while New Zealand did the exact same thing numerous times on the way to their try and weren’t whistled by the ref. This is a real area of concern for Ireland. Poite can be a disaster.

International weekend two, Rugby Betting wrap, 15-17 June 2012

Rugby Betting Wrap from previews

  1. Canada v Italy-fiji-v-scotland-3am-argentina-v-france-10pm16th-june
  2. New Zealand v Ireland
  3. Australia v Wales
  4. South Africa v England

 

Fiji v Scotland, 25-37

We start this week’s DKR Rugby Betting Wrap with Fiji v Scotland. The pick on this game was the over 4.5 tries in the game at 5/6 and it duly came home by half time. The handicap of 12 wasn’t beat, with the margin being bang on 12 points. The -11.5 would have won obviously, argument then for the half point more you get from some bookies on the alternative cap for the slightly lower price of 4/5. If you’re having a big bet, I would always recommend this option for a bit more safety.
This game was quite open, with Fiji pretty much running everything, and they were rewarded with some fantastic tries. The heat really told in this one however (30-35 degrees Celsius), and you could see the Scotland players blowing hard at the end of medium length passages of play. There was less scoring in the second half, which was as a direct result of the heat. As predicted, Visser got a few tries, but there were no try scorer markets available, and hence no profit. Scotland moved the ball well, and I can’t see Robinson being too unhappy with the performance, perhaps only ruing the fact they didn’t score a couple more tries in the second half.

Canada v Italy, 16-25

By all accounts this was a decent game of rugby, and another game that the bookies got the handicap almost spot on, with the winning margin being 9. We tipped the + 10 on Canada and it came home by the solitary point. In fact the handicap came in slightly just before the game, with Italy coming in to -8 in places, so congratulations of you waited around on this one. You can’t really glean much from this one for the future, just that a decline continues in Italian rugby. That said, these games don’t mean much beyond the win for ranking points, so perhaps the Argentinean result of two weeks ago was a bit of a blip. Time will tell.

Argentina v France, 23-20

This was another one where our tipped try-scorers came in, only to be foiled by the fact there were no prices available. Picamoles duly obliged, but the France victory of 1-12 points failed with an intercept try on 77 minutes for Argentina killing the -3 French handicap, along with the 1-12. You can’t really legislate for things like that; we’ll just have to see how the next French team is selected.  There seems to be a slight (possibly meaningless ) trend of serious heat making second half’s lower scoring than the first halves this weekend- with the Scotland game, and French game petering out, and with both weaker teams being allowed back into the game; something to bear in mind for next week.

New Zealand v Ireland, 22-19

What a performance by Brian O’Driscoll’s men, and a dismal punting result by us! Sport really is a wonderful thing, and for about 10 minutes at the end of the game last Saturday morning, we forgot about the losing punts, and willed Ireland to win- if only so they could salvage the ‘one team to win both halves’ bet. Alas it was not to be, with Carter breaking Irish hearts in a game that Ireland truly deserved to win, with Nigel Owens making a ridiculous call to give New Zealand a penalty with five minutes to go when Ireland were scrummaging on the Kiwi 10 metre line. New Zealand’s scrum was a total mess leading up to that point, and Ireland should not have been penalised- the sheer power that Healy was exerting just drove the New Zealand scrum right around. It was a sad end, and I was reminded of Craig Joubert’s performance in the world cup final recently, when he bottled every decision that should have been given against New Zealand. There is a real fear among referees to be on the wrong side of a Kiwi loss, especially to a northern hemisphere team. Fear of getting less future work perhaps? Who knows…

Anyway, all six potential punts that we had to choose from failed. New Zealand got nowhere near the handicap of 23 in the rain; the half time handicap was killed when Murray got in alone on the blindside for a try; Savea didn’t get his hands on the ball more than twice; let alone come near scoring a try; and the open high scoring game didn’t materialise enough to give SOB space for a try. We allowed ourselves to be blinded by Kidney’s form recently, and the injury profile of the Irish squad, and in truth we were slightly lazy in assuming more of the same. We must all learn rugby betting lessons here, the main one being- if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. The second thing being, never write off the Irish. Looking towards next week, the handicap is already out at around 17, and I’d wait to see what the weather is like before even thinking about touching this cap. Bad luck Ireland, you wuz robbed in the end by bad refereeing.

Australia v Wales 22-20

We stayed away from this one in the main, and although we tipped the -6 Australia, we got the revised -5 in paddypower when we went to place the bet. This was a strange game in many respects. Sitting there on the -5, even when Australia went behind we were still very confident. Australia played well, wore Wales down, and scored a stunning try off lineout possession. But yet again they seemed to fade and let Wales back into the game when Wales weren’t offering much.

This game is best forgotten about from a punting perspective for the future, but there were three sucker punches that really ruined what was a great handicap bet. The first was the Welsh try inside three minutes off a poor Australian clearance giving Wales’s great territory early on. The second was the dropped ball while Australia were on the attack leading to an agonizing scramble up the rugby field to let Davies in for a completely undeserved Welsh try (albeit, fair play to him for making it), and the third (and most galling) was at the death when referee Chris Pollock called back play for an Australian penalty (the one Harris kicked to win it) when Pocock was clean through for a try and the beating of the -5 handicap.

This was particularly infuriating since, for the entire game, the referee had been allowing advantage to play whenever a penalty was awarded, then calling advantage back for the penalty after a number of phases. The fact that he didn’t do it here left Australia with a very difficult kick to win it, when they would have been undoubtedly better served with the advantage for a while. You really have to wonder sometimes what refs are up to; especially when this was the series decider, and the fact remains that the marketing men will have a tougher time selling next week’s game now than they would have, had Wales won to level the series 1-1. Odd, frustrating, inconsistent, refereeing.

There’s already -3 available in bet365 if you fancy Australia to win well next weekend. Again though, you’d imagine both sides will play some reserves, so best to wait for teams probably. Initial thoughts are though that Australia will beat this, I don’t think that Welsh strength in depth (if they do rotate) will have the beating of Australia down under.

South Africa v England, 36-27

Fine margins and all that…another middling kicking display from Steyn cost us here with the -9 being beaten by the winning margin being exactly that, 9 points! We also had some of the -26 that was available as highlighted at 6/1, and about 5 minutes before half time you would have needed balls of steal to bet against it. Unfortunately there was one try that should have been scored for the Springboks that was messed up- had it gone over, it would have been a margin of 23 at the break already, and we could have got a nice risk free bet by backing the +30 that would have been available at half time for our initial stake.

It was not to be however, all credit to England for coming back into it and making it respectable. That’s two games in a row now where South African fitness has waned after the restart and cost big cap backers, The handicap is -10 at the moment for next week in bet365, but hold fire until we get soundings from the England camp of what kind of side they’ll pick. Thomas Waldrom should get a start, and if he does I’ll have the best anytime try scorer odds available up ASAP.

There were some bright points from this game however. We came out ahead, with the drop-goal punt coming in nicely at 11/10, and we got all of our money back on the small try scorer bets we placed thanks to the money back special from paddypower on all try scorer bets if a forward scores the first try- thank you very much Willem Alberts and the English scrum!

————————————

Upon reflection the 1-12 Southern Hemisphere treble bet was probably staring us in the face last week and we missed it. Teams will dictate whether we have a crack at it this weekend, perhaps leaving out the Ireland match and trying the double on the other two that served us well the first International week.

Also, it will be interesting to see what kind of team Argentina name for the French game. They may have their full international side out in preparation for the Four Nations tournament, and if that is the case, the 11/8 currently on offer in bet365 for an Argie win looks a steal.

Rugby Betting tips & Previews,Odds, Canada v Italy (3am), Fiji v Scotland (3am), Argentina v France (10pm),16th June (times GMT)

 

Rugby Media Coverage

Nothing official yet, likely to be streaming available.

Best Odds Betting/Team Win Handicap
Canada
5/2 bet365 -7 10/11 bet365
Italy 4/11 paddypower +8 10.11 paddypower

Canada v Italy Betting Preview 3am Gmt

Zanni and Barbieri will make a difference to this Italian team from the shambles that was hammered by the Argentinian second side last week, but you couldn’t back them for love nor money. Italy were awful last week, ( i mean AWFUL!) and they could have lost by much more. They have one area of advantage over Canada, the scrum, and even that was diabolical last week once the ball left out the back of it. Ok, so Italy do have a backrow advantage in Zanni, who is real class, and Canada are missing the legendary Kleeburger from the squad. This means that not only are Canada a little light in the back row, they’ll also lose out on major gate revenue from the world famous Rugby & Reard Afficionados Association of Canada, (RABAAC). Also, in a further shocking development, the planned flight charter to Toronto from my local Grizzly Adams Appreciation Society (GAAS) is now in jeopardy, with officials remaining tightlipped (presumably?) as to whether it will now go ahead as planned.

My advice is to probably give this one a miss betting-wise. Canada beat the USA, who are a good few places below them on the IRB ranking list, by only 3 points last week . If you fancy a few hours of “highlights” on this one, with some prosaic commentary, you can find it here) By all accounts the handling was sloppy and wasteful. But Canada have a pretty good coaching ticket, and in my betting wrap for last weekend, I mentioned how Italy just looked totally devoid of any decent coaching. So with home advantage, better coaches (four for Canada to Italy’s one), and more desire, Canada could cause an upset, or at least stayin the plus handicap.

If you’re really fiending for some action come 3am Saturday morning, call your local escort agency. Alternatively, wait until right before the game and see if the handicap goes out a bit further- Italy have no defence nor attack, so if you can get +10 or more on Canada, it would be worth a small wager. Canada are at home, and do have a few pros in their ranks, so they won’t be terrible. If you can find an anytime tryscorer market (none up right now, I will update), DTH Van der Merwe is your man at anything over 6/4. Venditti would be worth a punt too if you can get 2 or 3 to 1. Blind Dave Pearson is refereeing the game, and the weather is supposed to be good, but don’t back the overs whatever you do.

Canada: 15 James Pritchard, 14 Conor Trainor, 13 DTH Van der Merwe, 12 Mike Scholz, 11 Phil Mackenzie, 10 Matt Evans, 9 Sean White, 8 Aaron Carpenter, 7 Chauncey O’Toole, 6 Tyler Ardron, 5 Tyler Hotson, 4 Jebb Sinclair, 3 Jason Marshall, 2 Mike Pletch, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Tiedemann, 17 Tom Dolezel, 18 Jon Phelan, 19 Nanyak Dala, 20 Edward Fairhurst, 21 Liam Underwood, 22 Ciaran Hearn.

Italy: 15 Alberto Benettin, 14 Giovambattista Venditti, 13 Andrea Pratichetti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Tommaso Benvenuti, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Antonio Pavanello, 4 Joshua Furno, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni (c), 2 Tommaso D’Apice, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Lorenzo Romano, 18 Marco Fuser, 19 Mauro Bergamasco, 20 Edoardo Gori, 21 Riccardo Bocchino, 22 Giulio Toniolatti.

Fiji v Scotland Betting Preview 3am Gmt

Rugby Media Coverage

ESPNUK

Best Odds Betting/Team Win Handicap
Fiji
5/1victorchandler +13 evs bet365
Scotland 1/6 bet365 -12 10/11 paddypower

Scotland really should be winning this one by 20+ points. Fiji have made 8 changes after losing narrowly to Samoa in the Nations Cup, and Scotland are off the back of a win away to Australia. Talei of Edinburgh, the FIJI captain, is making alot of noise about how this is a huge game for Fijian guys to put their hand up to European clubs, and he’s right of course. But when you think that Fiji had their first team out against Samoa, in a game they really wanted to win, they can’t be anything but disappointed.

With a starting 15 of top flight professionals, and one recognisable European based player for Fiji (Talei) and with finishers such as Hogg and Visser starting, Scotland should beat the handicap of -12 at paddypower. When anytime tryscorer markets come out, if there’s anything better than 6/4 for both Hogg and Visser, we’ll be taking it.

** updated pick- if you are indeed staying up late for this one, and want something to get you through it, over 4.5 tries at 5/6 in ladbrokes and paddypower looks a good pick. Scotland won’t be out for anything but tries, Visser and Hogg should get Scotland firing, and Fiji should get a one or couple too. Probably a better pick than the handicap albeit at a slightly lower price**

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Max Evans, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Scott, 11 Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw, 9 Mike Blair, 8 John Barclay, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Alastair Kellock, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford (c), 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Geoff Cross, 18 Tom Ryder, 19 Richie Vernon, 20 Chris Cusiter, 21 Duncan Weir, 22 Sean Lamont.

Fiji: 15 Isimeli Koniferedi, 14 Waisea Nayacalevu, 13 Wereniki Goneva, 12 Aloisio Buto, 11 Watisoni Votu, 10 Jonetai Ralulu, 9 Nikola Matawalu, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Malakai Ravulo, 6 Iliese Ratuva, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Apisai Naikatini, 3 Setefano Somoca, 2 Viliame Veikoso, 1 Jeremaia Yanuyanutawa.
Replacements: 16 Tuatpati Talemaitoga, 17 Waisea Daveta/Graham Dewes, 18 Josefa Domolailai, 19 Kelepi Ketedromo, 20 Nemia Kenatale, 21 Kameli Ratuvou, 22 Metuisela Talebula.

Argentina v France Betting Preview 10.10 pm gmt

Rugby Media Coverage

Nothing official yet, likely to be streaming available from France.

Best Odds Betting/Team Win Handicap
Argentina
13/8 bet365 +3 10/11 padypower
France 8/13 paddypower -3 10.11 paddypower

paddypower is the only bookie with prices up at this time, we will update when better ones appear.

Argentina have continued in a slightly experimental vein by not playing their srongest team, seemingly saving them for the Four Nations tournament later this summer. Despite having a weaker team than this out last week v Italy, they still managed to hammer Italy’s first side without Parisse. No matter how bad Italy were, this was still an achievment for alot of Argentina based players, who all seem to be seriously hungry to make up the numbers and get on this Four Nations tour. That hunger is not to be underestimated here.

The fact remains though that not much of this Pumas side is recognisable to outsiders if you look past Contepomi, Lozada (Edinburgh), Mieres (Exeter),and Tuculet who has been swithed to outside centre from full back, where he normally plays for Sale Sharks.

Saint Andre was supposed to be playing a younger side than he has put out, and he seems caught in two minds here, mixing the very old with the very new. I think it’s best to ignore the fact that he’ll learn nothing here, and just ask whether France will be motivated enough to come out and front up. I think they will. There’s far too much class in this French team to lose this game once they turn up, but with the cap at -3, and the weather due to be 35 degrees (probably a bit lower at 6 o’clock their time) there’ll be some tired bodies in the second half. I think the better bet is France to win by 1-12 points with Argentinian hunger for touring spots keeping them in touch (i’ll put the best odds up when markets are out) and the second half to have more points than the first with fatigue seting in for defences. Picamoles off the back of a scrum move should get a try- Italy had countless moves last week that went nowhere, but if Picamoles had been playing he could have scored a hatrick.  Ouedrago could be good fo a punt too, odds dependent of course. Again, i’ll update odds as they appear.

The referee is George Clancy, and many seasoned punters would argue that whatever way the market moves, back the opposite way.  That’s up to you.

Argentina: 15 Roman Miralles, 14 Belisario Agulla, 13 Joaquin Tuculet, 12 Felipe Contepomi (captain), 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Tomas Leonardi, 7 Tomas De la Vega, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Esteban Lozada, 4 Benjamin Macome, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Bruno Postiglioni, 1 Eusebio Guinazu.
Replacements: 16 Andres Bordoy, 17 Pablo Henn, 18 Rodrigo Bruno, 19 Rodrigo Baez, 20 Tomas Cubelli, 21 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 22 Facundo Barrea.

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Jean Marcellin Buttin, 13 Wesley Fofana, 12 Florian Fritz, 11 Yoann Huget , 10 Francois Trinh Duc, 9 Morgan Parra , 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Yoan Maestri, 4 Pascal Pape (c), 3 David Attoub, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Yvan Watremez.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Romain Taofifenua, 19 Alexandre Lapandry, 20 Maxime Machenaud, 21 Frederic Michalak, 22 Maxime Mermoz.

South Africa v England Rugby Betting Preview, Tips, and Odds. June 16th, 4pm GMT

Rugby Media Coverage

Sky Sports 2

Best Betting/Team Win Handicap
South Africa 1/4 skybet -9 10/11 skybet
England 9/2 sportingbet +10 evs bet365

South Africa v England Rugby Betting Preview, Tips, and Odds. June 16th, 4pm GMT, Joburg

Form Guide

Foden back to full back, Jonathan Joseph getting a start, Toby Flood in for Farrell…have you been reading this site during the week  Mr. Lancaster?! Seriously though, those three changes alone need to cause a rethink on the form. One of the reasons England lost last week was because they had an ineffective, off-form Farrell at ten, no left winger, and no one to pass the ball to the wingers at outside centre- and when they went behind, you didn’t have any confidence in the attacking game plan with so many backline ineptitudes from ten to fifteen. At first glance then, England look better placed to respond if they go behind, and in Joseph (who’s drum I’ve been banging for a while now), they have genuine pace and passing ability at outside centre. Also, as former English rugby international Will Greenwood mentioned on Wednesday after the South Arican Barbarians game, ‘he doesn’t make many mistakes and does the basics very well’.

One of the reasons England held out the Bokke tide last week was Brad Barritt, and he’ll be missed being out with injury. Tuilagi can tackle, but he’s not the greatest passer of a rugby ball and you worry how much ball Joseph will actually see.  Still, I’m far more (cautiously) optimistic for this England team in the betting than I was on Monday despite question marks over Toby Flood and whether he can last the pace at altitude; he hasn’t played much rugby in the last two months being out injured.

Another concern is the English scrum. England lost 4 balls at their own put-in last week- a disaster in any test game, and if they haven’t sorted that out, giving their own ball to South Africa at Altitude will be a short road to a hiding. They did pinch three South African lineouts though, and with plenty of kicking expected from South Africa (the Steyns, and Lambie now in at full back), they’ll need their lineout to do well again, or you can’t see them winning this game.

Regarding South Africa- they were unstoppable last week when they came out in the second half, and as I mentioned in the betting wrap, it seemed like they suddenly realised at half-time that they had far more experience and bulk than England, and set about going through the phases and pummelling England, showing tremendous self-belief in the rugby they came out and played. Jean de Villiers made three line-breaks last week, and Habana two, so England will hope that Joseph and Tuilagi have had plenty of time to work together midweek on their defensive set-up. For all of Joseph’s virtues, he is still massively untested at this level. He creates and scores tries yes, but he’ll never have had any defensive experience at bottom-half-of-the-table London Irish to prepare him for Saturday. He will be targetted until he proves he’s not a through road.

Teams

As mentioned above, Flood is in for Farrell, Foden is back to full back with Brown injured, and Joseph comes into outside centre with Tuilagi slotting over to the inside centre booth. England are still a little lightweight compared to the South African backline, but if Flood is fit, he’ll be much more of an attacking threat than Farrell was, and the Northampton  combo of Ashton and Foden will combine well as they usually do, knowing each other’s game so well. And it’ll be some intuitive running from these two that England will need if they’re to upset the odds here. Ben Morgan is a man that has had alot of talk behind him, but he was very quiet last week bar one notable run- England will need him to step up to the plate here to have any chance.

Lambie is in at full back for South Africa instead of Kirchner (incidentally George Clooney was particularly upset at Kirchner’s absence from the matchday squad -needs volume), and that’s the only change from last week’s victorious starting line-up. The likes of Smith and Burger are still out, and Botha hasn’t been recalled from Toulon though he finished looking fit versus Toulouse. Had South Africa lost last week, you wonder would that still be the case.  I’ll be keeping an eye out for Lambie in the try scorer markets- he’s a fantastic player and always threatens to score, and he’s one the bookies may overprice.

South Africa: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 François Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Wynand Olivier, 22 Bjorn Basson

England: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 11 David Strettle, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (capt), 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Dylan Hartley, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Tom Palmer, 19 Phil Dowson, 20 Lee Dickson, 21 Owen Farrell, 22 Alex Goode.

Rugby Betting Tips

I’ve had a long hard think about whether I think England will win this and it’s tempting to think that the changes will give them a real boost. They’ve definitely given themselves more chance of winning than if they’d stuck with the same team- which of course they couldn’t due to Brown and Barritt being injured. Like the Welsh game this one decides the series so there’s extra motivation there for England. And yet, you feel like the Flood having very little rugby recently and Farrell being on the bench to come on when he inevitably tires at this altitude means that it’ll be a big surprise of anything good comes in an attacking sense for England from flyhalf, short of Flood himself going over (which he is well capable of doing). Ben Youngs starts again here, but his kicks were awful last week, and unless he’s spot on with his box-kicks, England have a long day ahead of them. You worry about the English scrum, and you worry about Joseph having never been tested at this level. England will have to start well to have any chance, and by well, I mean taking the lead early.

  1. South Africa -9 in paddypower and skybet remains the pick for me for one reason above all else- kicking. South Africa have by far the better kickers and they’ll get more distance at altitude. Contrast that with England and Flood only back from injury, and Farrell coming on to replace him in the middle of some awful form. Looking at that you’d expect the points should tick over that bit better for South Africa. Couple the kicking situation with the new centre partnership for England, and it’s more likely than not that South Africa score more overall. That being said, if you think that Joseph has the defence as well as the offence, and Flood will hit the ground running, England +10 at Ladbrokes is a patriotic punt with an element of justification
  2. For some fun interest bets, there’s a number of first try scorers that catch the eye at some very big prices. Tom Johnson at six for England is 45/1 in paddypower to score the first try. He’s a quality rugby player and was instrumental in Exeter’s surprise fantastic season this year. He has 8 tries in 40 odd games for the Exeter chiefs, and is always in the mix. If England make the fast start they need, he’s one the South African defence won’t be focussed on. 45/1 Is huge! Fiver on that I reckon
  3. Dylan Hartley is very big at 55/1 in paddypower too. Again, England need the fast start, and he’s the man usually at the back of the catch and drives. 6 tries for Northampton, and England’s lineout functioning well. You could do worse.
  4. Jean de Villiers the South African Captain is 14/1 in Boylesports to score the first try, he’s 10/1 elsewhere. Three line-breaks last week, one try, and finding himself at the end of attacks when South African forwards have broken through the English defences, and up against the untested  Joseph/Tuilagi partnership…this one deserves serious consideration.
  5. Mouritz Botha, who is always busy and looking for work, and who had a brilliant game against the barbarians, is a huge 20/1 anytime try scorer in skybet- and you’ve a free bet there for no deposit (possibly better used on Habana or DeVilliers first mind you.
  6. Anytime drop goal is 11/10 in paddypower, and with Francois Steyn around, this is always a goer, and the South African crowds so love their drop goals at altitude!, but it depends on whether you think South Africa will run away with it , or whether it will be tight.  The trouble with this bet though, is that England don’t really have any drop goal experts in the team, unless Thomas Waldrom was around (– he tried one against Wasps two seasons ago that hit the post in the muck at Adams Park. )It’s a bit of a shame he’s not even on the bench actually as I believe he’d give any of that England back row a run for their money
  7. If you fancy South Africa to really run riot and put a large score on England like they have done in recent years, you can get the Springboks -22 at 4/1 and -25 at 6/1 in Ladbrokes.

Weather in Joburg  (at altitude)- sunny and fine and dry.

Referee– Allain Rolland. Rolland is a strange one to call, he seems to be getting a bit more picky as he gets older, and doesn’t let the game flow as much as you’d like sometimes. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt FOR NOW! and expect a good perfomance…..the yellow card market would have been attractive as Alain likes his cards, but it’s only 4/7 in paddypower so no go for us.

dropkickrugby.com

 

Australia v Wales Rugby Betting Preview, Tips and Odds 11am GMT Jun 16th

Media Rugby Betting Coverage

Sky Sports 2

Best Betting/Team Win Handicap
Australia 4/9 bet365 -6 10/11 williamhill
Wales 57/25 betdaq +7 10/11 ladbrokes

 

Form Guide

Australian rugby bounced back last week with a morale boosting win over 6 nations champs Wales, and come into this week’s game with an unchanged team. In last week’s betting preview  we alluded to the fact that Welsh form should be taken with a pinch of salt after some iffy 6 Nations wins and a lucky Barbarian win, and so it proved; Wales were subdued, contained, and on the whole they failed to fire when it really mattered. They came back into the game to be only a point behind in the last quarter, but you never really felt like Australia were going to lose the game, sealing the rugby match with a Pat McCabe try off a beautiful line to finish the win off on an 8 point margin win.

There was little urgency from Wales until the game was 14 points ahead of them, and Australian fatigue after that Scotland game had started to set in. Cuthbert lead the charge after the Wallabies hit them hard early, but Wales were disjointed, and never really got into the game. Their scrum didn’t dominate as some people expected, and they simply didn’t take advantage of the possession as well as Australia- the stats were 50/50 in percentage terms, with evens on line breaks and turnovers. Interestingly, Australia also conceded 13 penalties to Wales’s seven. This could point to a yellow card being shown on Saturday perhaps, but the best i can find is 4/6 in paddypower- a bit short I reckon.

You can look at this upcoming game in one of two ways- either Wales are going to play better having had more time together, or, Australia are going to realise they can cut Wales open at will and that they also have had more time together. Wales have had an entire six nations campaign just three months ago too, and a lot of people forget that, so they shouldn’t have been unfamiliar with each other last week. That being the case, maybe they’re just knackered tired after a long season, and they certainly looked like that, particularly in the first 20 minutes. There’s an argument for both perspectives, and recent history suggests there might be some value in the Wales +7 as these two have played out some close games in the past few years. But for individual team-member reasons, which I’m about to go into, I have my doubts about Wales +7.

Teams

Australia have named an unchanged side, with just Kepu a slight doubt in the front row after he strained his arm last week. Unfortunately for Australia Kurtley Beale won’t make the game either.  The unchanged line-up reflects the excellent performance last week, and Australia backers will be hoping they can repeat the performance.

The Welsh team has seen the withdrawal of Faletau from the tour completely, and he’ll be a big loss. He does a lot of unseen work, and has been a regular in the Welsh side. Next on the injury list is blunt- force- trauma- attacking George North, and his fellow Scarlet Scott Williams in the centre. The soundings from the Welsh camp are that both will likely make the game, but I’d take this with a pinch of salt. Both seem to have been injured regularly all season, and have had very little rugby for most of it and that includes their club games. They’ve had very few Scarlets appearances, being saved for Wales more often than not ,and it’s something that Scarlets fans are particularly unhappy with, with many going so far as to question their injury status repeatedly, and whether it is actually for real, or just precautionary with Welsh games around the corner. You have to wonder just how fragile these lads are, and whether they’ll be up to another 60/70 minutes of hard hitting stuff from the Wallabies on Saturday.

Finally Sam Warburton looks well off the pace compared to his town high standards, and is carrying an injury all season. You can clearly see it is affecting his game. He was OK at best last week, and his passing was shocking at times.  Welsh resources are starting to look very thin.

(Welsh team not out yet)
Australia: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Cooper Vuna, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu , 7 David Pocock (c), 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Rob Simmons , 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Ben Alexander, Dave Dennis, 18 Michael Hooper, 19 Nic White, 20 Anthony Fainga’a, 21 Mike Harris.

Rugby Betting Tips

Same as the start of the week, i’m staying with Australia -6 in light of all of the above. The weather is dry Friday, with a small chance of showers on saturday. Either way i’m expecting a more structured game, with Wales realising they have to keep it tight from the start, and begin with a bit more fire in their bellies. It would be nice to see a Welsh win for a nice series finale next week, but with Welsh players carrying injuries, and the end of a long season taking it’s toll, it’s hard to see anything other than an Australian victory here. The question for alot of punters is, can Australia really put some big points on Wales?. You’d imagine Wales will really fight for this one knowing the series is lost if they go down, so the first half  SHOULD be close enough, with Australian power winning out in the end.  But there’s merit to that Wales +7 at ladbrokes if you think that the fact of Wales losing meaning the series is gone and lost, might bring out the energy reserves and extra motivation.

Maybe they’re lying in the long grass and this was their plan all along?! That said, when Australia attacked last week, they found plenty of holes. Can Wales shore things up is the real consideration.

  1. Australia -6 in paddypower- If these injuries hit Wales harder than they’re making out, there’s not much experience and real quality to take over in North/Wiliams and Warburton’s case.
  2. I’m going to wait for the Welsh team announcement as it’ll have a big impact on how this one goes.

Weather

– small chance of showers, dry the day before.

Ref

– Chris Pollock

Rugby Betting Wrap, International Weekend One, Top 14 Final, 10 June 2012

New Zealand v Ireland,

Australia v Wales,

South Africa v England,

Argentina v Italy,

Toulouse v Toulon

Rugby Betting Review

A decent rugby punting weekend on the International games overall, with a few very entertaining games.

New Zealand v Ireland Result 42-10

Value bets highlighted in preview

1. Sean O Brien to score a try at 12/1- this one came agonisingly close, with O Brien getting over the line only for the try to be called back by Nigel Owens as disallowed, because Heaslip apparently hadn’t separated the ball from his boot in the quick tap. A little over zealous by Nigel considering the game was well over at this point. How he could be so sure in that split second that Heaslip fouled the ball is beyond me. People pay alot of money to go and see these games, and more specifically, tries. What happened to benefit of the doubt going to the attacking team?

2. Drop goal anytime 13/8. This one didn’t materialise unfortunately as the game was well away from Ireland by the end of the first half, something I hadn’t anticipated as I thought New Zealand would be a bit rusty.

Overall the game exposed the general ineffective Irish attacking play under Kidney, and some strange selection decisions. I always wonder why Ireland don’t give themselves a better chance by playing the provincial halfbacks from the start. Here we had Murray and Sexton starting, and then had Reddan and ROG finishing the game when they were chasing the game for pride.

Surely this first game in the series was Ireland’s best chance of achieving the Holy Grail of a Kiwi victory? And yet, Kidney didn’t start with Leinster’s three time Heineken Cup winning halfbacks Reddan and Sexton (honourable mention for Isaac Boss here). He could have even started with O’Gara and Murray and it would have made more sense. Kidney has been doing this for the past two seasons- surely he has learned all he can at this point on the combo’s? Very confusing decisions from Kidney, to say the least.

I didn’t think that McFadden should have been on the wing in this game, nor Earls at inside centre –similar to the halfback situation above, surely they should have been the other way around? Sure enough Savea’s first try that opened the floodgates came directly from these two having a misunderstanding in defence. And it was all one way traffic from there on in. Ireland battled hard and didn’t stop fighting, but had no answer to the black-tide, going through the phases the little time they had the ball, but having no real incision. On first impressions the -25 available already from bet365 is a decent bet. I’d be amazed too if Savea anytime try scorer is anything over evens when the market comes out later in the week- this kid looks one for the future, and if he starts, he’s a banker to score a try i reckon.

** Betting update- New Zealand available at -23 in paddypower, New Zealand back in Christ Church- hard to ignore this one**

Australia v Wales Result 27-19

Value Bets highlighted in Preview

1. Australia 1-12 winning margin is 7/4 – this one came home nicely for us, and Australia duly delivered and reacted to their disappointing loss V Scotland with a ballsy performance that was dominant overall. This looked slightly in jeopardy during Wales’ purple patch, but Australia fought the fatigue and came through, responding throughout to Wales’s scores with scores of their own.

2. Toby Faleteau is 25/1 1st try scorer. – Faleteau was active but Wales didn’t bring out their customary fast start and Faleteau is now out of the tour completely with a broken hand unfortunately.

3. The draw at 20/1 is one to consider – this one looked on when Wales came back, and the way these two have finished so close in recent years you’d have been a brave person to back against it. My 2 euro disappeared though with Australia’s final try! Curses!

4. No try scorer is 25/1.The high Octane start from Australia blew this one out of the water really, and the tight game that would have been conducive to no try never really developed, Thankfully actually, as it was a very entertaining game.

As we had mentioned, we had an inkling that maybe Wales were being given a bit too much respect on the back of their winning streak and so it proved. There was a point when they came back into the game as the Aussies started to wilt after a heavy game v Scotland last week, and they were very hard done by on the Australian 22 when the awful Craig Joubert called Pocock for interfering in the ruck, the ball squirted out and ruined the Welsh attack, and yet Joubert carried on regardless. Joubert will never be forgiven from me for handing New Zealand the World Cup final 2012, and he demonstrated here again he lacks decision making ability, and confuses himself as well as everyone else.

Despite that Joubert shambles, Wales never really looked like winning this game at any point, but had enough quality to stay in touch and bring the 1-12 home. Even though Jamie Roberts has had a middling season, they missed him here as their two centres with very little rugby of late had little impact. Warburton made some ground with ball in hand but threw some woeful passes that stifled Welsh attack. In general Wales never looked that interested really. Cuthbert was the only one on the field that looked to have any urgency at all. He looks good for a try at some point in this series, but the anytime prices are prohibitively small. If I got 2/1 i’d take it but anything lower is a pisstake by the bookies away from home with a weakened side. Perhaps Wales’ lack of urgency will change in the remaining tests, but with North and Faleteau out, two big parts of their game plan have been negated.

For Australia, Genia was unreal, along with Hooper and I felt Rob Horne had a great game despite butchering a simple overlap in the first half. With Welsh injuries, and Australian morale flying high when a lot of people were writing them off, the -6 available with bet365 looks a steal to me. There’s a common theme here in case you haven’t noticed- that barring some crazy weather, all of the Southern hemisphere handicaps for next weekend look very generous right now, including South Africa’s v England.

South Africa v England Result 22-17

Value Bets Highlighted in Preview

1.I can’t ignore the South Africa -6 and 7 at evens – this didn’t work out in the end but hey, that’s gambling! Foden at the death scuppered the minus 6. Realistically South Africa should have been further out but this can always happen at the end of games

2. Tuilagi 1st try scorer at 14/1 is a decent punt– Always worth a punt this, but generally his form from the Premiership final continued here. Made some good ground in contact, but it was a kicking game really.

3. Pietersen 11/1 1st try scorer. Try scorer bets are always small bets for interest. Pietersen had a good game but looked slightly subdued, possibly tired from his Super 15 exertions. but he’ll get something over the tests I reckon.

I wasn’t too disappointed when England fought back into contention to eventually ruin the handicap, (when it looked like running away from them), as I had a medium sized double on Australia and South Africa to win by 1-12 points. I don’t like putting up doubles on here, but they have their moments and I might put up a special longshot section soon enough.

England started pretty well here and were drawing at half time. A lot of kicking from both sides punctuated a lot of excitement, but that’s what happens when you have the Steyn’s on one side, and Mike Brown and Ben Foden on the other. We alluded to Lancaster’s Foden/Brown shoe-horning experiment in the preview, saying it may blow up in England’s face, but on the balance of things it worked out ok. But it was a precarious balance –Foden was on hand at some crucial junctures to snuff out South African Attacks, but they lost out slightly in that, I don’t think I once seen him and Ashton combine as they often do for England and Northampton. Mike Brown had a decent game overall, despite kicking out on the full a couple of times, but too often he ran back into contact and there was very little support there to help him out. Not his fault, but you have to wonder, had Foden been there with Ashton reading him off his shoulder, would England have looked more like winning?

It’ll be interesting to see how the backline shapes up with Barritt out injured. Christian Wade isn’t tested at this level, but he’s exciting, and he’s a try scorer, and if England are to get a win on this series they’ll have to score tries in the first 79 minutes. If they stuck him on the wing instead of Foden and used both Foden and Brown at full back, with Joseph in the centre, England could beat a big physical South African side that isn’t the most mobile. Farrell offered nothing really on Saturday, (someone needs to have a chat with him about the grubber kicks), and he is most definitely not on form after an absolute shambles of a game against the Barbarians. I don’t like to use definitives, but it was the worst display from an international out half I may have ever seen! Sure it was a nothing game…but he was brutal. Toby Flood has to start next week if he’s fit. If Farrell starts again, it’s hard to see England staying in touch.

As it was, South Africa’s team talk at half time must have noted the fact that this English team are simply much less experienced, smaller, and younger them. They came out in the second half and made their physical presence and experience count by going through the phases and simply running at England. There was an inevitability to the tries but, all credit to England , when it looked like they were about to be on the end of another South African hiding, they re-grouped and kept it respectable, even threatening to win for a small period.

Betting-wise, Barritt being out is a big defensive blow against the physicality that the Springboks bring. I’d expect the second game to start just like the second half did yesterday, and unless Lancaster decides to really go for a running game, they probably won’t win.  Hopefully it’ll be dry to at least make this a possibility. South Africa -10 at bet365 (the only bookie with prices up yet) is good value, as I feel Lancaster won’t change things, and England will have to deal with the same defensive effort tiring them out as on Saturday. If however he does change things, South Africa will have a challenge on their hands that they may not deal with. I’ll be keeping an eye out for prices on England halftime/South Africa fulltime (if Lancaster changes it up more than he has to- which he probably won’t)

** Betting update- South Africa available at -9 in paddypower, SA playing at altitude, and some favourable positional switches- i’m on this one already**

Toulouse v Toulon Result 18-12

Value bets highlighted in Preview

1. Toulouse winning by 1-12 points –This one rolled home nicely, but we were blessed at the death when David Smith fumbled an unsympathetic pass with an almost certain try on the cards

2. Half time/full time Toulouse at evens –This one was agonisingly dashed with McAlister hitting the post on the stroke of half time with a drop goal under the posts, and then an offside penalty given to Toulon. Whiskers away.

3. A drop goal to be scored 4/6– see just above. In total four attempt were missed, three narrowly, one off the post!

4. Toulouse half time/Toulon full time 9/1 (late pick before kick-off, put in preview). – Again, that drop off the posts cost this one any chance of life, Toulon could well have won at the end, and 9/1 was a great price.

In the end Toulouse were very lucky to win this, with Toulon almost in at the death for a try but for some bad passing and handling. Had they gone to hand cleanly, they would have been in, with a conversion for the title. I was happy with the 1-12 coming in, and unhappy the 9/1 htft didn’t come in. It was a typical French final, with murder in the breakdown and plenty of drama. There’s not much to talk about betting-wise after it as that’s the end of the season, except for that it’ll be tough for Toulon to pick themselves up mentally next season after this defeat and the chance they spurned. I wouldn’t want to be David Smith right now who had a good game against Clermont but was pretty bad in the few games previous to that. Hopefully he’s surrounded by people who’ll remind him it’s only a game.

Argentina v Italy Result 37-22

Argentina were -12 at 10/11 for this game. I only got to see the second half of this game when I finally found a feed online (it wasn’t televised), but what I saw of Italy was not encouraging at all.

Argentina had rested the majority of their top players for this game, in anticipation of the 4 nations tournament. They had a lot of guys putting their hands up to go on tour, from regional club sides in Argentina, and they played with a lot of heart. Only Contepomi and Exeter’s Mieres were recognisable in this line-up, and yet they beat an Italian side that was close to full strength save Parisee.

Italy had a number of chances to exploit huge amounts of space in the Argentinian line, and they couldn’t do a thing with it. I was aghast at times to be honest, with the ineptitude that they showed in attack as soon as the ball left the scrum. There is a complete lack of pace there, and the coaching doesn’t seem up to much. They look to have gone backwards and I fear for them in the 6 nations to be honest. I know it’s far away, but they’ll be wooden spooners next year I’m almost certain of it.

I actually fancied Italy to win this, and tweeted that I was putting a few quid on it as they had by far the better set of players on paper. From a punting perspective, don’t write off the Argentinians to win a game in the 4 nations. This second team was powerful, if lacking slightly in refinement, with plenty of pace. Those who make the tour will complement the senior full side well I’m really looking forward to seeing them this summer. For now, I’m not even sure if there is another Italian game (I assume there will be), and if there is, don’t touch Italy with a penny of your money.

Stop by the site during the week as we’ve a bit of U20’s rugby punting on the cards Tuesday