Premiership Rugby betting Round 19

Premiership Rugby betting tips & preview Round 19

After a good friday night below, with two tryscorers and a handicap bet win (just about mind you -lord knows how Quins lost this game with the chances they had) let’s see if we can win some more this afternoon.

Bath (-14)v London Welsh betting, 215pm, not televised

Not one to get too involved in as it’s not on the tellybox, but Bath should beat the handicap despite the fact they can be a nightmare to back. I have a feeling London Welsh gave everything they had last week in the one point loss to Gloucester, and they’ve rested the poor lad at the heart of the controversy tomorrow, Tyson Keats.

Bath name a full side virtually, and have no excuse if they can’t put Welsh away here. Their heavy forward orientated game should succeed where Gloucester’s lighter weights failed last week.

Bath are 11 points off Northampton in 4th, and despite the fact that they look about as motivated as a stoned sloth at times this season, a bonus point win will see then within two wins of the playoffs, and closer to Heineken cup rugby next year.

Premiership rugby betting verdict

Bath to beat the cap well in the end, but don’t go nuts on it. Also, Stephen Donald is starting at ten, and if there’s one thing the Donald does well, it’s score tries. He’s a measly 3/1 anytime try in Paddypower tomorrow, but keep an eye out for better prices elsewhre a few hours befroe the game. Just to re-iterate – it’s Bath, so don’t bet big.

Northampton -1 v Leicester betting, 3pm, skysports

Despite being totally on top of Wasps last week, Northampton still needed an injury time try to nick it at the death. That was a must win game for them and it means they’re now in with a realistic shout of a home semi if they can win this game and then a few more after it. Leicester will know this too of course, and will want a win here to keep the gap between them and the others, knowing it would see them most likely into a home semi with the fixtures that remain.

I think Leicester are the better side here with a far better defence, and I think Tuilagi will have a big game against the Northampton centres Pisi and May (Waldouck has been solid and will be missed), despite being quiet recently. There were two questions for me trying to work this one out, and i’ll go through them one by one.

1. Will Leicester have one eye on next week’s game against Toulon?
Funnily enough, I don’t think they will. They’ll know they’re in with a shout but at the same time they’ll know full well that they fluked the win against Toulouse, and that they’re likely on a hiding to nothing away in Toulon. No, I think they’ll be focussed on the bread and butter of the league here, and a win here would go a long way to cementing the home semi. They would also be able to approach that Heineken cup game with a little more freedom.

2. Were Leicester really that bad against Exeter, and were Northampton really that bad against Wasps?
Yes and no for Leicester. Yes, they may have squeaked it, but they were playing within themselves I think, that being game one of three huge away games. Northampton on the other hand scored four tries off of mauls, and they won’t have that kind of lineout and mauling dominance against Leicester tomorrow. Also, Saints fell off tackle after tackle (two missed tackles for Varndell’s try, and in the lead up to Elliot Daly’s try they missed about eight if you factor in the initial drive aswell up the middle). Saints have conceded 4 more tries than Leicester in the league so far (they’ve both scored 40), and they’ve conceded 80 more points.

Two final considerations are the bench and Wayne Barnes. Leicester’s bench is superior here, and that could make the difference in a tight game where Northampton are bound to tire after last week’s slog in the mud. Wayne Barnes in my eyes has never been an enemy of Leicester either.

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 James Wilson, 13 George Pisi, 12 Tom May, 11 Jamie Elliott, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Tom Wood, 7 Phil Dowson, 6 Samu Manoa, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Tom Mercey, 2 Dylan Hartley (c), 1 Soane Tonga’uiha.
Replacements:16 Ross McMillan, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Brian Mujati, 19 GJ van Velze, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Luther Burrell.

Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Toby Flood (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements:16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Logovi’i Mulipola, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Thomas Waldrom, 20 Graham Kitchener, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.

Premiership rugby betting verdict

Leicester +2 at 10/11 looks like good value in a game they should edge by 1-12 points. You can get +2 in Ladbrokes and Boyles; it’s +1 elsewhere. If you want extra insurance, the no draw handicap is +2.5 in ladbrokes for 10% less on the price (4/5).


Gloucester v Quins 745pm, Glouc -1 ladbrokes, Quins +3 Stanjames, ESPN

When you ake a look at Gloucester’s last three results, things are starting to look like last season when they threatened in the early weeks of the year to make the playoffs, before fizzling out when things got to crunch time.

Three games ago, it took an injury time decision by the TMO (illegally suggesting to the ref to award a penalty try) for them to beat lowly Worcester at home. Then Bath beat them at the Rec, followed by last weeks 1 point victory over basement club London Welsh, who haven’t won a game since November. It took a penalty in the final 4 minutes for Gloucester to win that game.

Overall Gloucester don’t look good enough for the top 4 to me – I don’t see where the leaders are, they’ve a weak enough scrum and pack, and they have a ten in Burns who has lost all confidence in front of the posts since injury – missing a shedload of his kicks last week. They’re having problems scoring tries too, with the lowest amount of tries (30) scored in the top eight after Sarries on 28. They also have only one try bonus all season (one) and only Sale and London Welsh are on zero try bonus points. The point i’m trying to make here is that it’s hard to see where enough scores will come from for Gloucester tonight.

Quins haven’t had stellar form themselves (winning away at Sale, losing at home to Exeter, and expectedly not turning up v Sarries last week), but they’re still by far the better side here for me. Robshaw is on a break this week (one he has looked like needing since the France game), but most of the side is there, and the backups have performed brilliantly in the LV cup. I make the Quins lineout even, and the scrum, goalkicking, and general open play superior on recent form.
Mike Brown is in brilliant form and Nick Easter seems to have come through a recent poor period, doing well last week v Sarries. Quins also have Botica on the bench, and that’s a huge plus coming into the last 30 minutes – this guy has a huge future ahead of him and he’ll make every one of his kicks and exploit the gaps Gloucester will leave. Rob Buchanan has been lethal in the loose when i’ve seen him this season and he starts here tonight – Welsh made a few breaks up the middle where he’ll be targetting.

For me this game is about hunger and need, and Glocuester have hardly shown much of that over the past three weeks. If Quins lose here they not only say goodbye to any hope of a home semifinal (currently three behind Leicester), but they also run a real risk of missing out on the playoffs if they give a sucker an even break here. This is must-win for Quins as far as I can see and O’Shea will know that. You pick your battles at this time of the season; last week they really weren’t arsed against Sarries. This week should be a different ball game, and in good weather the dynamic game Quins have pulled out when needed all season should be enough to beat Gloucester here. I just don’t see how a non-tryscoring, low penalty converting side like Gloucester, thats’s struggling to beat basement sides will have enough to stop a Quins side that is most definitely boxing smart and managing a busy season end.

Premiership rugby betting verdict

Take Quins on the plus start in a game they should win. +3 currently in Coral and stanjames. Sam Smith on the QUins left wing looks full of potential and I can see him coming close here tonight (10/3 anytime in ladbrokes & Coral). Buchanan is biggest 12/1 in paddypower and is worth small money I think – Gloucester are weak up front and he should go close in a loose game.

More later on the rest of the weekend’s games

IF you disagree (or agree), head over to the rugby betting forum and contribute. Plenty of winning tips so far this weekend, and membership is free until 2046.

Super Rugby Betting, Round 6

Waratahs v Blues Super Rugby Betting, Sunday 24th March, am GMT

Last week was one of mixed fortune for this preview, three right and three wrong. However due to an intercept try, the main bet of the weekend failed to come in with the Kings running the Chiefs closer than expected. Onwards and upwards hopefully, with a packed weekend of Super Rugby awaiting us.
There are some interesting markets up for the weekend, including one of the highest handicaps we’ve seen of late with the bookies giving the Crusaders a 28 point handicap against the Kings. It was a toss up between this game, the encounter between the Chiefs and the Highlanders and our game of choice.
In the last game of the weekend on Sunday morning, the Waratahs play host to the Blues in what should prove to be a fascinating clash between two sides eager to improve on their last outings.

Super Rugby Teams

The line has been set for this game around the 2 and 3 point mark so the bookies are expecting a close fought encounter.

Last time out the Bulls shocked many people by beating the Blues at home, a result that lead some Blues fans to believe the team’s usual inconsistency of recent years was returning to haunt them. however, a major factor in that defeat were the wholesale changes manager Sir John Kirwan made, with 10 replacements coming into the side. It was a very strange move as the Blues had started the season so well, with very impressive victories over the Highlanders and Hurricanes. Perhaps it was to rest players but only a couple of games into the season, and with a bye-week coming up, it was a strange decision which clearly backfired. Both Kirwan and Ali Williams came out publicly afterwards and expressed their disappointment with the result, including the performance. They’ll be hoping that the same mistakes won’t be repeated.

The Waratahs have had a horrible start to the season and Michael Cheika has a lot of work to do to try to salvage their season. The Tahs are a strange outfit in that they obviously have the personnel but haven’t got it right for quite some time. There appears to be a bit of disharmony in the squad with Drew Mitchell recently dropped for ‘not pulling his weight’.
A loss at home against the Cheetahs last time out wasn’t what the Tahs were looking for and whilst they didn’t play that poorly, a lack of execution when it mattered was the catalyst for defeat. They’ll be up against a Blues side looking to bounce back that will be well drilled over the previous two weeks. The loss of Berrick Barnes for the next six weeks is a blow to the Tah’s chances but they’ll be hoping that Kepu signing a new contract might give them an extra bit of impetuous for this vital game.

The Tahs will be desperate to win in front of their own fans and they’ll be under no illusions about the task in hand. However you can guarantee John Kirwan and his staff will have been drilling the Blues players over the last two weeks and they’ll be eager to make amends. The problems at the Tahs run deep and I fancy the Blues to make a statement this weekend.
Prediction: Blues -2

Super Rugby Week 6 – Other games

Chiefs – Highlanders: Should be yet another fantastic match up in New Zealand with the Cheifs looking to continue their good form. However the long trip back from SA might hamper them a bit.Highlanders +10 at
Crusaders – Kings: The Kings suffered another blow this week with their foreign players being sent home and they’ll really struggle in Christchurch. Crusaders -28 at
Reds – Bulls: The return of James Horwill cannot be understated and should prove a massive lift. The Bulls have named a drastically changed side which should offer much more going forward. Bulls +6at
Force – Cheetahs: Goosen is a huge loss to the Cheetahs and the way the play and the Force will have identified this as a must win. Force -4 at
Sharks – Rebels: The Sharks haven’t really gotten going yet this season and will be looking to account for an improving Rebels side. Rebels +14 at
Stormers – Brumbies: Game of the round in what should be a cracker and a very tough one to call but if pushed… Stormers -5 at
Waratahs – Blues: See above. Blues – 2

Bet of luck, Billy.

Super 15 Betting Tips Week 6

Super 15 Betting, Kings v Chiefs, Friday 5.10pm GMT, 15th March

super 15 rugby betting odds and previews

After a very tough weekend last time out, with the form and expectation book thrown out the window, it’s time to move onwards and upwards (hopefully) with a new round of Super Rugby fixtures.

Once again there are some fascinating clashes lined up for the weekend. The Sharks host the Brumbies whilst the Bulls visit the Crusaders in potentially the two fixtures of the round. However it is in Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium that we focus on this week where the new boys The Southern Kings play host to the reigning champions the Chiefs.

The Kings have so far defied pre-season expectation in both their games so far and have impressed fans and pundits alike with their abrasive defence and staunch organisation and game plan.

The Chiefs appear to have left off exactly as they had last season and have been hugely impressive once again, especially offensively.

Kings: 15 SP Marais, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Steven Sykes, 4 Darron Nell (c), 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Jaco Engels, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Daniel Adongo, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Hadleigh Parkes.

15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Ross Filipo, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Craig Clarke (c), 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Charlie Ngatai, 22 Patrick Osborne.

The bookies have priced this game around the 17 point mark. When the books opened it was around the 15 mark so there is money coming in for the Chiefs. I fear this may be the game that the resilient defence of the Kings may finally crumble,

In their first game in Super Rugby the Kings performed heroically to beat an extremely poor Western Force side. The Force were camped on the Kings line for large periods of the game and the score line didn’t reflect the stats. Two tries from schoolboy Sergeal Petersen helped them on their way but the Force were poor defensively and missed all of their kicks.

Last week the Kings came up against last year’s runners up in the form of the Sharks. The Sharks had a slight off day and weren’t themselves but full credit to the Kings for holding them tryless. However it just shows the number of points the Kings can give away against a proper kicker and added to this the Sharks had one try disallowed and were held up three times. The Sharks aren’t known for their great attacking play but really should have been better value than their 21-12 victory.

The Chiefs got off to a perfect start comprehensively beating the Highlanders by 14 points in their opener and followed that up with a hugely impressive 42 point victory over the Cheetahs in round two. They narrowly lost out to the Stormers by two points in a thriller last week, 36-34 and will be smarting from that while looking to bounce straight back. As we can see, they are scoring points for fun and look like a complete outfit on offense.

The Kings have made over 300 tackles this season already and they surely can’t continue. They have yet to face such a dominant attack like the Chiefs and I’d fancy the Chiefs to win comfortably in the end.

Betting Prediction: Chiefs -17

Super Rugby Week 5 – other games

Highlanders – Hurricanes: Extremely tough to call this one with both needing a win but the Landers need it more. Highlanders -2

Waratahs – Cheetahs: Can the Cheetahs put two impressive performances together? They have a great chance against a struggling Waratahs. Cheetahs +8

Kings – Chiefs: See above. Chiefs -17

Crusaders – Bulls: The Bulls were mighitly impressive against a below average Blues last week while the Crusaders will be looking to bounce back with their impressive home advantage.Crusaders -10

Reds – Force:
The return of Will Genia should lift the Reds against a very poor Force side. Reds -14

Sharks – Brumbies: Very tough game to call and one I’ll be staying away form but if pushed to call… Brumbies +5

Betting forum

Six Nations weekend four review- more nonsense

Six Nations diary, weekend four – amazingly, worse than the last last week.

Six nations rugby opinion
After last weekend’s Craig Joubert Clown show for the England France debacle, I came into this weekend with some renewed optimism – surely the six Nations company would have gotten their act together and spoken to their referees about the bizarre and inexplicable decisions they were making? It turns out I was wrong. We were all treated to more of the same and with the same contempt – certain teams (the big rugby markets) being favoured, and certain teams being punished/unfairly treated. In many ways, it was worse than last week, as this time the TMO’s wanted a piece of the comedy action in the Ireland France match.

Let me once again acknowledge that referees have a hard job, and say that I couldn’t do it. They control a game with millions watching, and they are only human and under alot of pressure. They are bound to make mistakes from time to time; such is the nature of humanity and sport – that’s why they get an easy ride most of the time and rightly so. But when does it all become too much? When do co-incidences and calamities become more than just plain old human incompetence? Again and again we the PAYING fans (whether by buying tickets, or paying your licence fee), have to accept that some teams are not getting a fair roll of the dice, and that we have make do with unfair contests. And it has become so commonplace no one is talking about it. It is happening too much now for it to be simply poor refereeing. It is not poor refereeing. It is beyond that. Understandably, you won’t hear the TV pundits attack referees for two very simple reasons – One – they can’t attack the very foundation of their product that cost them a fortune because –Two – the next time the coverage contracts are being negotiated they’ll be left out in the dark by the powers who own this competition. But the faces of the BBC lads on Saturday after the Scotland /Wales game said enough. They can see it, just like you and I can see it.

The dream tie of Wales v England for the title decider has now been set up, and Six Nations Rugby Ltd, Company number 358420, 2nd Floor, Dolmen House, 4 Earlsfort Terrace Dublin 2, must be be having a hard time believing their luck. The tournament will now have many millions of extra viewers worldwide with a meaningful showdown for the title now a reality. Indeed all of us rugby fans are no doubt looking forward to it. But does the ends justify the means? Let’s take a look at this weekend’s games, and how things got to this point.

Scotland V Wales Round one of a three part Comedy Classic – Act one – I expect you to die of Boredom Mister Bond

Craig ‘Blow-veld’ Joubert might be the funniest guy you don’t know. He could be laughing his head off at home with a white fluffy cat in one arm and a glass of Brandy in the other, wondering how he keeps getting away with refereeing games Stevie-wonder style. The World cup final, Wales v France last year, England v France, and now this game (and there have been others). After our widely-read report on him and his ‘performance’ against France two weeks ago, the Six Nations company had Youtube close down the Youtube account of the user whose match video we used to illustrate Joubert’s carry-on. The article is still there, but the videos are gone. If you have the game recorded though, you can still follow the match clock times. This week, for Craig Joubert’s latest trick, he managed to yet again destroy any semblance of entertaining rugby for the paying public.

This game set an official record for the most penalties ever attempted in an international match. That’s official by the way; I’m not making it up – it is a cold hard fact. Joubert whistled everything – watch the game back for all the scrum penalties (which were a lottery). For most of them, the ball was at the base of the scrum and he could at least have called advantage and let things play out. But he didn’t want that. He systematically went about dismantling any chance of Wales cutting loose and getting into a rhythm. He stopped them playing and he stopped Scotland playing. Wales were by far the better side on the day but could only win by ten points in the end. Enough to set up the theoretical title decider against England the following week but realistically, with England due to rack up the points against Italy, the title still looked like it would go to the largest and most lucrative Six Nations market – England. We won’t dwell too much on this game – we’ve said enough about Craig Joubert last week, and it’s up to you now to watch which home unions give him games in the future. He’s is totally unsuited to rugby refereeing in his current form. Yet we guarantee you he will shag up more games in future because he serves a rare purpose (and i’m not talking about Flipper).

Ireland v France – Act two, the hilarious fantastical adventures of Steve Walsh

The debacle continued right into Saturday night. You know where we’re going to first – the TMO (Nigel Whitehouse)/Stevie Walsh non-decision. Keith Earls, Louis Picamoles, & Debaty are all sprinting after the ball in a race to the try line and there’s only one man winning – Keith Earls. Debaty knows this, and who can blame him for giving Earls a shove – had Ireland scored, the game was effectively over, and he knew Earls was going to get there. We saw the slow motion so many times, there was no doubt in our minds whether it was a penalty – the only question was whether or not it would be a penalty try or a simple penalty due to the fact Earls was perhaps not certain to have scored had Debaty not fouled him. ‘Penalite!’ said the French gents in front of us in the pub…. ‘bat nat a pen-al-ee-tay try hawheehaw heehaw’‘,we all cheered, having great fun.

Then the decision came and the whole pub of a few hundred went silent. Genuinely no one could believe the decision that a 22 drop out was given. It beggared belief. A few hundred pissheads in a pub can see it’s at least a penalty, so how can the TMO Nigel Whitehouse and Steve Walsh, professionals, not see the blatantly obvious and act accordingly together to arrive at the correct decision? In fairness to Whitehouse, I think it was Walsh who dismissed him for no good reason.

This is the reality of what I’m talking about when I say certain interests are ruining the game of rugby. I spoke two weeks ago about the effect Joubert’s reffing had on the people where I watched the England v France game. People were sitting there, some laughing their heads off at the screen, and some shouting, when he penalized France when Ashton was holding on in the French 22. It was that final decision that made me spend hours on that video dissection of that game. He SIMPLY could not have been mistaken.The game has become farce, especially with him refereeing.

The French guys were all shaking their head after the Steve Walsh NON-decision on Saturday (and there were lots of disillusioned Frenchies), doing that bottom lip-sticking-out headshake that French people do so well. French TV pundits (pundeets?) all agreed it was a penalty for Ireland. L’Equipe said it was a penalty for Ireland (our forum guys on the ground in France tell us). EVERYONE, bar the referee and the TMO said it was penalty Ireland.

Now cast your mind back to England v France, and the wholesale violation of French rugby by Craig Joubert. There was outrage France-wide about his performance, in some papers and on all of their forums. This site alone had thousands of French reads of our article on the game. So is it then a coincidence that the other most lucrative rugby market for the Six Nations got some bizarre calls in their favour the week after they were taken to the cleaners by Craig Joubert? This is not a conspiracy theory folks – this is a simple search for cause-and-effect. Why would a professional referee and a TMO not give a decision that the dogs in the street could see was there to be made (Earls v Debaty), and that there was no ambiguity about? This could not have been incompetence – there were no fuzzy camera-angles – it was plain as day what had happened. So after the largest rugby market (England) had a win handed to them by Craig Joubert two weeks ago, the second most lucrative market had some bizarre decisions go in their favour this week? Quel surprise! (especially after Joubert was even publicly criticised by the now-certifiable Phillippe Saint Andre). France have had a whole lot taken from them by Joubert, and Steve Walsh gave them a tiny bit back this week. Hmm, how nice. But I loved it that even the French guys in the pub were shaking their heads when they got the decision. They could smell it.

That decision kept France in the game after Louis Picamoles was given a try that was illegal to draw the game. Picamoles hit the deck, made a double movement, and Walsh put his hands up for a try. No TMO, no replay. But the French media didn’t think it was a try either.

And if you need any more reasons to question what the hell is going on, you only have to look at the official video on the RBS Six nations Youtube channel (remember, they’re actively doing some Goeballs-like censoring of all other fan videos and other ‘copyright infringements’ showing bits of the games.

The farce continues unabated.

England v Italy – Act three – ‘Was that an Italian knock on? No? I’m still going to give a blue knock on.’

Italy weathered the English storm here with a gutsy defensive display and came within a whisker of drawing the game, if not winning it. Italy were widely written off pre-game, and the handicap was around 26 points across the board. George Clancy was yet again reffing a big English home game at HQ, and most people expected things to go smoothly for England.

Looking back at the score of the England v France game and then this game, you’d wonder if two different teams were wearing England shirts. How could England beat a France team that were doing so well, make them lose their heads, dominate the penalty count, and then not manage to turn over an ordinary enough Italy side without having scare after scare in the final 15 minutes? How indeed Mr. Joubert.

Moving on, there were two hometown decisions in this game that kept the final lucrative big selling weekend showdown alive for the Six Nations company by ensuring an English win.

Towards the end of the first half Italy were surprisingly right in this game. Parisse made a break down the right hand side, thanks to a pass of spectacular beauty and deceit, and Clancy called a knock on when Italy were gong to recycle the ball with a realistic chance of a try coming. Clancy got a word from Nigel Owens and went over and asked him if there was indeed an Italy knock on. Owens said ‘I saw no knock on by blue; it was a white hand in there, definitely no knock on by blue’. Clancy said, ‘well, I’m going to still go with a blue knock on’.

So let’s examine that. He asked his touch judge Owens what happened, he then overrules Nigel Owens (the best referee in the world by a country mile) and says he’s going to give the knock on against Italy anyway. The very least Italy should have got was an attacking scrum on the England five metre line as Clancy was in error, but instead he gave England a way out and they went in at half time well ahead. Truly shocking stuff that doesn’t need any more embellishment.

For the remainder of the game Italy looked like drawing this game despite the fact their scrum was mullering England’s for the entire second half and Clancy gave them only one scrum penalty.

There was one further key moment that kept the England win on the right track. Italy had just scored a try and were by far the better team, and the score was a tantalizing 15-11 to England. This wasn’t in the script at all. So, on 60 minutes and 30 seconds on the match clock (you won’t see any of this stuff on the ‘highlights’), the Italian number 18 Cittadini tackles Tom Youngs just outside his 22. He then rolls to the right, about a metre from the ruck, FAR away from the the ruck ball, into Dan Cole’s leg. He has rolled but he can go no further, and he is not affecting play in any way. Yet Clancy, after he rolls away, shouts ‘Roll away, Advantage!’ England get the penalty, and the gap is back to seven points, and the potential for an Italian win is gone. Watch it back yourself on the numerous replays on Setanta and other channels during the week, it’s very clearly wrong. The bizarre discussion with Owens in the first half, the non-decisions for the Italian scrum in the second half and that penalty on 60 minutes 30 seconds that snuffed out Italian hopes of a win. The decision was wrong – another wrong and hasty decision at another crucial time in a game for a big side.

Clown show

This clown show continued right through all three of the weekend’s games. Now that the six Nations company have the beautiful marquee fixture next week (all those weird decisions seem to have worked out so nicely for them, they should probably buy some lotto tickets) I’d imagine it will all return to normal next week, as no more luck will be necessary. And then most of the rugby watching world will forget the puppet show pantomime the Six Nations has become, and we’ll do it all over again next year, and the year after that, and the year after that.

It happened in the Heineken cup this year too. When the biggest market (England) threatened to pull out and go with the BT cup, we managed to get three teams into the quarters for the first time in years. Try and get the highlights of Pascale Gauzere refereeing Munster v Saracens if you need any more info – Munster were taken to the cleaners by him all game (in fairness, we expected it to happen), Sarries were marched up the field in the final three minutes with two shocker penalties to get a bonus point. Crisis averted, three teams in the quarters, no one is talking about leaving the Heineken cup now are they? The big money gravy train rolls on. Watch Keith Earls get wrongly penalised here, and then watch Gauzere say ‘It’s a maul’, and immediately give a Saracens penalty when it had collapsed before he had called maul. This had gone on for the previous 75 minutes but Gauzere had to award these late and crazy penalties after ‘the man who doesn’t miss’ Owen Farrel had missed six + penalties. This bullshit we’re talking about here doesn’t just happen in the Six nations you know! Anyway, it all ended lovely; the richest club in English rugby secured a losing bonus point from the ensuing kick at goal, and they have a home quarter final now as a result of it. The BT what?

Will the farce ever stop?

So what can we do? Nothing really, unless you’re like the people who laughed their heads off during the England/France game – sometime rugby watchers who really think it’s one big sham and won’t bring their kids into the game. Personally I once again feel sorry for the thousands who paid so much money to watch these games (my heart really goes out to Welsh and Scottish fans who had to sit through that tripe with Joubert). But it also goes out to Keith Earls, the ballsy Italians, all of the professional players who dedicate their lives to get a fair crack of the whip, the backroom staffs, the managers, the caterers etc. who all work towards one goal – helping their team to compete and win, only to have it all count for nothing when clear agendas are at work making a mockery of the notion of a fair game, with rules being blatantly ignored.

They (who? I don’t know) surely have to start putting some changes in place at this point, and let’s start talking about referee appointments and who exactly chooses them for which games- if I saw any effort I would start to regain some notion that rugby is no longer only about making money at the expense of fairness, transparency, and honesty. Let’s make the TMO question one questions – “I’m not sure, tell me what happened”. When a linesman is consulted, the ref should have to accept their opinion if they have one. Right now, i’m just about sick of the week in-week out farce, and i’m definitely not the only one.

What you have across the board now is a multi billion euro rugby ‘industry’, with widespread bias, that for the most part will somehow (luck…) get the results it needs to keep making as much money as possible and enhance it’s own prestige in the short term. People are not stupid, and they can all see what is going on. Perhaps the most telling remark was from a football-fan friend who I called on Sunday for a pint to watch the England game. His joking response? “Sure that’s all fixed isn’t it?”.

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Lv Cup Rugby betting- Quins v Bath, Sale v Sarries

Lv Cup Rugby betting- Quins v Bath, Sale v Sarries

A side dish away from the weekend’s main courses, but nonetheless there looks to be some opportunity here. it’s the semi-finals of this competition, and the winner gets Heineken cup rugby. With Sarries and Harlequins already guaranteed Heineken cup rugby next year, the motivation is all with Bath and Sale – theoretically at least.

Harlequins v Bath, Saturday 1215 Skysports. Bath +1 StanJames, Quins Scratch Skybet

Quins have named a second side with maybe four first teamers in there (backrow, centre, outhalf). It’s a decent side, but very young. Bath on the other hand have named their strongest side available, and aside from missing Webber at hooker it’s about as good as it gets for them with Wilson and James from the front row away for the Six Nations. That they’re picking a big heavy pack is key here as it has been pissing down with rain in Twickenham since yesterday and is all day today and tomorrow. Quins will kick everything more than likely, and that’s a gameplan that has served them well in recent months in the wet. However, they’re missing their best kickers for this game – Care, Evans, and Brown. Abendanon has been poor lately for Bath at full back but as long as he has his confidence back, thing’s should go smoothly with a heavy superior bath pack dominating in the muck.

With the conditions this shouldn’t be a high scoring game, but Bath have more than enough to win here – a virtual first side out, Peter Stringer to marshall them through conditions he came out of the womb in, and motivation of some silverware and entry to the big league next season. Quins will give it a go of course but with the League and Heineken cup on the horizon they have bigger fish to fry. Bath 1-12 is a decent bet (few prices out yet – best 7/4 in Bet365 which has shortened), but we’ve backed the +1 in Stanjames (one of only four places with prices and the only one with +1 available) to cover the unlikely event of a draw. The +1 won’t last to tonight, so if you fancy Bath don’t dally. We’ll have a good tryscorer pick in the forum as soon as prices come out too.

Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Tom Williams, 13 George Lowe, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Luke Wallace (c), 6 Maurie Fa’asavalu, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 Sam Twomey, 3 Will Collier, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Pete Browne, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Jordan Burns, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Charlie Walker

Bath: 15 Nick Abendanon, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Matt Banahan, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Carl Fearns, 6 Francois Louw (c), 5 Dave Attwood, 4 Dominic Day, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nathan Catt.
Replacements: 16 Eusebio Guinazu, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Kane Palma-Newport, 19 Stuart Hooper, 20 Nick Koster, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Sam Vesty, 23 Semsea Rokoduguni.

Sale v Sarries, Sunday (more to come)

Scotland v Wales – six nations rugby betting 2013

Scotland v Wales- six nations rugby betting preview & tips

six nations rugby betting tips picks odds
230pm GMT, Saturday Mar 9th 2013, BBC television.

Six Nations Rugby Odds current best – Scotland +5 evs in Bet365, Wales -4 10/11 in Sportingbet

Edinburgh Weather No rain, but Brass-monkeys all the same (-4C)

If you had bumped yourself into a coma after watching the opening weekend of this year’s Six Nations, only to wake up now and see both of these sides still challenging for the title, you’d be forgiven for rolling over and demanding another jab in the bum from nurse Ratchett. It has been a weird tournament so far to say the least, and few players on either side would have forecasted two wins on the trot after that opening weekend of Scotland and Wales get smashed.

The Welsh trajectory

Wales stumbled into this tournament off the back of a near record number of losses, and were comprehensively beaten by Ireland on the opening weekend, whatever about the 8 points difference in the final scoreline. But all credit to them, they rolled with the punches on unsteady ground (literally) in Paris and grabbed that game by the balls when the French couldn’t. That game could have been very different had a simple pass gone to Benjamin Fall after about 20 minutes when France were on the Welsh five metre line. But the pass didn’t go as the ball carrier (Fofana?) opted to cut back inside, Wales defended, and for the rest of the game France couldn’t muster another decent attack. Credit has to go to Wales for ending the losing run they were on (and the associated psychological torment), by overcoming the French in Paris. It was a percentage squeeze game plan that worked, and they were due some luck after the rotten run they had been on.

Suddenly, no one could see them losing in Rome. Wales went there expecting to win and they did. However, the scars were still evident in the final 20 minutes as neutrals everywhere willed them to go and score more points and set up a decent finale with England on the final day of the tournament. The opportunities were there to score at least one more try but Wales weren’t interested/weren’t able to press it home and close further the points gap on England, and they were happy to sit on the lead they had – and who could blame them. There’s more to this than meets the eye methinks – Wales definitely weren’t panicking over the points difference with Scotland up next.

The Scottish trajectory

Scotland are far easier to sum up. They came into the tournament after an embarrassing Autumn, and then new coach Scott Johnson then embarrassed himself with his cheeky grin and ‘we’ll give you a surprise’ antics prior to the England game. The only surprise was that England were so poor they didn’t put 60 points on Scotland, and needed injury time to beat the 16 point handicap. Scotland backed off, fell off tackles/didn’t tackle/played with their tackle as England robots went through the motions and made gainline after gainline against a defence that itself was going through the motions.

Scotland were like the blow-up bumpers that bowling-alleys put down on ten pin bowling lanes for kids – England bounced slowly forward from side to side, and you always knew where the ball would eventually end up once they got rolling against the accommodating Scottish inflatables. (Henry Gondorff – Passionate trainspotter, and rugby poet)

The game against Italy was bizarre. Italy played all the ball, had all the brainfarts and a few Scotland lads proved they can run really fast in a straight line. That’s literally all I could take from that game.

Then came another tale of the unexpected v Ireland. If you had been shown the stats and had to guess the score you’d have said Ireland 30, Scotland 6. Ireland had 80% possession and lost 12-8. But even forgetting that, Ireland still lost even when Wayne Barnes handed them a mysterious golden ticket in injury time that they couldn’t make use of, awarding Ireland a penalty on a Scottish scrum on their own line in injury time – Wayne loves a bit of controversy.

This weekend

There’s been very little of note in the team news relative to recent weeks. Weir starts for Scotland ahead of Jackson and that brings a slightly better territorial boot into play. Wynn Jones will bring a bit of annoying dog as he makes his full comeback from injury and Warburton gets a start with Tipuric on the bench. I’m not a huge fan of Howley but I think this could be a nice touch; Warburton wants to play for the lions so will work his arse off to earn penalties in the first half on the ground; and Tipuric was a brilliant link-man off the bench against Ireland and can be again on Saturday (a possible Lions bolter himself at this point). Wales need to chase points, and Tipuric is ideal to bring in and help with scoring tries as things opens up.

As far as the set-piece goes, I don’t see much difference in the sides. The line out should be pretty even, and the scrum may be shaded by Wales, but that may be cancelled out by Paul James; It all depends if referee Craig Joubert was watching the Premiership last weekend, when James was given a particularly hard time by the ref against Gloucester. Joubert is a bit like Ron Burgundy – he’ll read whatever you put on the teleprompter – so it all depends on what magical mind fairies are pulling his strings this time. Who’s side will he be on this week? Who knows. I think this game is going to come down to sheer quality and hunger and I think Wales have that battle well won in almost every position bar scrumhalf, and particularly from 10 to 15.

Key stats

One key set of stats that jumped out at me in trying to figure out this game was the difference in the tackling stats for both teams.

[table id=33 /]

As you can see, Scotland have made a hundred or so more tackles than Wales, in games that were arguably easier compared to the games Wales have played. Also, there’s a huge gulf in the amount of tackles both sides have missed, with Scotland having missed nearly double the men Wales have. When you correlate the propensity for Scotland to miss tackles and the fact that they will get tired in this game owing to their tackle profile (even with the two weeks off) it doesn’t take a genius to assume Wales will find big holes to exploit.

Six nations Betting Verdict;

Take the -4 available in Sportingbet (everyone else is -5 bar Bluesquare who are also -4). Scotland have been very lucky so far that Luke Marshall, Keith Earls, and Luciano Orquera all forgot how to pass in Edinburgh. Scotland will definitely tire and Wales have all the motivation – Scotland have already exceeded expectations and Wales should get scores. This is one of those rare occasions in the Six Nations when a team has to go for points and has the capability to do so; Wales can’t pull off their dream Cinderella story and ruin England’s chances of a Championship title unless they beat Scotland by a decent margin to maintain a realistic hope of overcoming the points deficit. If Wales run up a good score, all the pressure will be on England on a wet and dirty day in Twickenham on Sunday v Italy, and England haven’t seen much pressure recently. Wales hopped against France and scraped through, they skipped against Italy and consolidated, they’re definitely planning to jump against Scotland. There are few more powerful motivators for a Welshman than the chance of raining on an Englishman’s parade.

Try scorers side punts

– Ordinarily Tryscorers in these games are a bit of a lottery but Paddypower are refunding any losing tryscorer stakes back if a forward scores the first try. Wales look set up to maybe pummel with the forwards in the first half, and see what opens up in the second, so there’s a reasonable aspiration that you’ll at least get your money back here if something doesn’t work out for you. Alex Cuthbert blew two or three chances against Italy with poor handling and he looked livid with himself, despite getting in for a try. You can have no doubt he has been working on his handling for the past two weeks, and it should be dry on Saturday. Pasypower are biggest 17/2 for him to be first tryscorer this weekend and he is definitely most likely for me. For a smaller return, he’s 15/8 for anytime tryscorer which is not to be sniffed at either and might be the better option – he’ll be up against Visser a fair bit on Saturday for 80 minutes, and Visser is not the greatest defender (and neither is Cuthbert for that matter). The ideal scenario here then would be a forward to get the first try and for us to be sitting on a free bet for the remainder waiting on Cuthbert to gallop away.

Jonathan Davies is also biggest 14/1 in Paddypower for first try, and he got one against Italy too. Davies is usually there or thereabouts and it was down the centre that Ireland and Italy got plenty of change against Scotland.

Unusually, Paddypower have the biggest first tryscorer odds for these two along with the money back special, so I’ve stuck a small few quid on both to score first, and backed Cuthbert anytime. He’s unlikeley to be substituted, and when this game opens up he should get very close.

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