Category Archives: Autumn Internationals

England v New Zealand Rugby Betting

England v NewZealand Rugby Betting Preview, Dec 1st 230pm. All Blacks -14 10/11 sportingbet, England +16 Williamhill

Sky Sports

The last weekend of the Autumn internationals sees England host the world champions at Twickenham, and it’s been an up and down week for the handicaps. The All Blacks started at -17 and -18 in places and have now dropped as low as -14 in sportingbet (which probably won’t last until kickoff). It’s been one of those weeks where momentum with punters has slowly and almost imperceptibly swung England’s way. There’s a couple of possible reasons – Carter wasn’t 100% declared fit, the Hore suspension was hanging over New Zealand, and there’s been a reported bout of food poisoning in the Kiwi camps early in the week; you can read about that here at the BBC. Long-in-the-tooth rugby punters may be remembering the 1995 Kiwi food poisoning episode that arguably cost them the world cup final v the Springboks. Aside from that, there is some residual feeling about that maybe England were unlucky last week against the Springboks, and that perhaps the All Blacks looked tired in the closing stages v Wales. It’s hard to argue with any of those notions, and at first we were quite optimistic that England could put on a decent show here. But then Owen Farrel was named at Out Half, and we scrambled sharpish for a posh berth on the good ship All Black.

Owen Farrell has been named at ten for England in what amounts to the Rugby Equivalent of playing Fernando Torres up front- you know he’s got the talent, but you also know you’re unlikely to see it. The stats speak for themselves- Saracens average less than one try per game every time he starts ahed of Hodgson for Saracens, which is a rare occurrence in itself. Indeed, he’s not even starting at ten for his club, so it begs the question, how will he do against the black pain machine? On top of his less than prolific attacking form, he’s been off form with the boot since May, and his passing game has gone to pot ( though in fairness he has been improving somewhat lately in the Premiership). And to heap more pressure on the undoubtedly talented young man, he was bizarrely named as a contender for Player of the year by the IRB, in a move that has been widely met with wonderment. The IRB either has a huge sense of humour, or they just don’t watch any rugby. Farrell went into the May and June test against South Africa and the Barbarians with huge expectation heaped on his shoulders, and unfortunately he bombed big time. Arguably, he has even more pressure on his shoulders now in a game against the World Champs in which many are touting England as contenders.

Aside from that change, the England team stays the same, and lamentably so. Brown is still out of position on the left wing and Cory Jane should get plenty of change there again, just as he did last week against an out of position Liam Williams on the Welsh left wing – As did much of the All Black backline, in the first half especially. Tuilagi and Barritt continue in the centres, so in the unlikely even the ball gets to them from Farrell, it will probably stop right there. It’s a shame for Chris Ashton that he has very little to work with on the wing for England. He constantly has to come inside looking for ball and when you’re the opposition defence coach, the inside pass he comes looking for time and again (because he has to) has to be one of the easiest things to plan for. Launchbury is still a shining light in the second row and he’ll learn alot from this, and he and Parling were excellent last week, especially in the loose, and England may get some lineout return from on Saturday to go with good carrying. However, Morgan, Wood and Robshaw in the backrow don’t convince, and you’d particularly worry for an ordinary looking Morgan up against Read, McCaw and Messam. Now put those two backrows up against each other in your mind head to head – and who wins? Yep, thought so.

Another issue for England is Corbisiero in the front row. As we said last week, he was done over in the scrum against a young Leicester tighthead in the LV cup two weeks ago. Last week Nigel Owens gave England a few scrum penalties that were completely wrong, with Corbisiero boring in at the side in each instance. Luckily for New Zealand, Dean Ryan even came on the Sky analysis and fair play to him, pointed out the clear illegality of Corbisiero in the scrum. I say luckily, because without that video analysis you’d wonder if referee Clancy Wiggum would be able to pick up on scrum infringements at all.

There’s not a whole lot to say about New Zealand bar Carter’s return at flyhalf. Cruden was immaculate with the boot last week, and Carter will also bring that along with an unrivalled passing game. England have three big boots in their backline (Farrell, Brown, and Goode) and they’ll have to kick alot of ball down the throats of Dagg, Savea and Jane. It didn’t work for Wales last week and it sure as hell won’t work this week – The All Blacks will see plenty of counter attacking ball and New Zealand on the counter will likely tear England to shreds. Savea impressed particularly last week. Previously he has scored plenty of tries, but there was serious intelligence and class about what he did last week, particlarly for the opening try. The tap down to start it off showed serious brainpower, and the passing for the remainder of the move was unreal. He and Dagg should eat England up with the ball sent their way this weekend.

So what about the handicap? There’s three issues that have us going against backing New Zealand on the full handicap. They’re only human and the food poisoning will drain them. They’re only human and they’re at the end of a long season. And three, the England bench deserves respect. Freddie Burns, Jonathan Joseph, Danny Care and even Haskell will all be thrown in around the 55 minute mark (Care should be starting, but we had that whinge last week). All of them will bring pace and hunger to an opposition who slowed down markedly in the second half v Wales, and also have the sickness midweek to contribute to possible fatigue. Freddie burns will be an unknown to them, and he has serious ability – on a hiding to nothing why Lancaster doesn’t start him is beyond me; you need tries to beat New Zealand and Farrell is unlikely to create them. Defensively Burns is not the greatest but he scores tries from nowhere for Gloucester. 9/1 in Paddypower for an anytime try looks generous for a man who will be itching to make an impression for 30 or so minutes; has serious gas ( no he didn’t get food poisoning too- we mean SPEED gas); and space will be available in the closing stages. So the Handicap is just off for us (though New Zealand should still beat the -14/15). We had something different in mind for our main bet.

England v New Zealand main rugby betting

Rather than take on the -14/15 full time handicap, We’ve taken New Zealand -7.5 on the half time no draw handicap, available at evens in bet365 and betfred. The regular half time handicap is available at -7 (which is the same as -7.5) at 10/11 elsewhere, it’s shortening though, and is -8 in most places. The reasoning here is plentiful and simple. First, The All Blacks may tire in the second half for the above mentioned reasons, so we can’t be fully confident on the -14, despite the gulf in class. Second, New Zealand minus 7 at half time would have covered in four of New Zealand’s last six away games (the two that didn’t make it were Italy- NZ leading by 6 at half time, and at South Africa, who were leading by a point at half time before getting blown away). Third – like last week, New Zealand will take their penalties when they come and try to be out of sight by half time, and Farrell hasn’t been great with the boot to keep England in touch. Four, most of England’s tryscoring ability starts on the bench. Five, the All Blacks will want to put this one away early knowing full well they may tire in the second half. And six, New Zealand are simply a far superior team to a poorly picked England side being led by an undermined captain and a coach who has stuck with last week’s media-driven side, in our opinion due to public perception that they were unlucky last week v South Africa.

–Like the Wales game, If you’re with Paddypower, they have a money back special this weekend on all losing tryscorer (first, last, anytime) bets if a number 14 scores the first try. With Cory Jane and Ashton on either right wing, this is a realistic pice of insurance value if you’re backing any of the above anytime tryscorers. Something to bear in mind anyway, and a possible indication that they think Jane is likely to be first tryscorer – nothing like a money-back special to keep paddypower in punters minds with the Heineken cup and Six Nations coming up–

England: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Mike Brown, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Wood, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 David Wilson, 18 Mako Vunipola, 19 Courtney Lawes 20 James Haskell, 21 Danny Care, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Jonathan Joseph.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumunia, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Victor Vito, 21 Piri Weepu, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Ben Smith.

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Wales v Australia Rugby Betting

Wales v Australia Rugby Betting Preview, Dec 1st 230pm. Australia -2 Bluesquare 10/11, Wales +4 bwin

Dec 1st 230pm, BBC

**Ian Evans in the Welsh second row has been pulled this evening (Friday) from the the Welsh squad. Lou Reed of Cardif replaces him. GOod luck to Lou Reed, but Wales are now down to the bare bones in cover – Ryan Jones looks to be realistically covering the backrow and second row now. Wales are in trouble if any injuries occur, and in in the second half. Preview remains unchanged below**

This has been a truly nightmarish Autumn series for Wales so far. We expected Argentina to do a number on them but it’s safe to say almost everyone was surprised when Samoa beat them two weeks ago. That was the one they really needed to win to stay in the second tier of the world cup group seedings, and a loss to Australia will leave them in tenth, and guaranteed to be in a tough group for the 2015 world cup. So with that in mind, you’d say ‘motivation is with Wales, they have to get it together this week, everything is on the line’. You’d be right to assume that, but if you take your mind beyond reasonable assumption and search for hard evidence, you’ll have a tough time coming up with anything concrete. Plus, Australia have a big motivational boost of their own in addition to finishing second in the world rankings; It’s Nathan Sharpe’s last game in a Wallaby shirt and a resurgent Australia will surely give everything so he can finish on a high.

As George Bush once famously tried to say, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”. We were fooled that Wales could turn it on against Samoa, and we’re wary of being fooled again here based on blind optimism and belief that Wales will get it together finally. They’re down to their fourth or fifth choice tighthead (19 year old on the bench); Williams on the left wing is a full back and was exposed last week at times; Roberts is unlikely to last the first half with the injuries he’s carrying; Priestland is at ten by default; Cuthbert has huge defensive issues; according to Gatland Phillips isn’t fit from being in France; Shingler is inexperienced in the backrow; and Ian Evans is fighting injury in the second row. To top that all off, there’s very little impact on the bench for Wales – and i’d imagine if Biggar was actually fit after the Samoa incident, he would be starting here and not filling out the bench. If Wales win this it will be a big surprise to us, considering the injuries, the losing run, and the lack of confidence that has to be everywhere in the squad. Even the recent wet weather is seemingly against Wales this week – it has been dry throughout and will probably be right up to kickoff when the roof will be closed anyway. A bit of wet weather would have suited Wales during the week to muddy up the Cardiff pitch, for an Australian side notoriously poor in wet conditions. When it rains it pours (or doesn’t, in this case).

Australia are not without their own injury problems, but they welcome back the world class Pocock from injury. He takes the place of Hooper, who many will see as being a little hard done by to not be starting the game after a series of excellent international performances. Kane Douglas comes in for Timani and won’t weaken the side, especially in the loose. And Polota Nau returns after supposed injury against Italy – we don’t buy that though and he was almost definitely rested with this game in mind. This game is one of the rare occasions where you can look at an Australian scrum and expect it to have the better of it’s opposition. This is something Australia rarely have, so you don’t often realise how lethal they are off clean first phase ball. The backs ripped Wales apart on the rare occasions they had it during the summer, and they used it well whenever they had it in the Rugby Championship. Some of the impact from the bench for Australia also far exceeds what Wales have to offer (Stephen Moore, James Slipper, Michael Hooper, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane) and that quality on the bench is likely to be the winning and losing of this game.

Both of these sides know each other so well after the June series, with Australia winning all three games by 7, 2 and 1 points. The difference this weekend is that Wales have lost so many to injury, and are carrying a number of injuries in the starting 15. Familiarity will serve Australia better than Wales here, as Australia have a much more settled look about them and are in a better position to expose the Welsh. Australia were hammered by France in the muck initially but they battled to a win against England, and that England side is stronger than this Welsh one. You have to go back to 2008 to find a game where Australia didn’t beat a 2 point handicap away from home against Wales, And 2005 before that three point loss.

Australian coach Robbie Deans was quoted during the week as saying Australia were running on empty for this game, but that should be taken with a pinch of salt. They clearly saved Polota Nau for this game, and they most definitely took their foot off the gas against Italy to conserve energy. They come into this relatively fresh compared to Wales, and it’s hard to see them not coming away with a comfortable enough win here.

Wales v Australia rugby betting

We’ve already taken the -2 on Australia still available in Bluesquare. If you don’t have a bluesquare account you can get Australia -2.5 on the no draw handicap for 5/6 in Ladbrokes.

Since the turn of the millenium, these teams have played each other fifteen times, with Australia winning twelve times, losing twice, and drawing once. Of those twelve wins, NINE of them have been by 1-12 points, and every away win bar one has been by 1-12 points. So there’s strong evidence for an Australian win by 1-12 points, with the biggest price a miserable 13/8 in Ladbrokes ( 6/4 everywhere else). For us, that price is too small, and thinking back to Argentina’s 14 point win here, who is to say Wales won’t completely implode again? We wouldn’t tell someone not to back the 1-12, especially if you want to lower your stake and increase your returns. But you’re also increasing risk, as there’s a decent enough chance Australia could do some serious damage here where Argentina’s backs couldn’t, but working out whether they’ll want to mentally is impossible. The better, more conservative bet at 10/11 is the -2/3, as Australia have far more bankable firepower and will want to finish the season on a high.

In short, there’s just no viable reason that we can see for backing Wales here even with a three point start. With a stronger side that took a relative break last week in Italy, Pocock returning, and Nathan Sharpe’s retirement looming large, Australia will want to go out with a bang and drive the nail home this weekend. A 2/3 point handicap should be comfortably beaten against a Welsh side with nothing going for it.

Possible Tryscorer punts
Drew Mitchell is up against Alex Cuthbert on the wing and is biggest 12/5 anytime try in paddypower and 11/1 for first try. Cuthbert has looked awful defensively in the past three tests- falling off tackles everywhere, and he seems to always need help to bring someone down. No commentators have mentioned it, but watch him this weekend an you’ll see what we mean. Either the anytime or first try appeals here for Mitchell on the left wing.

**If you’re with Paddypower, they have a money back special this weekend on all losing tryscorer (first, last, anytime) bets if a number 14 scores the first try. With Cuthbert and Cummins in both number 14 jerseys, this is a realistic piece of insurance value if you’re backing any of the above anytime tryscorers.**

Nick Cummins is looking for three in a row this weekend and is also 12/5 anytime try. His direct running at out of position Williams on the other wing could cause problems.

And lastly, Nathan Sharpe
is 66/1 first try in Ladbrokes, and 14/1 anytime try in there too. Either one of these is worth a fiver for value, as Sharpe has form and knows where the tryline is. Sharpe will most definitely have his eye on a try with this being his last ever Australian cap, and it would be such a fitting occurrence for such a great servant to the game; he was probing the English line 2 weeks ago quite a bit too. I just have a strong feeling he’ll rumble over at some point, and his team-mates will be looking to play him in whenever they can surely – maybe go with the anytime 14/1 and don’t be greedy!

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Ian Evans, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Ryan Jones, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Scott Williams.

Australia: 15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Michael Hooper, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Mike Harris, 23 Digby Ioane.

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Wales v NewZealand Rugby Betting

Wales v NewZealand Rugby Betting Preview, Nov 16 730pm. All Blacks -17 Betfred 10/11, Wales+19 bwin, Sat 24 Nov, 17:15 GMT

BBC2

*** Dan Carter has now been named out of Saturday’s game, which was unexpected to say the least. Handicap has comedown by a point in places but still standing around 18, Cruden is an able replacement although he hasn’t been at his best recently. Preview below still stands, but don’t go full stake on it, and wait until an hour before the game if you can as late money could come for Wales and give you more value with a smaller All Black handicap.***

There have been some pincer-like market movements during the week for this game, closing in around -18 for New Zealand as handicap consensus across most online bookmakers. First Paddypower came out at -17, which was quickly snapped up and pushed to -18, then Bwin put -20 up as their starting point and have subsequently contracted to -19. The head to head stats suggest that this game will be won by around 25 points for New Zealand so the bookies look to be possibly expecting a bit of a Welsh backlash, against themselves as much as New Zealand. You could be fooled into thinking there was a bit of money coming at Bwin for Wales – but I have my doubts, it looks like a marketing differentiation exercise to me. Perhaps there’s alot of patriotic punters in Wales who have waded in here, hoping that the weight of their cash and sentiment might somehow tip the balance of power their way (i’m not knocking it, i’ve done it myself in the past). Maybe there’s a quiet whisper they’ll be leaving the roof open for the rain to pour on through and disrupt Kiwi continuity – the rain worked for Ireland. Perhaps the Welsh are planning on asking the Kiwis to do the Haka in the dressing room again, and springing Micheal Flatley (or Tom Jones) from a closet somewhere to disrupt their Island rythms. Alas, I fear a hurricane wouldn’t be enough to quench the Black torches from Mordor en route to slaying the Dragon this weekend.

It’s all about motivation. The Kiwi coach Hansen has been stirring the shit big time all week in reference to Edward’s remarks about New Zealand being ‘ there for the taking’ in last year’s world cup final. (To be honest, we agree – they were – but that’s beside the point). The All Blacks have been handed a nice extra dollop of motivation for a game they seemed to be already targeting. The last two games have been slightly experimental lineups v Italy and Scotland, so you get the feeling that Hansen has been winding things up long before this week’s press conferences. After two good thirty point plus runouts against Scotland and Italy, they have a fully blooded squad all itching to put Wales in their place, and you have to wonder how they’re going to be stopped.

Last year Wales were being talked up as serious challenge to All black domination in the medium term, and few people were bold enough to shout it down. That world cup semi loss to France was yet another close loss when Wales should have won ( two more v Australia during the summer), and the recent five defeats in a row will have really taken their toll mentally – it’s a slippery slope- one minute you’re drinking on your own after a row with the missus, the next you’re stumbling through a packed morning tube train with no trousers on. When it rains it bloody pours.

We expected a shock against Argentina, but the loss to Samoa seems to be a glaring statement that all belief is lost in Welsh rugby at the minute. There seems to be some notion around that Wales are going to pull a performance out of the bag here but if they were ever going to do that it would have been the last two weeks, when ranking points were more likely to be gained, and more costly to lose. Instead they’ve looked lethargic and just not interested to be frank. The games v Argentina and Samoa have blown away the oft-quoted notion that Wales are the fittest side in the Northern hemisphere for one thing. They’ve had precious little go forward and Samoa continually drove back a huge Welsh backline. It’s almost as if this black Kiwi cloud has been festering on the edge of their subconscious for a month, like an upcoming visit to the dentist for a route canal, or a long talked about visit to your new girlfriend’s parent’s house – either way you know that they know what you’ve been up to, and you’re expecting the worst – you lose your mojo.

That’s how Wales have looked recently, but is it only recently? The following paragraph won’t be pretty reading for our Welsh friends but remember, there’s money at stake, so these things have to be discussed. If we go back to the start of this year and look sideways at the six nations Welsh glory, you can find some holes. Ireland stupidly relaxed and let slip a lead with five minutes to go and Wayne Barnes did the rest (correctly I might add – controversial that!). Then a beautiful (lucky?) bounce of the ball did it for Wales against England. Were the other five nations teams just really bad last year or were Wales just that good? I must say at the time I thought the latter, but now I’m not so sure. The three summer test losses against an average and rusty Aussie side and the two recent losses have firmly turned 2012 into a coffin-dodging exercise for Wales. Can they break out of the funk-box with a one-inch punch to glory against the All Blacks?

Eh, no. And they probably know this, and have known it all summer – so looking at the handicap you just have to ask yourself will Wales have a crack at being valiant runners up- or CAN Wales have a crack at being valiant runners-up? Well, there’s scant evidence to say so. Wales are rudderless- Warburton is again captain after being benched last week for Tipuric, and if it didn’t work against Argentina in a 14 point loss, why would it work against the All Blacks? Ryan Jones, a man we touted as potential saviour, was awful last week and not at the races giving away lots of penalties; Samoa missed kicks last week – it could have been worse. The scrum with Jarvis in it is just not functioning, and it’s to be expected that the All Blacks will see alot of penalties from it. The lineout is looking thin on the pitch and on the bench, but Charteris might bring some Perpignan form back with him. Priestland and Phillips brings to three the number of halfback combinations that Wales have tried this Autumn, and there’s no reason to think this one will stand up to scrutiny – there’s a couple of eager fly halves at the Dragons that would do a better job than Priestland in current form, and his form for the past year really (no disrespect to the mighty Dragons). How he’s starting even ahead of Hook is a mystery – you don’t get career defining form change at home to the best team on the planet. And the Welsh backline was again inept last week, with Cuthbert and North being exposed in defence yet again. It looks sadly bleak. The one hope for Wales is Davies back in the centre – he’s a big intelligent part of what makes them tick. But he hasn’t played in five weeks and won’t be match fit. Unless Gatland has brought back some magic beans from his leave, we just cannot see where Wales can stay with the All Blacks.

New Zealand haven’t named their team as time of writing, but expect it to be full strength – we don’t need to go through the constituents, they’re the best in the business right now, it’s that simple. Good news for neutrals everywhere is that the awesome Israel Dagg is very likely back at full-back, and with Wales likely to try to use a kicking game to get North and Cuthbert in behind the All Blacks, there should be plenty of classy counter attacking.

This game could be out of site before Wales even realise it, with scrum penalties a likely contributing factor. The only question for us before wading in here was weather New Zealand would be motivated enough to beat an 18 point cap at a wounded Wales. But the clear answer to that question is yes. They’re the type of side that revels in humiliation and unfortunately for Wales they will try to put them in a nasty hole on the end of a hiding. Argentina and Samoa had more chances than their scores let on. The difference with the All Blacks is that they put those chances away. When will their reign of terror end ?! Oh, the humanity!

Main Rugby bet

Take New Zealand -17 still only still available in Betfred. Everything points to a big Welsh loss. This handicap will get pushed to -18 and 19 by the time Saturday rolls around so don’t leave it too late. There’s also -16.5 available there at 4/5. There’s very little reason other than hope to think that Wales can hold out here, and you’d expect New Zealand to beat this handicap and then some. This could get ugly. (One man we know has ten quid on New Zealand to win by 51+ at 34/1 in Betfred (all the best prices are happening at Betfred this week it seems – maybe they’re going out of business).

Tryscorer bet– prices are out now and either of the wingers Jane or Savea are solid punts for any time tryscorer. Both priced around evens ( Jane is 5/4 in williamhill). Israel Dagg is just as likely to score as those two and he’s 6/4 in ladbrokes and Boylesports. Dagg feeds off breaks by the forwards and centres better than the others too.

Don’t forget to head over to the betting forum for discussion on all of this weekend’s other games, including the Rabo pro12 and Premiership full schedules.

Betfred Sport

Wales team: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Ryan Jones (capt), 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Aaron Shingler, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 James Hook, 23 Scott Williams.

Don’t forget the Skybet free no deposit tenner bet and free fiver bet every week offer ends Dec 7th
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Scotland v South Africa Rugby Betting

Scotland v South Africa Rugby Betting, South Africa -9 Stanjames, Scotland +11 victorchandler

Nov 17, 230pm GMT, BBC1

I have an odd feeling about this game. Based on last week and recent results you wouldn’t expect South Africa to run up a big score but they might just surprise alot of people this weekend. The game against Ireland was a dire affair and while they were rusty, South Africa were very negative and seemed intent on trying to take out the Irish players rather than just play the game. It gave the impression that South Africa were genuinely worried last week that they might lose. Had Sexton made that penalty just before half time they may indeed have lost – Ireland got cagey with only a 9 point lead though, and the rest is history.

One notable point about last week was Ireland’s inability to score a try (or even get near scoring one), with a very useful looking backline. After any initial minor breaks or go forward by Ireland, South Africa simply smothered any chance of further inroads. There were a couple of occasions where Ireland put some phases together but they were never really going anywhere. I’m comparing the backlines of Ireland and Scotland and I see no step up in class facing South Africa this week. There’s always Tim Visser but will he get the turnovers to score this week? I’m not sure. Plus, if last week is anything to go by, South Africa will probably target him like they did key Irish players last week – we all saw Pietersen’s yellow on Chris Henry (who had been having a great game up to the point he was nearly cut in two), and Johnny Sexton had to take it all game, from knees in the head to late charges off the ball. As Duckysauce said in our forum, Laidlaw will get the same treatment this Saturday and I’m not sure he’ll withstand it as well as Sexton did. The backup on the bench at ten for Scotland is very thin too.

In the forwards it’s also looking slightly bleak for Scotland. The South African pack will have shaken off the rust they had last week, and it’s far bigger than Scotland’s. Geoff Cross starts on the bench, and he was possibly Scotland’s best player last week. The All blacks simply had no answer to him on the burst and he was a huge reason they were able to compete last week in so many facets of the game. He’s on the bench because he’s carrying an injury, and you’d wonder whether he’ll get a run at all – it’s unlikely. Euan Murray starts in the front row and while he has had some great games in the past against South Africa, it will likely be a different story this weekend based on his form of the last two years and you fear for the Scottish scrum in general. To compound matters, gnarly backrow Strockosch (formerly of Gloucester, now part of a resurgent ball-playing Perpignan side) has been pulled as of Friday afternoon due to injury. He’s the man that Thompson semi-head-stamped last week, he’s a black-belt kung-fu master, and he’s well able for the rough stuff. Scotland will miss him, and it definitely weakens their back-row reserves against a powerful South African unit. Indeed the Scottish bench is nothing to write home about in general when you take the above into account. There’s very little impact and that’s a concern for the second half. The South African team is as strong as last week, but has a better front row with Steenkampf coming in. And the bench has plenty of impact – Heinke VDM and Brits coming in the front row on when things loosen up will cause alot of problems for Scotland. In our eyes, starting Steenkampf instead of the others means they intend to milk the scrum to get out in front early.

There’s three avenues that we deliberated over on this game. South Africa -9, South Africa 1-12, and South Africa half time handicaps. The stats in general point to South Africa eeking out a win of less than 12 points, and for them to start well and then to not have a great second half. This is based on the rugby championship in general, Scotland losing tight games to both England and France in the six nations, and on South Africa’s three games against England in June, where despite total dominance in the first half South Africa just weren’t arsed playing in the second.

On balance most of Saturday’s probabilities point to South Africa winning by 1-12 points but it’s a bet i’m not comfortable with as I reckon South Africa could really bludgeon their way even further ahead here. There’s revenge in the air, and like we said last week, it has played a big part in many games recently- look at France for example against Australia.

Main bet – (Medium stakes) Because of the scrum situation and because they won’t want to start off like last week, we’re taking South Africa -5 on the half time handicap at evens in Stanjames. It’s -5 everywhere else at 10/11 and you can get -4.5 in Bet365 at 4/5 if you don’t mind the return reduction for a point more safety. Looking at Scottish replacements there’s a line of thinking that the second half handicap of -5 would be the better pick but South Africa simply ease off in the second half of games, especially if they’re winning. This brings the SA 1-12 into play but you couldn’t count on Scotland reeling them back in again, and they may not get the turnover opportunities they got last week that brought two of their tries. It’s a bit of a minefield trying to figure out South African mentality, but after last week’s poor start, the best bet looks to be to expect a good South African first half as usual, and to not invest at all in an unpredictable second half, in which anything could happen.

Small stakes Tryscorer punt – Schalk Brits should come off the bench in the second half and he’s lethal in space. If things do loosen up (which they should) he’s a decent shot for last tryscorer, and he’s biggest 25/1 in Paddypower. Visser anytime tryscorer is a minor temptation but every single Scottish player has drifted out in price in Paddypower for the anytime tryscorer market so they don’t seem to be expecting any Scottish tries at all. Indeed, under 1.5 Scottish tries is as low as 4/9 in Ladbrokes.

Wales v Samoa Rugby Betting

Wales v Samoa Rugby Betting Preview, Nov 16 730pm. Wales -9 10/11 bluesquare, Samoa +11 evens, ladbrokes.


S4C, ESPN

We were quite Bullish about Argentina’s chances versus Wales last week, we said back them +11, and we said they might even win the game – and we’re still annoyed at ourselves for not backing the straight win. It’s quite refreshing from a betting perspective when things don’t go the way the bookies are telling us they will, and it makes your balls grow Biggar for when the next raid grows near. They mightn’t yet be big enough to back Samoa though.

Wales have made plenty of changes, the main one being Ryan Jones back in as captain. We said last week he was a huge loss and so it proved. He always seems to pop up when Wales are in need and they are indeed in need this weekend. Wales are in clear and present danger of slipping out of the top 8 should they lose this game and if other results go a certain way across the remainder of the Autumn tests. Hence this has become something of a must-win game for them. Other notable changes are the under performing Scarlet’s halves Knoyle and Priestland relegated to the bench, and in steps kicking maestro Biggar, and Mike Phillips. Warburton is replaced by a man who is on far better form – Tipuric, who could realistically take Warburton’s starting berth for the upcoming 6 nations at seven if he stays injury free. Bradley Davies returns in the second row and will bring some badly needed dog and go forward back into the side.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Ashley Beck, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ryan Jones (capt), 5 Ian Evans, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Luke Charteris, 20 Sam Warburton, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Scott Williams.

Samoa name a side with a bit of quality, the players in bold below being the standouts – the backrow is useful if all of a quite similar style. Treveranus has been playing some good stuff for London Irish, but you’d fancy the Welsh backrow over all of them, except maybe Faleteau who has been quiet enough so far this season. There are a few weak points, there’s not much on the Samoan bench, and we think Lemi (who is small enough) at captain is possibly a bad choice. Lemi scored a great try for Worcester recently but he has slowed down the last year or two, and against a huge Welsh backline you’d expect him to be targeted from the off. Tusi Pisi at ten didn’t kick all of the goals against Canada either (that was So’iola, who is banned for this game), and while he’s had a few games in Super rugby he won’t bring the surety from the kicking tee that Samoa had last week in that easily-won game. Canada were missing some of their bigger players as a sidenote, and in general you’d wonder how much good it will have done Samoa for this week.

Samoa: 15 Faatoina Autagavaia, 14 Paul Perez, 13 George Pisi, 12 Paul Williams, 11 David Lemi (capt), 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Taiasina Tuifua, 7 Maurie Fa’asavalu, 6 Ofisa Treviranus, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Daniel Leo, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Ole Avei, 1 Sakaria Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Ti’i Paulo, 17 Villiamu Afatia, 18 James Johnston, 19 tbc, 20 Tivaini Fomai, 21 Jeremy Su’a, 22 Johnny Leota, 23 Robert Lilomaiava.

There’s plenty of hard hitting ability in the Samoan side, and the side they have out on Friday night is very similar to the one that lost by a point at the death to Scotland in the summer. Samoa had a try ruled out towards the end that would have won them that game. The Scottish side that was out was a little weak, but it was still an achievement of sorts for Samoa. They have an arguably stronger side out here with George Pisi from Northampton and Leo of Perpignan being added who they were missing that day v Scotland. However, other recent Samoan results don’t paint such a pretty picture. They barely scraped past Japan and Fiji in the pacific nations cup (which they did win), and they had a good chunk of Friday’s starters available. They now face a wounded Wales who are on a four game losing streak and who are desperate to prove a point here tomorrow.

To be frank, Wales in general are a far better side than Samoa. Even allowing for individual ability the Welsh match up, and the Welsh structure and familiarity from playing together at club level (many of them) is in contrast to a Samoan side with very little meaningful gametime recently. Wales have a better lineout, a better nine and ten, and if you look across the backline it starts to look ominous for Samoa. Phillps, Biggar, North, Roberts, Beck and Cuthbert are all very big men, and can all score tries. The Samoans are going to be feeling some serious hits out wide and they’re going to have a nightmare stopping these lads, especially wee David Lemi. George Pisi is quite injury prone and Northampton fans will be watching from behind the sofa hoping he doesn’t go off injured. The weather is set to be wet early on Friday and/or during the game, and Wales have a distinct advantage in the scrum and on the scrum replacement bench – James Johnston on the Samoan bench is a scrum-penalty magnet for Quins in the Premiership, lord knows how he’ll go at international level. And with the wet weather, and the scrums, will likely come penalties, and in steps Dan Biggar.

Biggar is not going to set the Welsh backline alight, but what he can do is kick penalties, and he has a point to prove in his lonely quest for fly half domination of Welsh middle Earth. Biggar will know fellow Osprey Fotuali (Samoan Scrumhalf) inside-out and former Osprey Phillips will be all over him. This game could well follow a simple pattern of Wales keeping it tight and nudging ahead through penalties in the wet, and then really cutting loose when Samoa start to get desperate and the pressure lifts. On the whole, it’s hard to see where Samoa can win this, and Wales should win this by a fair whack once they don’t panic, keep it tight, and take their points when the opportunities come (and there should be plenty).

Main bet- We’ve taken Wales -9 at 10/11 still available in Bluesquare and Sportingbet (minus 10 and 11 everywhere else). Wales have a point to prove and they have the tools to take Samoa apart.

Tryscorer bet- back future Welsh top tryscorer of all time Alex Cuthbert to score a try anytime in Skybet at a massive 13/8. (he’s 6/4 and 6/5 elsewhere) We’ve had a bigger than usual tryscorer interest on him for this one; it will be a surprise if Wales get into the ascendancy and he doesn’t dot down. He scores tries for a living this lad- no really, he does!

Don’t forget the Skybet free no deposit tenner bet and free fiver bet every week offer

ends tonight

,
this Friday 16th at midnight – you can find more details by clicking here.

England v Australia Rugby Betting

England v Australia Rugby Betting Preview, Sat Nov 17th 230pm. England -6 (disappearing) Bluesquare, Australia +8 Boylesports (10/11)


Sky Sports 1

Exaggeration is the watch-word this weekend. England’s result v Fiji, and Australia’s result v France. England beat a team last week that weren’t interested in playing (i’m sorry, but it’s true – watch Monye’s try before just half time for all the insight needed into just how much Fiji bothered in the entire 80 minutes) and Australia were always going to be on the end of a vengeful French onslaught after hammering them the last time they visited France. You sensed the Australians knew they were in for it and threw in the towel as soon as that first try by Picamoles went in.

To look further at England’s win last week, it has to be acknowledged that they can only play what is put in front of them, and they put Fiji away with very little effort. They had clean lineout all game, and clean scrum (and they won’t have either against Australia), and they racked up the tries. However, to nitpick slightly, they butchered alot of try chances against a wide defence that simply wasn’t there. They were in situations at times where it looked impossible NOT to score, and yet they botched a number of them. England seemed intent on keeping it tight in the quest for tries but had the ball gone wide when it should have they would have won by 80. It begs the question – are they not comfortable going wide? England seemed quite averse to taking the ball up to the line and drawing the defender for most of the game, and they won’t score tries against better defences by constantly giving off passes two metres before the gainline. Ashton comes in this week but he won’t see much ball from Tuilagi and Barritt. Sharples moves to the left wing, and Goode remains at full back and both are very inexperienced at test level. Goode is a quality player but he hasn’t been tested yet and he may have a tough afternoon on Saturday.

The point here is that England will have learned absolutely nothing from last week, other than the fact they’re lacking in execution. They found out nothing about their scrum and lineout, and they learned nothing about their backplay. Watching the BBC highlights (as well as having watched the match live), it was noticable listening to Brian Moore that he was as questionable as we still are about Fiji’s commitment to last week’s fixture. So overall, forget last week’s Fijian demolition if you’re trying to assess England’s chances of beating the handicap here on Saturday.

In the summer, England were blown away in the two opening tests by a South African side that ultimately finished third in the Rugby Championship. They did well to get a draw in a dour encounter in the third test but we’re searching for recent inspiration as to whether England should realistically be 8 point favourites against Australia. Yes France beat them by 27 points, and we’re not saying forget that, but for them to play two miserable games in a row, and for there to be another abject capitulation -this time to their great rivals England? We’re finding it hard to see it happening.

Australia were comprehensively beaten last week by determined French defence which was unusually combined with buckets of French flair. So what has changed this week? Not much for Australia, other than they’ll have far more motivation than they did against France. Australia are facing three losses in a row against one of their great rivals, and that hasn’t happened since the World cup winning English side of 2003. The handicap has been steadily moving out for England indicating there’s alot of money coming for them, but is the negative sentiment on Australia justified?

Alot of people seem to be forgetting that Australia just drew with the world champions 18 all a month ago in a game they could have won. They won their collisions in the first half, had parity in the set piece throughout the game, and kept an awesome All Black attack quiet. There has been a fair bit of talk on the England scrum holding the advantage here, but i’m not sure that’s warranted considering this Wallaby side managed the All Black result and beat an Argentina side away from home who were desperate for a win. Remembering last week’s game v Wales, are England currently a better side than Argentina? I’m not so sure about that.

It gets more interesting when you look at the Australian lineups in recent games. Firstly, the only real missing man from recent games is Pat McCabe, and his omission is a loss for the Australian defence. On the other hand, it may make them play a more attacking game with Tapuai replacing him. Many commentators are pointing to current Australian injuries as a reason to back England but they’ve been in pretty much the same state of injury affairs in the two games mentioned above; missing Pocock and O’Connor for a long time now. Genia missed both those games v Argentina and New Zealand, and has been out since the win v South Africa at home. And remember, Australia got the winning score in that game right after he went off injured, when his labouring over the breakdown wasn’t there to slow them down. I’m not saying Phipps at nine is a better player- but he isn’t the worst- he also played in both of the recent excellent Australian performances.

Australia also have some serious leadership in their side. Nathan Sharpe is still going strong and the inspirational Berrick Barnes comes in at full back. Where are England’s leaders this weekend? There was very little leadership shown in South Africa, and as above, forget the Fiji game. Compare Saturday’s England side with the England side that ran out 35-18 winners in 2010 and you’ll see what i’m getting at.

That day in 2010 (much referenced in the build up to this game), there was plently of leadership on show – players like Moody, Nick Easter (who should be starting on Saturday as one of the top form players in England), Hartley, Tindall, and even Ben Foden. When you compare that to the current set up, you may start to worry for England this week.

Robshaw has been touted as a potential Lions captain but he’s nowhere near that level (not this season anyway). If things get tough on Saturday who’s going to rouse this English side and get them moving? They look a bit lightweight if we’re honest and there’s a hell of alot of international inexperience in this Enlglish side. They won’t boss this Australian pack, and I don’t see the superiority in the backs. The one area England have more obvious cutting edge is in the half backs (on recent form). But if Beale gets any space and decent ground underfoot, (like an average South African backline had in the summer) things could turn sour for England because there’s space there.

The weather this weekend is set to be ok up until kick off when there’s a decent bit of rain forecast. Ordinarily this wouldn’t favour Australia but they have three accomplished and experienced kickers to get them out of trouble in the backline in Beale, Ashley-Cooper, and Barnes. They bring a wealth of international cutting edge to the table (unless you’re playing Knifey-spooney), and England don’t have really have an equivalent level of leadership in the side. Even against Fiji you could see Tuilagi running down blind alleys without passing or kicking and almost getting turned over. It’s little things like this and the lack of English leadership that has us pitching our punting-tent in the Australian camp this week. There’s so much un-merited optimism about for England and the pressure may get to them. They haven’t really done much since the six nations whereas Australia have fought massive battles all over the place. If things start to even slightly go against them on Saturday (and Australia will be well up for this), who’s going to pull them out of a hole?

Main bet – This England side has a future ahead of it but it’s still quite green in places.We’re backing Australia to bounce back and taking the +8 available in Skybet, medium to full stakes The handicap has moved out from -5 early in the week to -8 in places now (-6 is very scarce currently) and you might even get -9 if you wait around for the English punt to really kick in on Friday night.

Australia rarely play two bad games in a row and in all honestly I can see them even getting a win on Saturday. If it goes out to 4/1 (3/1 currently is the biggest available) we’ll be taking some of that too for value. All in all Australia are a match for this English side, and a start of eight points against an unproven England;with Australia being written off by the media; and with Australia having all the motivation; the +8 is far too tempting.

Tryscorer punt (small stakes) – The evergreen Wallaby leader Nathan Sharpe is 80/1 in Ladbrokes for first tryscorer (50/1 and less elsewhere) to get the first try and that’s far far too big for a man that’s been scoring tries recently. On a dirty Saturday afternoon he’ll be just the man to break through an unproven English line close in. Well worth a fiver anyway.

Don’t forget the Skybet free bet every week offer ends this Friday 16th at midnight – you can find more details here.

Scotland v New Zealand Rugby Betting

Scotland v New Zealand Rugby Betting

Ok good weekend so far on site and in the forum, so let’s try make it a great one. Tricky game to call here but we may have a decent angle for you. This won’t be a long preview- because it doesn’t need to be.

When we first glanced at this weekend’s fixtures this one was singled out as the most difficult of the weekend to call on the handicap. The normally imperious All Blacks are the undoubted best team on the planet, but they’ve had a few small wobbles recently, and it’s enough to make you question whether they’ll be up for it 100%.

The real question is whether New Zealand are hungry enough to go after this handicap and on the face of things it’s too hard to call. They make ten changes to the team that drew with Australia away from home, with lots of international inexperience in the backline and in a few places throughout the pack. Players like on-form Aaron Smith and Read will be missed and Weepu is getting another chance for some reason. McCaw starts at seven and referees are watching him alot lately, and the fact is he’s slowing down a bit. So what am I getting at here you ask? Well, alot of people are saying that the new caps will be worse for Scotland as they’ll be really hungry (there’s that word again) to impress, and while that may be true this is not the starting 15 that blew everyone away in the Rugby Championship. Scotland will surely fancy themselves for more than their usual tally of points against New Zealand at home (less than ten) with the bits of attacking talent they have scattered around the team like Laidlaw and Visser.

So here’s the point; In New Zealand’s last four games away from home since the home June internationals the All Blacks have conceded 18,19,15 and 16 points. And that was with a 1st choice starting 15. Tomorrow with 10 changes and a bit of ring rustiness they won’t be at their defensive best. In good weather tomorrow they’ll probably beat this handicap but it’s not somthing we’re willing to put our money on. Instead we’re going to have a bet on Scotland..

No, we haven’t been drinking! (Much…). In seven games in 12 years Scotland have scored more than 10 points twice (both in New Zealand), and in none of those other 5 home games have they beaten ten points scored. However, tomorrow should be a bit different. They won’t know Visser well in the New Zealand camp and he’ll finish any chance he gets – Scotland haven’t had a finisher like him for a long time. Laidlaw can kick his goals capably enough too and the Scottish pack should secure some lineout ball with Hamilton and Grey there, and McCaw should give away enough kickable penalties that Scotland manage a decent enough score from the kicking tee. I see this game maybe panning out iight enough at the start with a few goals kicked either way, then it should open up. Scotland will hope to keep it tight after giving away so many tries so early the last time the All Blacks visited.

Main Bet- We’re backing Scotland over 11.5 points in Skybet at 10/11. It’s over 12.5 everywhere else and where there is over 11 elsewhere it’s only 4/5. As mentioned New Zealand can’t possibly be 100% at the races defensively and they’ve econceded more than 11 in their last four away games with a full side out (and not tomorrow’s ten changes). Two penalties and a late/early converted try for Visser or whoever (don’t rule out Lamont) is all it takes for this be to be a winner. Medium stakes.

Tryscorer punt – Cory Jane on the right wing is 2/3 in SKybet, but biggest 5/6 in Ladbrokes anytime try and is well worth a small stakes punt. He’s guaranteed to the on the end of a few attacking moves, and Visser is very suspect defensively.

Other than that, one other interesting punt is ‘A try to be scored before 12 minutes 30 seconds’ in bet365 at 5/6. New Zealand scored 3 here last time within the first nine minutes.

If there’s any other bets you fancy head on over to the forum.

Good luck!

Ireland v South Africa Rugby Betting Preview

Ireland v South Africa Rugby Betting Preview, Nov 10 530pm GMT.
Ireland +5 evens Paddypower, South Africa -4 Bet365

Brian O Driscoll and Paul O’Connell are out this weekend and wins against the Southern Hemisphere teams for Ireland are like hen’s teeth without either or both of them. They’re not the only injuries Ireland have to contend with but there’s perhaps too much being made of Ireland’s injury woes. There’s quality right through the side and they’re at home.

Home advantage for Ireland is important against South Africa. Since 2004 a bet on Ireland with a start of 5 points would never have lost against the Springboks – they’ve only lost once, and that was by two points. Obviously BOD and POC are big losses for the Irish, so we need to examine the starting 15 for further weakness.

Starting at full back is winger Simon Zebo in a position he’s not overly familiar with. It’s fairly obvious he has been picked for his ability in the air and he has been peerless in European and domestic rugby so far this season under the high ball. South Africa will revert to type in this game, especially to target this perceived Irish weakness, and Zebo will see plenty of ball. It’s the obvious play and the Springboks are nothing if not direct. The way we see it though, if Zebo plays to form South Africa will get very litle change from this tactic and you’d wonder about the effectiveness of their plan B with them missing Habana. Zebo’s monster boot could also mean South Africa will be back in their own half far more than they’d like to be.
Keith Earls replaces the injured BOD at outside centre in his preferred position, and with his attacking ability he should get some change against Taute for South Africa who was very poor defensively against the All Blacks recently. Trimble and Bowe are a match for their opposite numbers (particularly Pietersen who has very little rugby recently despite having an excellent Super15 campaign), with Darcy at 12 a slight doubt; but once he’s fit, he shouldn’t have too many problems. Sexton, the likely Lions flyhalf, is more than a match for young Lambie. And despite recent errors of judgement in Europe, Murray at nine has plenty of physicality and is a match for Pienaar, who has ben a bit ropey with his place kicking at times lately.

This is where it gets debatable for Ireland – in the pack; and particularly in the back row. Sean O Brien of course is a big miss as is Ferris. Can the replacements have a similar impact? If the gameplan is right (and it looks to be), then yes. There won’t be as much gainline ball from O’Mahony, Henry and Heaslip but all three are in excellent form in Europe, particularly O’Mahony. Henry is there to disrupt ball and will have a tough test against Francois Luow, but aside from that contest Ireland are not outclassed all that much, especially not in the front row. The South African pack are bigger no doubt, but with dry conditions and 7 very mobile forwards picked, Ireland’s general plan looks to be to run the arse off this South African side. Let’s also not forget that the South African forwards recently had one Megan Fox (50kgs) in weight ‘advantage’ over the Kiwis and we all saw how that went.

There are a few psychological factors that will help Ireland this weekend. First of all , they’re underdogs, which will suit the Irish down to the ground. It’s been blatantly obvious to all and sundry that putting a ‘favourites’ tag on Ireland is like putting a Kryptonite Catsuit on Superman – they start off radiant and fighting but it all gets too much for them and they inevitably wilt. That isn’t the case on Saturday and they should flourish as real underdogs. They have the home record in their favour too of course. And politically at home, the South Africans are under some undue pressure.

In an ideal world, the issue of not enough players of one ethnicity or another being on the team shouldn’t really have much of an effect but it does here and it warrants attention however small. It is an issue bubbling just under the surface in South Africa. It’s a touchy subject for obvious reasons (we have no opinion either way -if it affects our horse we just want to know about it) but it’s a strange one in the background for the players to have to deal with pyschologically – this South African side are damned if they do and damned if they don’t really. If they win, the media speculation and protestations will continue at home; If they lose, they’ll just get louder. All that criticism at home from your own people can’t be helping preparation for any of the South African players this weekend.

Main bet – Ireland are under no pressure here, and with new blood and a team picked to play to a positve gameplan, Ireland should nick what should be a cracking game. Either way, the +5 start is very big. We’ve taken Ireland +5 at evens only in Paddy Power.

We initially thought there was money back on the handicaps if Ireland scored, but it is actually money back from Paddypower on all tryscorer bets if Tommy Bowe scores a try at anytime in the game. We’ll have tryscorer picks up closer to the game.

If you’re not already with Paddy Power you can get 250 in staggered free bets as opposed to the usual 50 by opening an account through our links. Our paddypower review is here if you need further reading

We’ll have a few side bets closer to kick off here and in the forum.

Don’t forget to head over to our Rugby Betting forum to join the discussion and contribute. There’s already plenty of discussion and winning rugby tips. All are welcome and you can choose your own team/country crest.

Wales v Argentina Rugby Betting

Wales v Argentina Rugby Betting Preview, Nov 10 230pm. Wales -9 PaddyPower, Argentina +11 Stanjames

These two teams have played each other three times in recent years in Wales, and the average winning margin for Wales is 13 points (15,17,7). Handicaps have come in slightly since the start of the week, when many bookmakers had Argentina at +10, now they’re into +9. They pitch up to Cardiff like a mercenary army, wearily alive after recent wars in the Southern hemisphere, but ready for action.

If we take a look at recent games against Australia for both teams, they’ve lost by pretty much the same margins so there’s nothing separating them there. Wales played three and lost three down in Australia by small margins, and Argentina lost both of their Rugby Championship games v Australia in similar fashion. In fact, if you forget about the hidng they got at home against the All Blacks and away against the Springboks (in their first game), in their other four games they drew with South Africa and lost the other three games by 4, 6 and 16 points. The 16 was away in New Zealand in the wet (similar conditions to this Saturday) and the score only got that big in the final quarter of that game.

So who are Argentina missing this weekend, and can the remaining lot put it up to Wales this like they did to the world champtions? Roncero is gone, and Albacete will be missed, but other than that it’s still a good looking side. They lose Roncero’s dynamism and inspiration, but Ayerza can scrummage just as well, and Contepomi will take over the leadership role – coming into the side having last played in their June tests at home. The pack has a good spine, and it’s hard to see this Welsh pack totally dominating them. There’s plenty of ability in an all TOP14 backline (except for Camacho from Exeter) and Sanchez will surprise alot of people outside the excellent Landajo at nine. I watched Sanchez play in a second Bordeaux side recently at Gloucester and don’t be fooled by his relative anonymity- he is well able – brilliant with ball in hand, fast, and well able with the boot. He and Landajo face Priestland and Knoyle, and they have the advantage there.

Let’s have a pick at Wales starting fifteen for argument’s sake. The Scarlets’ nine and ten start on Saturday and they have to be viewed as a potential weakness in this company. Priestland is surely on his last legs as the Welsh ten, having done very litle for them in recent internationals, and this combo together have rarely performed when it really mattered in big games for the Scarlets. Looking at the backs – Cuthbert, Roberts and Halfpenny were top class players in a decent side that last week went to a weakened Leinster and had 60 points put on them. Captain Sam Warburton was captain that day and there was a distinct lack of leadership, and he’s captain against Argentina. Faletau hasn’t been in the greatest form for the Dragons recently, catalytic centre Jonathan Davies is injured, and the Ospreys captain Wynn Jones recently led a team that capitulated away at Leicester in a game that was there’s for the taking. In fact, bar Jenkins down in Toulon, recent club form doesn’t look great for anyone in this Welsh side in important games.

But wait, Welsh players always step it up for the International games don’t they? Well yes, but that’s one of those stereotypes that’s more of an excuse for poor club play than a reason for good international play. This Welsh team have the talent but there’s a massive amount of complacency in general about many of them lately, as seen in recent club games, and even down in Australia. The four Cardiff men in particular didn’t feel the need to perform against Leinster in the RaboPro12 because they figured they’d get picked anyway- and that surely can’t be a good thing. The men they’re missing tomorrow will be sorely missed too. Ryan Jones is one of the real leaders in this team and will be missed hugely against an abrasive Argentinian pack with serious motivation. Jones will be missed in the front row as will the world class Lydiate, and even Bradley Davies would have been useful on Saturday.

It sounds like we’re really drilling into Wales here but noone seems to be giving Argentina much of a chance and it pays to play devils advocate in every form of speculation. Looking at that Welsh side we see three big positives – Cuthbert, Tipuric on the bench, and North (if he doesn’t have to defend too much). But in the conditions forecast and with the disjointed and middling form of the Welsh pack, you’d wonder how much good ball they’ll see out wide.

The Argentinians have world cup seedings motivation here to stay in the top eight, and they could conceiveably end up in the TOP 4 after this tour, and that’s a serious prize worth fighting for. The last time they came North before a world cup seeding draw in November 2006 they beat England in Twickenham and they’re now coming off the back of 6 games against the top three in the world. They won’t fear Wales beyond respect, and they’ll surely believe they can win this game.

Wales v Argentina Rugby betting Main bet– You can see where we’re going with this I think. Wales can win this but there’s scant evidence of any hunger in the side recently. Recent Argentinian results against the top three in the world; A capable looking side and an able backline; Wales missing such important players; Roman Poite will let Argentina contest the breakdown; the poor conditions forecast; the poor form of Priestland; the recent poor club form; the inexperience in some positions; world cup rankings motivation; complacency…all point to Argentina staying within the handicap at least. We’ve taken Argentina on the +10 10/11, still only available in Ladbrokes(**EDIT +11 now available in Stanjames **Ladbrokes +11 at evens biggest**, Saturday 13:55 (+9/10 everywhere else). Argentina could win this even; they play with the big boys full time now.

We’ll have more side bets when markets come out.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Josh Turnbull,5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones,3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Paul James, 19 Rob McCusker, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 James Hook, 23 Liam Williams.

Argentina: 15 Juan Martin Hernandez, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Felipe Contepomi, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Leonardo Senatore, 5 Julio Farias Cabello, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Replacements:
16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Bruno Postiglioni, 18 Juan Gomez, 19 Tomas Vallejos Cinalli, 20 Tomas Leonardi, 21 Nicolas Vergallo, 22 Horacio Agulla, 23 Joaquin Tuculet.

England v Fiji Rugby Betting

England v Fiji Rugby Betting Preview, Nov 10 230pm. England -32 evens VictorChandler, Fiji+34 Stanjames (10/11)

One of our new forum members on the England v Fiji betting thread was good enough to share an innovative method he uses to handicap International games, involving IRB rankings and home advantage. The number he came up with was a 34 point win for England – very close to the current bookies handicaps (and bang on what Stanjames have up, at biggest +34 for Fiji). Now we’re not saying it’s science but it’s an interesting boost to the growing bunch of people backing the -31/32. (Alot of money has come in William hill with the handicap moving from -31 to -33).

First of all, let’s just say that +34 is a whopping handicap to beat, and England have only beaten it once against Fiji – over ten years ago in a 35 point winning margin victory. Obviously alot has changed since then, with the Fijians getting much more exposure at European club level, and alot more structure. Fiji tend to do OK in November Internationals in Europe, with a draw in Wales in recent years, and the French only beat them by 22 points. Many will look at Scotland’s game down in Fiji during the summer for some guidance on Flying Fijian form (which we tipped on here as having over 4,5 tires, and it did, waheyy!). There are some Youtube highlights of the game here if you have 5 minutes to spare. Scotland eventually won that game by 12 points, and if you were to watch that highlight clip, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a walk in the park for Scotland. Well it wasn’t – we stayed up till 5am to watch it (like the sad people we are) and the Fijians made an excellent fight of it against a fully coherent Scotland side, on the end of a tour which saw them beat Australia. Lack of finishing cost them in that game, and in particular just before the end of the game; what the highlight reel also leaves out is that Fiji had an extended period of pressure on Scotland’s line towards the end and couldn’t make it count, losing their concentration when it really mattered. Had they scored they would have gone into the lead with very little time left. Instead they screwed up, and Scotland got another late try to make the result look far more comfortable than it was. This is why we stay up bleary eyed watching things like this – it usually helps down the road at some point.

So what does that mean for Saturday’s game? Fiji are missing Edinburgh’s Talei, who is a big loss for the leadership he brings. However he is replaced by Qera of Gloucester who has hit some form and he’s just the man to lay down some early hits. Naquelevuki didn’t play that day against Scotland but he starts in the centres tomorrow and he will get Fiji on the front foot more often than not. He can also offload which is something Tuilagi possibly doesn’t have in his arsenal. Leicester’s Goneva, who after a slow start in the Premiership has really hit some form, was instrumental in a couple of Fiji’s tries against Scotland and starts in the centre tomorrow. The rest of the team is about 60% of what the Scotland game was, and they’ve replaced two of the front row which can only be a good thing considering the penalty try they gave up, and one of those is more likely than not again tomorrow if England get close in. Their scrum wasn’t all bad though, and they took a few penalties against the head v Scotland.

So enough about Fiji, what about England? Time to try to pull apart this handicap if we can. It’s clear they are superior to Fiji in many positions and they are rightly favourites, but the real advantage European teams have always had over all of the Islanders is structure. England should have the lineout sorted overall with a Leicester man throwing into his Leicester team-mates, but i’m not buying the total media whitewash of debutant Young’s throwing form. Essentially all dissent has been crushed but sticking your fingers in your ears and not pretending not to hear the doubters won’t make it all right on the night. He has good overall stats, but the fact is that in his last big game against the Ospreys he was absolutely woeful, as was the Leicester lineout in general – losing the majority of their own ball. Then last week against Northampton he didn’t play (granted he was probably being kept for England duty). I’m not saying the lineout will be Fiji’s, all i’m saying is don’t expect perfect lineout set play ball for England. Looking across the rest of the team, there’s plenty of class and solidity and they should have scrums mostly their own way. The backrow doesn’t have much beauty about it but it should do the job, and England will probably play a Quins type short game close in around the ruck with Care exploiting any gaps.

But here’s the thing- What if that doesn’t work and the Fijians front up around the break down? Will they go wide? Sharples is lightening quick on the wing but you wonder how much ball he’ll get from Tuilagi and Barritt – and his defence is questionable. A few big early hits for Fiji and England could revert to type for all the chat in the media of them being allowed to play naturally. The England bench isn’t exactly one to set the world alight either, and Robshaw as captain hasn’t been in great form and is probably not the most inspirational leader. England don’t have a terrific record in the Autumn internationals in recent years either, and they come off two losses and a draw away to South Africa and they have plenty of new combinations from different teams playing together for the first time. It’s a big ask to beat a 32 point handicap first game back, and with the Fijians talking midweek of loving the fact they’re playing in a sold out Twickenham- maybe it reminds them of a sold out Cardiff a few years back! England are a second half side and should pull away here in the final 20 but they write the Flying Fijians off at their peril.

Positives for England? As above, there’s a great bunch of players here and a very happy looking mood in the camp (maybe too happy) if the Sky love-in on Thursday night was anything to go by – (hardly a word mentioned about Scotland, Wales and Ireland by the way). Flood, though coming off a slight injury, is in great form as is Care inside him and overall it’s a pretty dynamic pack…but I just can’t shake the feeling there’s a slightly cobbled together look to the side (we’re getting negative again!). This Fijian side could have beaten Scotland with a bit more composure and you’d fancy them for a score or two, and they have an able kicker. Bookies have the away team points line set at 13 points over/under and that looks about right (though you’d expect a little more from Fiji against a backline that hasn’t played together). So if the bookies are right then England will need to rack up 45 points to beat -32 with equates to around 7 tries. Yet the bookies are also pricing up over 6 England tries at 6/4 so they don’t really fancy that outcome. So ask yourself, will this England team score seven tries more than Fiji? They might, but as long as Fiji show up it doesn’t look likely. Also, If Flood’s injury kicks up early and Farrell has to come on at ten then you can kiss any notion of England beating the handicap goodbye too – Saracen’s average is LESS than 1 try per game whenever he starts.

Main Bet- there’s the usual market optimism for England and the patriotic punt is swinging high across the land. England could beat this handicap but the Fijians should be able to stay inside with the quality scattered around the side and the space that should open up if the England in-camp smiles are anything to go by. We’re taking an effective Fiji +35 in Stanjames – Fiji +34.5 on the no draw handicap) at 4/5. As above it’s hard to see a rusty England getting the interplay needed to put this kind of score up, there’s a fair bit of rain about tonight and Saturday morning around Twickenham, and referee Glen Jackson should be an extra bit lenient to the Fijians, lest he be called out for England favouritism with him having so many close ties, having played for Saracens himself. Here’s hoping for a cracker of a game, and here’s an important point – if England DON’T beat this handicap it’ll be far better for them with the upcoming three games on the horizon. I think Lancaster would prefer a tough game to an easy canter, and he’ll very likely make early use of his bench here.

Side bets – We’ve taken a small interest in Danny Care to be the top home nations tryscorer (includes Ireland) for the entire autumn internationals at 20/1 in Ladbrokes (you’ll find it in the specials section, where Welshman Cuthbert is 4/1 current favourite. (Care has been in great tryscoring form for Quins, scoring in many or their games recently, and 20/1 is a bit of value worth investing in for a small few quid. Williamhill also have exactly one card to be awarded in the game at 5/2, with no card at 11/8. This doesn’t really tally with Paddypower who have any card to be awarded in the game at odds-on, so there’s value there for there to be one card awarded – Jackson isn’t known for giving many cards bit Fiji could give one away tomorrow in one of three areas – the scrum, big tackles, or the breakdown. Two cards is 11/4 but one card only looks best at 5/2.

No tryscorer bets appeal as prices are far too tight, but one other slight tempter is for a Fiji try to be the first score of the game at 16/1 everywhere except Ladbrokes, powers and Skybet. How many times have we seen the underdog get the first try of the game? 16/1 is too big and well worth a fiver or tenner.

Again here’s hoping for an entertaining game. If you want your say, head on over to the betting forum and chip in with your opinion. Also, there are so many games on this weekend we can’t cover them all from a betting perspective (there’s only so many hours in the day). But that’s where the forum comes in – get on there, ask your questions, or read the opinions of others – there’s plenty of wisdom on there from around the rugby world.

England: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Danny Care, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Tom Johnson, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Tom Palmer, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Joe Marler.

Replacements: 16 David Paice, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Joe Launchbury, 19 Tom Wood, 20 Ben Youngs, 21 Owen Farrell, 22 Mike Brown.

Fiji: 15 Simeli Koniferedi, 14 Samu Wara, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Sireli Naqelevuki, 11 Watisoni Votu, 10 Metuisela Talebula, 9 Nicola Matawalu, 8 Akapusi Qera 7 Malaki Ravulo, 6 Api Naikatani, 5 Apisolame Ratuniyarawa, 4 Leone Nakawara, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 Viliame Veikoso, 1 Ratu Makutu.
Replacements: 16 Seremaia Naureure, 17 Setafano Samoca, 18 Manasa Saulo, 19 Sekonaia Kalou, 20 Iliesa Ratuva, 21 Kelemedi Bola, 22 Josh Matavesi, 23 Ravai Fatiaki.