Category Archives: England rugby betting

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.

Don’t forget the Skybet free no deposit tenner bet and free fiver bet every week offer ends Dec 7th
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.

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.

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

South Africa v England Rugby Betting

Rugby Media Coverage

Sky Sports 1

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

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

Form Guide

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Rugby Betting Tips

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

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

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

Rugby Media Coverage

Sky Sports 2

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

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

Form Guide

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Rugby Betting Tips

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

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

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

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


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

New Zealand v Ireland,

Australia v Wales,

South Africa v England,

Argentina v Italy,

Toulouse v Toulon

Rugby Betting Review

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

New Zealand v Ireland Result 42-10

Value bets highlighted in preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

Australia v Wales Result 27-19

Value Bets highlighted in Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South Africa v England Result 22-17

Value Bets Highlighted in Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toulouse v Toulon Result 18-12

Value bets highlighted in Preview

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

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

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

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

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

Argentina v Italy Result 37-22

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

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

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

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

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

South Africa v England Rugby Betting Preview, Tips, and Odds. June 9th, 3pm GMT

Rugby Media Coverage

Sky Sports 2

Best Betting/Team Win Handicap
South Africa 2/5 888sport -6 10/11 available
England 9/4 bet365 +7 evs bet365

Form Guide

South Africa come into this game with a team coming off the back of an already arduous Super 15 season, with last weekend seeing all four South African Franchises tear lumps out of each other. Now they are asked to unite and face the team everyone else loves to beat, England. The South African form factor sees them coming off last year’s amazing loss to Australia and the Pocock Gunshow, in a game they really should have won. Yes the ref could have been better, but they did have chances that they couldn’t finish – which was quite surprising after the 87 points to nothing they put on Namibia. They realistically could have been in a semi-final then, and the way New Zealand almost faltered, we could conceivably be talking about the world champions now.
England come into this after a refreshing six nations that THEY really should have won. But for a crazy bounce of the ball against Wales, they would have won it too. They demolished a weakened Irish team at home in the scrum, and beat a French team away in a pulsating encounter. They hammered a barbarians side on its first outing at home recently, while shorn of the Premiership final team members. So we can definitely say this England team has some form. But England don’t normally do well in South Africa, and they’re about to be tested against a Southern hemisphere side that doesn’t have as much pressure on as it normally would have.


While they’re missing some very big names like Burger and Smith, South Africa still have a good core of experienced players to win this game. Plus they’re at home. There was no real surprises when the team was announced in South Africa; it’s solid, they’ll play territory, and everyone knows that. Well maybe Brussow being omitted from the squad was a surprise to be fair.

I’ll be looking out for Pietersen to have a possible man of the match performance too- whenever I’ve seen him this year in Super 15 he has oozed class and broke the gain line every time. Pieterson must be licking his lips at the thought of facing Foden on the wing too.

England meanwhile may have just been a bit too cute in trying to counteract the expected South African Game plan. Ben Foden has been pushed to the left wing to accommodate Mike Brown at full back. While this may seem like a smart play, (having two fullbacks to deal with the Springbok kicking game), Foden is far smarter at full back than Brown, and Brown has a tendency to lose the ball when he comes back into contact far more than most high profile full backs. He also takes far too many chances for this game intensity level. I’d say 20% chance this move comes off for England, and 80% chance it blows back in their faces. Ashton also works far better off Foden than Brown; they play together at club level, and know each other’s moves. Brown and Ashton just don’t have that understanding.

Tuilagi had an awful premiership final, over running the ball, and forward passing umpteen times, arguably costing his team the game as most of their attacking ball went by his wayside… and Owen Farrell had the worst game I’ve ever seen him have against the Barbarians a few weeks ago. He was simply awful. This England side should be coming into this game full of confidence and recent form means they should be far closer on the handicap. But these little niggling doubts could all add up into one big negative for England.  There’s no pressure on South Africa, England beware.

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

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

Betting Tip

As I was saying, ordinarily I’d be all over England but as mentioned above I get the feeling South Africa could click tomorrow and silence their doubters. There’s a few bets I’ve had my eye on, with a bit of value thrown in for good measure.

  1. I can’t ignore the South Africa -6 and 7 at evens that’s available at bet36 based on the above. I’d like to see England winning here but I think it might just be a step too far once South Africa are on their game.
  2. If England were to win, i like Botha for Man of the match. He has been great since pulling on an England jersey, and was the standout player against the barbarians- all action, and always looking for work. If you can find  a market closer to game time (none available now) back him anything over 20/1
  3. Tuilagi 1st try scorer at 14/1 in paddypower is a decent punt. He hasn’t been this big in a while in an international, and was agonisingly close in a few games in the 6 nations. England will use him until South Africa start to read the play. Worth a punt as well considering paddypower give you your money back if ashton scores a try in anytime the game- he got three against the barbarians.
  4. Pietersen 11/1 in paddypower 1st try scorer. As mentioned, up against Foden on the left win, and if the positional switch doesn’t work out, he could be the man to benefit. Kirchner on his shoulder could profit too at 14/1 in paddypower, same offer applies.
  5. At time of writing I can’t find Jonathan Joseph for last try scorer in the markets, but if I find him anywhere I’ll put him up. This guy is all class and I feel he will be a huge player for England in the future. Scored the last against the barbarians (which i won a nice few quid on!) and has a fantastic chance here if he gets some time.

Weather in Durban – decent chance of light rain

Referee– Steve Walsh- In fairness to the man- since he lost his marbles, he has righted himself and taken up bowling. Fairplay to him, whenever i’ve seen him lately he has been spot on and reffing well. Hopefully he’ll let the game flow.