Category Archives: Ireland rugby betting

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.

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


New Zealand v Ireland Rugby Betting Preview, Tips and Odds

Rugby Betting Media Coverage

Sky Sports 1

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

Form Guide

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


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

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

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

Rugby Betting Tips

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

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

Rugby Weather

-Definitely likelihood of rain in Hamilton.

Ref –

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

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

New Zealand v Ireland Rugby Betting Preview, Tips and Odds. 7.35 GMT, Sat Jun 9th


Rugby Media Coverage

Sky Sports 2

Best Betting/Team Win Handicap
New Zealand 1/12  -15 4/5 888sport
Ireland 8/1 stan james  +18 10/11 skybet

Form Guide

Round one of an epic Trilogy begins Saturday morning in a rainy Eden Park, when Ireland once again try to beat the Kiwis for the first time in their history. Er… formwise, New Zealand are world cup champions since last year, and Ireland were beaten by an ordinary England side in the 6 nations, and their second team was beaten at the death by the Babaas last week. That’s all she wrote basically- in that, we can’t really infer any New Zealand form anyway. They are New Zealand- let’s leave it there for now. Regarding Ireland, I’m worried that Mike Ross is out- he has been the bedrock of the Irish game in recent times, and his work in the loose for Leinster has come on leaps and bounds. Fitzpatrick is his replacement in the scrums, and while he has performed well for Ulster in their Heineken cup run-in, he is untested at this level. Going on Kidney’s form in particular, and his general inability to translate club form into sustained international form, this Irish team hasn’t a hope of winning this game, but things can change- New Zealand have had little preparation time, and they have some new faces too


Ireland have two debutants in Fitzpatrick and Zebo. They have a fantastic looking back row with O Mahony , O Brien and Heaslip, and it could really do some damage in the wet. Ferris will be missed but this loose trio can hold their own. Darcy is out and Earls is in at 12. Earls distribution has oft been questioned, but some of his passing this year for Munster has been sublime, as were one or two passes in the Barbarians game  Zebo’s defence has been  questioned in the past too, but you’d hope that has been worked on by Kidney, and he poses a potent try scoring threat.

New Zealand have three new caps in the side, left wing Julian Savea, scrumhalf Aaron Smith and second row Brodie Retallick.  Suffice to say they’ll be eased in and supported by a battle hardened NZ squad. Carter is at ten, and McCaw is at 7, and we might see some fireworks between himself and Heaslip, running on from their run-in on the last Irish tour. One thing that really stands out for me is the Kiwi backline- it is formidable to say the least. Ireland will need to be at their defensive best

New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Zac Guildford, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Victor Vito, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Adam Thomson, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Ben Smith.

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O’Driscoll (c), 12 Keith Earls, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray; 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Dan Touhy, 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Donncha O’Callaghan, 19 Kevin McLaughlin, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Ronan O’Gara, 22 Darren Cave.

Betting Tips

Ireland have a small chance of winning this game, but I wouldn’t touch the 8/1 as it’s just too small. Despite this, Ireland’s best chance of winning a game in this series is this one, when New Zealand are rusty and haven’t played together. There’s a hard core of competitive players in this Irish team, and if they have some self-belief, and they defend in the wet like they did against Australia in the world cup, they could surprise the world and his dog and win this game.  Plus, Ireland know Nigel Owen’s game, so that will be to their advantage. For all the class in the New Zealand backline, it’ll be hard for them to gel right away, and as I have mentioned countless times now…it’s probably going to be wet!  But two of the main men that were instrumental against Australia are out- O Connell and Ferris (and Ross). You really couldn’t touch the Irish handicap bet, and if pushed you’d have to take the New Zealand  -15/16 available. But as I said, due to NZ having no form and having very little preparation time, and Ireland missing Ross, Ferris, and O’Connell, and losing by more than this cap to England, I can’t call the handicap. Instead, I’ll be having a few value interest bets.


  1. Sean O’Brien to score a try is 12/1 with skybet, and I believe this is a steal, with it being 6/1 everywhere else. He worked in perfect harmony with O Driscoll in the Heineken final, and New Zealand don’t know him that well. You can get a ten euro free bet with no deposit at skybet, and I’d recommend having a punt on this if you’re at a loss elsewhere for interest.
  2. A Drop goal to be scored is 13/8 in paddypower. If Ireland keep it tight at the start, you could see them taking this option if the phases break down. Kearney loves a pop as well as Sexton. Carter can drop, and he could go for one at any time- New Zealand are ruthless and always keep the points ticking over.


Nigel Owens- Ireland have a chance! Expect another excellent performance from the main man in the middle. We hope to hardly notice him, just like we didn’t in the fantastically-reffed Heineken cupfinal.


A bit Wet, and warm enough 16 degrees

Barbarians v Ireland, Betting Preview, Tuesday May 29th, 19.45 GMT, Kingsholm, Gloucester

Game not televised, but live updates should be here

Betting Best Win/Handicaps

Ireland -7 10/11, Barbarians +9 10/11

Barbarians 11/4, Ireland 1/3.


Ireland (XV v Barbarians): K Earls; C Gilroy, D Cave, P Wallace, S Zebo; R O’Gara, C Murray; B Wilkinson, M Sherry, D Fitzpatrick, D Tuohy, D Ryan, J Muldoon, C Henry, P O’Mahony.

Replacements: R Best, R Loughney, D O’Callaghan, J Coughlan, P Marshall, N Spence, A Trimble.

Barbarians team v Ireland: Cedric Heymans; Paul Sackey, Mike Tindall, Damien Traille, Iain Balshaw; Felipe Contepomi, Rory Lawson; Duncan Jones, Benoit August, John Afoa, Mick O’Driscoll (capt), Cornelius van Zyl, Mamuka Gorgodze, Francois Louw, Raphael Lakafia

Replacements: Aled de Malmanche, Neemia Tialata, Pelu Taele, Akapusi Qera, Richie Rees, Stephen Donald, Isa Nacewa


Not much form here really to speak of.

You have an Ireland team devoid of Leinster players (plenty of motivation for this lot to show they don’t need them!), and a Barbarians team mostly changed from Saturday’s loss to England, barring one or two who were substituted early, or came on late. Ronan O Gara at ten has more caps (121) than the entire Irish other fourteen players (98), versus a Barbarians side with many many hundreds of caps (that I haven’t counted). If we forget about the fact that Kidney hasn’t got a full deck to choose from, then Irish form in general hasn’t been great., with a sound beating at the hands of England (without a scrum, O Connell, and BOD) rounding off a disappointing 6 nations campaign that promised so much at its outset. But finally there’s some new blood in this Irish side, and with a few last spots up for grabs for the trip to New Zealand, they won’t be short on motivation. It’s a decent Irish side with plenty of tryscoring and defensive ability in the backs, a tested international halfback pairing, and a dynamic (if somewhat lightweight) pack. And going on last saturday, there is very little that you could call a defensive line with this barbarians squad- there will be holes everywhere for Ireland to exploit.

The Babaas on the other hand have bucket loads of experience, and when you look at their team sheet, you really wish the game was televised. Contepomi was lively against England for the last quarter, Tindall had a great game surprisingly, scoring a try, and that backrow looks fearsome, with Louw a breakdown expert, and Gorgodze and Lakafia wrecking balls. And look at that front row- tasty. But like a Kebab on a night with no beer, that perceived tastiness might quickly disappear. That is, will they gel? On the evidence of the England game, the short answer is…probably not. Many of these players are coming off punishing seasons, with the likes of Gorgodze having just played on Friday night in a bruising French playoff encounter. Their set piece was pretty non-existent v England, particularly the lineout, and you’d imagine O Gara will bring alot of structured territorial play, to go along with his accomplished passing game. England were not amazing in attack, butchering a few easy chances, and with very little high class structured back interplay, but still managed to put fifty points on the barbarians (excepting one try was quite exceptionally put together I have to admit). Ireland are well capable of matching the English back play, with Gilroy and Earls in particular in for a few tries i suspect. One area of concern for Ireland will be the inexperienced front row up against Jones, August and Afoa. But you’d expect the lack of playing time together across the Babaas team, (along with the nights out on the beer, and the serious heat), will favour an Irish team with a goal of getting on the NZ tour, playing time together, and a proper coaching setup.


There will be bags of tries here, but with no try scorer markets up yet, i can only give names, and maybe odds will come out, though possibly not as the game hasn’t been picked up by any TV stations (good work RTE, the Irish national broadcaster…). Earls, Gilroy, Cave, O Mahony, Murray, Sackey, Traille, Nacewa (if he gets off the bench) Zebo ( a shoe in for a score) should all come close.

1. This game could go either way really , but I have to take the evidence of a severe lack of preparation on Saturday against England, and the fact that these Irish players know each other’s games, and conclude Ireland will at least win. One has to think that Ireland -8 at 10/11 is the way to go if you want a punt on this game. Kidney will want them to play tight and get ahead, and when it inevitably opens up he will want tries, and instruct them to go after them, otherwise he learns nothing.

Weather- sunny and hot.

Referee- Doesnt matter.