Category Archives: New Zealand 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.

Wales v NewZealand Rugby Betting

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main Rugby bet

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

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

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

Betfred Sport

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

Don’t forget the Skybet free no deposit tenner bet and free fiver bet every week offer ends Dec 7th
you can find more details by clicking here.

Scotland v New Zealand Rugby Betting

Scotland v New Zealand Rugby Betting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck!

Rugby Championship 2012 Betting Preview- New Zealand & South Africa

**Betting update- South Africa now out to 9/2 before this game for the tournament outright with Ladbrokes after New Zealand win, 10/3 elsewhere**

***Rugby Championship betting update for New Zealand and South Africa – Betting lines have come in for New Zealand, with the biggest betting outright now available as 4/7 at sky bet and betfred (the bigger Youwin price mentioned Wednesday has been gobbled up and is now in to 1/2!). This is definitely one for the heavy hitters of rugby betting. With New Zealand being the form team, you can see why the price came in, but we’re taking more of South Africa who have drifted out to 4/1 with Ladbrokes,( with the price drifting due to their need to balance the heavy money they’ve probably taken on New Zealand).

All of our reasons for backing South Africa still stand below, with the form of the Sharks proving extra motivation; how can South Africa NOT emulate their style of play in the Super rugby playoffs? And even if they don’t, South Africa will still have some of the most in form Super rugby players re-invigorating the side. In the Super 15 run-in, even Steyn’s kicking and running game improved from the June tests, and the South African fixtures still look golden. The 4/1 at Ladbrokes is massive value in our eyes.*** Wednesday, Aug 15

New Zealand- Pre-rugby championship betting- current world rank- 1

Since the inception of the Rugby Championship (tri-nations) in 1996, New Zealand have won the competition ten times, with their most recent win in 2010. Last year they lost away to Australia and South Africa, and this cost them the championship. Some said they had their eye on the world cup a few months later, but Australia were good value for the win. This year they are the current world cup champions and come into this game after a three game whitewash of Ireland. They look unstoppable but there are different factors that need exploring before we all jump on the bandwagon. We’ve said it before here on dropkickrugby, and we’ll say it again- they are perhaps fortunate World Champions after the worst refereeing performance in recent memory by Craig Joubert in the World Cup final, when he ignored countless penalties that the French should have been awarded. And while the series rout of Ireland was comprehensive, there will always be the question of ‘what-if?’ over Nigel Owens’ failure in the second test to award the dominant Irish scrum a penalty in the kiwi 22 with five minutes to go.

Ireland showed up to the first test but were hammered 42-10. New Zealand unearthed a new and terrifying weapon of mass destruction in Savea, who ran in a hat-trick on his international debut. There wasn’t much international intelligence available on the debutant for the Irish war room, and he simply blew the Irish away with some fantastic attack finishing. (In case you’re wondering, Yes, I intend to squeeze the life out of the WMD metaphor).Ireland were comprehensively bossed all over the field, and once the first try went in, you could see Irish heads drop and it was damage limitation time. They were on the end of a long season, and this was the last thing they needed. Any forecasted rustiness from New Zealand before the rugby championship quickly flaked away and it was business as usual for the All Blacks.

Then came the second test, and things changed. It rained, and Ireland were determined not to be humiliated again. Ireland got the first score, and but for some silly penalties, should have gone into the break more than one point up. The second half came and suddenly no one in New Zealand was laughing. Ireland won the collisions, they played excellent territory, and they drove their man back time and again. This was the last hurrah of a brave green platoon at the end of almost a year long campaign. The fact is they should have at least got the draw if not won the game. They silenced New Zealand, the WMD Savea was nowhere to be found, even Carter was missing kicks. Form-wise, New Zealand showed that they are certainly not invincible. However that last minute drop-goal that won it was worth 40 points psychologically for the following week.

Ireland 60- New Zealand 0. The points conceded stat (gotcha..) from the third and final test was a stark one, Ireland were simply humiliated. As mentioned, the agonising loss from the previous week was too much for Ireland to take, and after a seriously long season, they were a spent lot. Still, it takes a serious team to put 60 unanswered points on a good and talented Irish side, and that’s what New Zealand did. Looking at the score, you’d think there was a limited amount to learn from this result, but we wouldn’t say that was the case. New Zealand showed they have viable backup for the rugby championship in Cruden and the likes of Same Cane. They’re also the most physically fit out of the big three teams it seems, and are in fantastic form coming into this rugby championship.

Key Points

  1. Ireland are not a bad side, despite the recent results. They had the beating of Wales in the Six nations, and drew away to France with a lot of injuries. They have the bulk of the Heineken cup final teams in their team, and that is no easy competition to win. The point here is that New Zealand didn’t steamroller a bunch of no-hopers. They steamrollered a team full of Cup winning players, some at the top of their form, that know how to win, and how to close out games. Sure they were at the end of a large enough injury list, but that takes nothing away from the clinical two hammerings, and the plucky win snatched at the death of the second test.
  2. Cruden certainly seems to be able to back Carter up should he get injured, and he likely will for one or two games. Currently at time of writing he is carrying a hamstring injury, and with more games to go in the super-rugby season, he will likely be used sparingly. There is backup available then in Cruden and Beauden-Barritt for the rugby championship, which is an important consideration for any outright punt.
  3. Had Ireland not come so close to winning in the second test, New Zealand would have been the worse for it at the end of this series. That extreme proximity to defeat will have reminded the Kiwis that nothing can be taken for granted, and that can only be a good thing if you’re backing them for the rugby championship.

Early Picks

New Zealand undoubtedly come into the rugby championship off the back of the best form of all the four teams participating. You have to go back to last year’s rugby championship for their last two defeats, which were two on the bounce away to South Africa on the 21st August and then Australia a week later. This year, their last two games are away to Argentina and finally South Africa. They should have learned from last year. As in the case of the other teams, there are only outright tournament bets available on the rugby championship at the time of writing, and the biggest price available is 4/6 in Skybet.

We’re normally a value seeker when it comes to rugby betting, but it’s hard to argue with this price. They come into the tournament with the best form, and are the current World Champions. We wouldn’t put anyone off backing the All Blacks to win the rugby Championship, and if they beat Australia in their first game at home (and they should), this price will come in and shorten a bit. If they have a fully fit squad after the Super XV, the price will probably come in. They are simply the best team around these days on paper in the lead up to this tournament, and the bookies probably have this one about right. But it’s most definitely one for the medium to heavy hitters at that price for a good sized return at 4/6. We wouldn’t put anyone off a bet on them with the form they’re in.

If you’re looking at a medium to large sized bet for the tournament, go to skybet for the best price available at 4/6

South Africa – Pre-rugby championship- current world rank – 3

The Springboks come into the rugby championship after something of a mixed year, but they’re our outstanding early value punt for the rugby championship title. Mr Tarrant above has just snatched that All Black 4/6 cheque out of our hands, because he doesn’t want to give us that, he wants to give us a little bit more (we think!)…

South Africa should have beaten Australia in the Quarter final of the rugby world cup, but it just didn’t happen for them as Pocock almost single handedly turned them over. You’d imagine they still rue that game to this day as one that got away. They looked to be doing just enough and ticking along nicely, as they were in 2007, when the Aussie disaster struck. Moving to the summer, and they came out of the traps all guns blazing, and went out on a damp squib. Consistency is proving to be a bit of an issue for South African rugby the past few years, and they haven’t won the tri-nations since 2009, the year they beat New Zealand away.

South Africa won the first two June tests against England in comfortable enough fashion, despite England putting up a spirited fight. England finished the Six Nations on a high against an Irish team they have hardly beaten over the past ten years, so came into the series with lots of form, and new and exciting players. The first test final score margin of five points to South Africa was a bit misleading after South Africa dominated England after the break, but credit to England for holding back the tide and finishing with a last minute try. South Africa had 80 minutes of world class excellence this series, but it spanned two games; the second half of the first game, and the first half of the second game! They were simply awesome and I doubt any team could have lived with them, including New Zealand. The second test intensity couldn’t last however, and we were quite disappointed as we had a small nibble of the -26 at 6/1 that was on offer. After the break, the game was effectively won, and South Africa took their foot off the gas and England made their way back into the game. It made sense however, as there was one more test to play.

The third test was, as mentioned above, a damp squib. With the series won, and the likes of the excellent Alberts and Steyn missing, South Africa never hit fever pitch in the rain and wind. The 14-14 draw which resulted was due to missed kicks, and a frustrating lack of decision making at the death when they had about four opportunities for a drop goal that they ignored. The drops in intensity from South Africa can be attributed to a couple of factors. England are a good side, and were a whisker away from winning the Six Nations themselves. Practicality also had to reign at some point; with the rugby championship around the corner, and the business end of the Super XV season upon them, it would have made little conservative sense for the Springboks to go chasing huge winning margins. They got the wins, they kept ticking over, and they look primed. With a series victory under their belt against a good English side, South Africa look like a real value dark horse bet coming into this rugby championship. They have the power, they have the scrum, they have the lineout, and they have the players. Very importantly too, they have the fixtures.

Key Points

  1. There is a worry about Morne Steyn at ten, having kicked a paltry 50% of his kicks over the entire series (12 from 24). It’s a stat that is being bandied about a lot, but isn’t something to be overly concerned about. Sure it cost us losing handicap bets in possibly all three tests, but we won’t hold it against you Morne! Just get it sorted! He has attacked the line far better this season, and he has proved his abilities in the past and should be able to regain that form. He’s the best option for now anyway, so as long as he gets his form back in the league, there should be no problems
  2. The injury profile of South Africa is such that, the likelihood is there’ll be a few significant returnees. The likes of Bekker, Lambie, and Vermeulen should all come back into the mix for the rugby championship. At the time of writing, Schalk Burger has been put back from making a return to Super rugby, and the fewer games he plays for the next few weeks – the better for us. So, despite winning the series against England, there is healthy competition for places, and Brussow will also be staking a claim after being (surprisingly) left out of the June series. From another angle though, perhaps Heyneke Meyer knows what he gets with Brussow, and didn’t need to see him anymore here in June. We would be quite surprised though if he doesn’t make the rugby championship squad at least, if not the team
  3. Despite the Kiwi Whitewash of Ireland, the intensity South Africa showed in the aforementioned 80 minutes was unparalleled in the entire June series in our opinion, and we seen every game (the only game we missed was Fji and Tonga bashing each other around the place after one beer too many early one Saturday morning). If South Africa can keep this intensity up for the majority of their games, they have an excellent chance of winning this rugby championship
  4. Rugby Championship 2012 Fixtures are firmly on the side of South Africa and they have a very real advantage in the way the fixtures fall. Their opening two fixtures home and away will be against an Argentinian starting side that hasn’t played an international test together in almost a year (remember, almost all of the first team missed the June tests and were rested). Argentina will likely take some time to gel, and the advantage is most definitely with South Africa relative to Australia and New Zealand in this regard. But they will win a few games in this championship, it’s just that, on the balance of probabilities it likely won’t be these first two against South Africa. The final South African game is at home to New Zealand, and that could well be the rugby championship decider. The advantage is obviously with the home team in this case, and should the rugby championship go down to the wire between our two favourites (South Africa and New Zealand), the advantage, again, is with South Africa.

Early Pick

We highlighted in our Argentina rugby championship preview that Argentina are well worth a punt at 100/1, and they certainly are, especially when you consider you’re getting ten quid absolutely free from skybet. For an interest bet with a far better than 100/1 chance of winning, you could do so much worse. This is especially for rugby starved neutrals in the Northern Hemisphere looking for a couple of fun interest bets, and it’s a no brainer to have someone to cheer on in the plucky Argies for a small free bet.

But if you’re having a real punt with a viable risk/return profile, for us, South Africa are the value pick at 7/2, and the price will likely come in a bit as they balance their books on big punts on New Zealand. New Zealand are not invincible, especially with inclement weather, and if it rains (it’s winter down there you know!), South African power will count against the smaller All Blacks. South Africa are only available at a bigger price at bwin at 4/1, but the 200 quid Free bet bonus from Bet365 should take it for you, making it a risk free bet for any new account openers.

**Updates on new value markets for the rugby championship will appear at the top of this post as they appear in the run up to the rugby championship**

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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