**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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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**