Category Archives: Rugby Championship 2012

Rugby Championship Betting – Dead Rubber Danger

Rugby Championship Betting 2012 preview – Final Round Dead rubbers

South Africa v New Zealand Betting preview – 1600 GMT, Sky sports. New Zealand -5 evs in sportingbet, South Africa +6 Stanjames 10/11

Okelly dokelly. Let’s start with New Zealand on our last Rugby Championship betting preview of the year.

They’re unbeaten in 15 games and are chasing the longest unbeaten international rugby run in history (as Cobus Visage pointed out this week- McCaw will be desperate to get this before he takes a break from the game), and consequently an unbeaten run in the first ever rugby championship tournament. They’re unbeaten in this tournament of course, and the closest anyone has come to them in losing was Australia, in australia, by 8 points. Last week they beat Argentina away from home by the biggest margin of the tournament, 39 points. They have Dan Carter back (he was missing when they played South Africa at home) and they have no injuries. They have a 95 points for/against difference in the tournament versus South Africa’s 27. They have no pressure on them now that the Championship is won. All we have to decide on is their mental state- hence the title credits.

Meanwhile, back on the highveld…South Africa got rid of Morne Steyn, brought in some youth, and then beat a very weakened Australian side by 23 points, leaving behind quite a few kicking points a fair few tryscoring opportunities. They’re at altitude which should favour them, and have won three from the last four at home against New Zealand. They have a new young quality fly-half who will probably be there for a long time, and there’s a more youthful overall look to the side. And lastly, (not to overlook it) they’re at home. But i’m finiding it hard to find much else in their favour.

Looking at last week’s win at home to Australia, the defence wasn’t stretched and they missed alot of chances and kicks. That was the weakest Wallaby side we’d ever seen, and if not for the late yellow card for shenanigans, they would have beaten Australia by a fair bit less. New Zealand will take the high ball up-and-under tactics they tend to revert to on static ball and eat them alive with a backline that will thrive on any possession, let alone possession running from deep against a defence that is slow to set. Hosea Gear doesn’t weaken things, and has been excellent since the second half of the Super rugby season and you’d do worse than to punt on him for first/anytime tryscorer.

Goosen is a talent for the future but he’s 20 years old and up against Carter in the dry. Pienaar will be the man to take care of him on paper and he’s talking about making the number nine jersey his own. But he could have problems tomorrow- the last time he played against a team like New Zealand his side were hammered and he lost the head a bit, ( not that you could blame him) to Leinster in the Heineken cup final. That day he had a young 19/20 year old inside him in Paddy Jackson and there was just far too much on Pienaar’s shoulders. Ulster had to play running rugby that day and it didn’t happen, just like South Africa are talking about doing it this week…. and just like Argentina did last week – we know where that got them.

It’s hard to find any solid reasons to back South Africa. Initial prices were slight value at 11/4 but they quickly disappeared and the 2/1 available now isn’t big enough. They’ve talked this week about playing running rugby but their best chance is to try to keep it tight and frustrate New Zealand. Even the altitude factor isn’t one to get excited about as New Zealand have a higher average points up there in recent years than South Africa.

So, if you’re a stats/history/form man, you can’t help heavily coming down on the side of New Zealand on the -5. Essentially, we have to ask ourselves the following question to confirm that as a decent betting pick;

Will New Zealand be arsed?

After much deliberations and scoops of ale, our answer is – Yes. They will.

New Zealand is best -5 at evens in Sportingbet and it will likely drift a little before Saturday afternoon. You couldn’t touch the winning margins as we know South Africa and bonus points don’t matter now.

Tryscorer anytime punts are a plenty but we’re focusing on one; Hosea Gear is on the left wing and will want to show he’s still a part of this team. He has been on great form and he’ll be there to finish off any All Black moves on the wing and in close, just like Savea last week. He’s 2/1 across the board for anytime try, including skybet, where you can get a free no deposit tenner bet by clicking here

One other angle is ‘will one team win both halves’. If you don’t like the New Zealand handicap, this quite a big 11/10 in bet365. If South Africa somehow kick ahead by half time, New Zealand may find it hard to motivate themselves more than South Africa in front of their home fans. Conversely, if New Zealand get ahead it’s hard to see any way back for South Africa – despite this the biggest you can get New Zealand to be winning at half time at is 8/13. So there’s value there, and you’re covered if South Africa manage to win both halves.

Head over and join our rugby betting forum to get yourself heard and point out your bets we may have missed. Also don’t forget you get a free bet by clicking on any of the bookmaker links on this page.

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Rugby Championship Betting 2012 preview – Argentina v Australia, 2210 GMT

Sorry but this is a total coinflip, and we’re not going to boother you by writing about WHY we can’t make our mind up.

If you want a bet for interest, try half time argentina, full time Australia at very biggest 7/1 in ladbrokes; Argentina have started fast in most of their games, and Australia have been pulling games from the fire in the second half since June, and they wont want to be the first to lose in the tournament to the Argies.

Aussie pride at stake, value bet we make. That rhymes Marge and you know it does.

Goood luck

Argentina v New Zealand Rugby Betting preview

Argentina v New Zealand rugby betting preview – rugby championship, Argentina +14 skybet, New Zealand -2 williamhill

This is the penultimate game of the tournament for New Zealand and it’s been a long season. They’ve been by far the best team on the planet and they only have one more hurdle to jump before securing the inaugural rugby championship title; if they beat Argentina here by any score, then South Africa can’t catch them in the table.

For any of you adventurous sorts that are thinking about a punt on Argentina to win this game at 15/2, we would have you cast your eye at the 22/1 on South Africa to win the championship outright in Betdaq. If you’re backing the Argies here, then look at putting some cash on that because if they win, South Africa will have the World Champions at home in the last game where a bonus point win would allow them to mug the all blacks on the finish line. The 22/1 would be slashed for sure.

All things considered though, we think New Zealand will want to simply ensure the victory so they don’t have to get too worked up for the next game in South Africa. On the basis that they only beat South Africa by 11 at home and the fact Argentina will be massively up for this, (and that New Zeland only need any kind of win) – the handicap looks a risk too far and Argentina +14 in skybet is far more attractive. Both sides are close to full strength and it’ll more than likely be pretty attritional

We’re taking a small bit of that +14, but our main bet is New Zealand to win by 1-12 points at 2/1 in stanjames(8/5 and 6/4 elsewhere). It’s hard to see them scoring rake loads of tries against a fantastic Argie defence at home, and there’s a bit of rain knocking about aswell which will suit Argentina.

Rugby Betting Preview South Africa v Australia

Rugby Betting preview – Rugby Championship South Africa v Australia, 4pm GMT Saturday 29 September

Rugby Betting Preview – This game is at altitude, Australia are crippled with injuries, and South Africa are on the end of a seven game losing streak to Australia – something’s got to give here. South Africa have never lost to Australia at loftus stadium since 1933, and the points stats are are – Played 5; Won 5; Points for 161; Points against 87; Tries for 17; Tries against 9; Average score 32-17. Right then!

South Africa come into this game with two losses in the bag after two games that they should really have come much closer to winning. Against Australia they fell apart in the last 20 as has been common in most of their games this season. Against the All Blacks they again waned when it really mattered, and let a game slip away from them that they really should have been contesting right up to the final whistle. So what does this week hold then? We’re not a massive fan of stats to indicate future results and relying to much on them is just lazy when it comes to rugby betting – there’s far too much else that matters that stats don’t tell you. However it’s hard to marginalise the above Springbok stats at Loftus against the Wallabies, and this weekend it’s a weakened Wallabies team without Genia, Cooper, Horwill, O’Conner, Timani, Mitchell, Pocock, Kepu, Palu etc.

Meanwhile the Springboks have finally taken Morne Steyn out for a man who could be in the South African ten spot for a long time in Goosen. Goosen’s passing is better than Steyn’s and he looks for holes before kicking away possession, and Pienaar at nine should take much of the of kicking pressure off him. The Springbok pack is also very big while not sacrificing mobility, and Hougaard is well capable on the wing despite being familiar to many as a scrumhalf; there could be decent odds on anytime tryscorer for him if the bookies aren’t wide to his abilities.

So in our opinion this Wallaby ship is sailing into a perfect storm here. They have major Injuries that would hugely impact any international team and the Springboks are coming off a seven game losing losing streak hungry for revenge. There’s optimism in the Springbok camp with a nice injection of youth, and there’s also the altitude factor to consider. We’re backing South Africa here to end the losing streak and beat the handicap.

Our betting pick here is Springboks at very best -5 in Stan James at 10/11. Most bookmakers are offering -7, and some, (like bet365), are giving the -7 at 5/6 and 4/5 – indicating that they’re expecting it to go out even further. It’s with a fair degree of certainty that we say the -5 will not last long. With all of the above it’s tempting to speculate on a hammering and go for big odds on a big handicap. But while this may be the logical conclusion of the ‘perfect storm’ mentioned above, England during the summer reminds us that South Africa have a tendency to ease off, especially if they’re well ahead.

Dont forget to head over and join our Rugby betting forum for additional picks and discussion.

www.stanjames.com

Rugby betting Championship teams;
South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Frans Steyn/Jaco Taute, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Elton Jantjies, 21 Jaco Taute/Juan de Jongh, 22 Pat Lambie.

Australia- TBA

Argentina v South Africa Betting Preview

Rugby Championship Argentina v South Africa Betting Preview, 20:10 GMT Sat Aug 25th 2012

Rugby Championship in Mendoza – With the Handicap hovering around -8 for South Africa, this is the tougher of the two games this weekend to predict for alot of reasons. Will South Africa go after the bonus point they know they need because they know New Zealand will likely get one at home to Argentina? Will they be happy with just the win? Will Argentina live up to their historical home passion of the past ten years and get a good result? Will they miss Hernandez? Let’s start with the rugby championship tournament table and that bonus point that went missing.

South Africa screwed up last week by not getting the bonus point at home to Argentina, the whipping boys of the rugby championship in many people’s eyes. They had about a quarter of the game for someone to grab the bull by the horns and push for it, but it seemed like they only copped on with 2 minutes to go. The coaches probably could have helped too by getting off their arses and conveying some urgency. That New Zealand will get a four try bonus point at home to Argentina is as near to a certainty as you can probably get in this tournament. So what is the mentality of South Africa this week? We can only guess, but at the very least we know they will have dissected last weeks win, and be fully familiar with the point they left behind. They’re now effectively a point behind New Zealand due to the likely future NZ v Arg result. The best way to make up for this is to go after a bonus this weekend and hope New Zealand don’t get one when they visit Argentina later in the tournament. This is eminently possible; Argentina will have more games under their belt by then; there could be more NZ injuries; there’ll be no SBW and maybe still no Conrad Smith; and they owe the All Blacks a serious hell-for-leather game after the world cup beating. This is all speculation of course. But let’s assume that South Africa are going to go after the bonus point this week. With good weather forecast, they should get it if they try hard enough.

There’s two changes to South Africa’s team, with Poitgeter coming in to lend some bulk, (probably in reaction to the massive ground the Argentinian maul made last week) and Strauss (who had an excellent game last week) replacing the now long-term injured Du Plessis. Daniel drops to the bench after a very quiet and statistically insignificant game in the shadows last week, with the excellent Willem Alberts moving to eight. Argentina have lost Hernandez and it’s a big blow- he bailed them out of trouble a few times last week with some scintillating touchfinders, and he’s one of their few top class players. He’ll be replaced by Rodriguez (team not announced yet) or maybe even Mieres from Exeter. The one man they need however, is Contepomi. However he’s unfortunately contracted to stay with Stade Francais for the TOP14 having lead Argentina through the June internationals. If his experience was brought back in to lead Argentina, i’d probably swerve the handicap completely on this game, as anything could happen. That’s not going to happen though, and with Hernandez gone you’ll struggle to find any real leaders in this Pumas team.

There’s also the altitude factor. This game is being played in Mendoza in 760 metres altitude, (McBain will NOT be happy!!) and as mentioned here during the week, this seems like a scheduling cock-up by someone in the ARU. They could surely have pencilled in New Zealand or Australia for a game here, instead of the Altitude kings South Africa? Baffling stuff. Major advantage to South Africa.

Rugby Championship Argentina v SouthAfrica main bet:

If the Argentina of five years ago were playing this game, i’d have my rent money on the Argentina +9 available in bet365 (moved from +8 as predicted). But this is a different side, and the bookies are basing their handicap on days gone by I feel. Argentina will try their heart out, but this South Africa team came out firing on all cylinders after the warm up against England, and i’m expecting more of the same here. The altitude won’t help Argentina at the start or the finish of this game either. It’ll be great for the rugby championship if Argentina pull off a shock, but not for our wallets, as we’re backing South Africa -8 at evens in Stanjames (-9 everywhere else bar a few still at -8 but less than evens).

Tryscorer rugby championship bet

– Paddypower are giving money back on 1st and last tryscorers if a number 11 scores the first try ( Mvovo for South Africa, Arg. team not out yet). We like the look of Willem Alberts who scored first v england in June, and will be breaking off the back of a dominant scrum on Saturday evening from the number 8 position. He’s 16/1 in paddypower. If you fancy a bigger price, and don’t mind losing the bit of number 11 insurance, you can get him biggest in Sportingbet at 22/1

margin bets

– South Africa to win by 11-20 points is 13/5 biggest in Paddypower. If you want something bigger than evens for the -8 for less money but more risk/reward, then this could be your bet. As above, we expect South Africa to beat the handicap, but beating Argentina by more than 20 at home is pretty unlikely. If they get four tries it will be foot-off-the-gas time. If they’re still looking for them they should be very close to this margin come full time.

Other possible bets;

If you think Argentina will come out like corned animals in their own back-yard, and then fade with the altitude in the second half, then the 7/1 in Sportingbet for halftime/full time appeals (as low as 5/1 in ladbrokes)

Best of luck!

Rugby Championship, New Zealand v Australia

Rugby Championship week two New Zealand v Australia, 8:35 am GMT, 25th August 2012

Rugby Championship week two sees a fair few changes for the Wallabies. Quade Cooper step back into the fray at ten having been omitted from the squad last week. Barnes moves out to 12. Pocock is gone. Polota-Nau is gone (despite being named in the starting side, he’ll be lucky to make the bench), and Beale has been dropped with Ashley Cooper coming into full back. In contrast, New Zealand only make one change, with Woodcock losing out to injury and replaced by experienced Crusaders man Crockett.

So, what have Australia got this week? Not much unfortunately. Many of us grew up watching Australian rugby with relish as kids, and I personally have always loved watching them create. I fear for them this weekend though. Let’s look back to last week. The All blacks threw away two walk-in tries towards the finish that could have left the winning margin over 20 away from home. Referee Alain Roland, though correct in most of his decisions, gave us a stop-start game, and didn’t let much flow develop at all. The kiwi’s have even said during the week that the lack of physicality was surprising. Moving onto this week and Australia have lost their fetcher and one of their truly world class players in Pocock. They’ve brought in Cooper to ten after a fairly hefty break. He and Barnes will switch around at 10 and 12 but that never worked out too brilliant back at the Reds before Barnes moved off to the Waratahs. And they’ve left Kurtley Beale out, which is a major mistake from where we’re sitting. Beale had a stinker last week granted, but he came into it towards the end of the game. He had been missing for so long to injury; it was to be expected he would be rusty. Beale is Australia’s wildcard – the guy who can beat anyone, and create something from nothing, and they should have kept him in there and shown some faith. Ashley-Cooper will do a solid job, but he won’t bring the magic that Beale can bring, and that will be needed for an upset this weekend.

As we said in this week’s rugby championship review, the all-blacks didn’t look invincible in last weeks game. But they never really got out of third and fourth gear either, and were undoubtedly rusty after the break. The scrums and lineouts were even, but New Zealand look to have the slight advantage there on paper this week with Australian absentees, plus they are at home with no rain forecast and little wind. Oh, and Nigel Owens is refereeing….Which leads us nicely into the next paragraph!

Thinking back to June, when Ireland were hockeyed here at the end of a long season (just after they almost beat the all blacks), it’s reasonable enough to assume that the Irish side that togged out that day would have run this Saturday’s Australian side close if not beaten them. There are obviously a ton of differences, but a notable one is that this week there’s bonus points on the line, whereas that night there wasn’t. Yet they still stuck 60 points on them.

The bet for this game depends on whether you think the pressure of a bonus point will play on New Zealand, or whether it’ll spur them on to dominate a depleted Australian side on a downslope. Unfortunately for Australia, it will likely be the latter. We’re grasping for positive reasons to maybe back them but just can’t find too may to justify putting cash on them

Main Rugby Championship bet:

New Zealand are best -13 10/11 only in skybet (-14 and -15 everywhere else). The bookies seem to be basing their handicaps on last year’s result in the same fixture- 30-14 to New Zealand. However, we would have thought that with Australian injuries, the handicap would have been just the other side of the 16 point margin from last year, not the near side. I’d bet my granny the -13 will be gone by Saturday morning.

Small money Tryscorer punt for interest

– Paddy power are again giving a money back special on all first/last/first team tryscorer bets if a number 11 scores the first try of the game for either team. So that’s Hosea Gear ( one of last week’s livelier players) or the man in the drought- Digby Ioane. Before we break out the reverse psychology- Hosea gear is 15/2 for first try, so that’s rubbished anyway- it’s far too short for first tryscorer odds.
We were looking at Money Bill Williams though and there’s a decent case here. This is his last game in the rugby championship this year, and he’ll want to sign off with a bang. He scored the last try in his last game for the Chiefs in the Super 15 final, and you could see them setting him up here too. He’s 11/1 for first and last try. We’re leaning towards last try at 11/1 in paddypower. The biggest price you can get is 12/1 in stanjames and skybet, but you don’t get the added money back special insurance there.

Ladbrokes alternative caps up, and looking tempting. The -26 is 5/1, and -29 is 7/1. The equivalent in paddy power is 10/3 for -30! Don’t forget New Zealand will want a bonus point, so they’ll get close (and very likely pass) this number on their own scoring; it just depends how much Australia score.
If New Zealand are in the mood, Australia’s injuries could leave this one wide open for a hiding. If you want a bit more risk/reward- -26 alternative handicap number 5 is 5/1 in Ladbrokes

Rugby Championship South Africa v Argentina

Rugby Championship South Africa v Argentina, 4pm GMT Saturday 18 August

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

As already mentioned we’re firmly on South Africa at biggest price 4/1 in ladbrokes for rugby Championship title, and looking at this fixture is yet another reminder of why we’re on them. Argentina haven’t had a full competitive international rugby game for their front liners since the world cup. The games in summer were firmly by the second team, and you can ignore both the win and loss against France. The win was lucky with a last minute breakaway, and the loss was against the world cup finalists France playing a full side, and taking a bunch of tired kids to the cleaners. Argentina had a friendly last week where they beat Stade Francais 31-17, having lost at home 25-21 with another weakened side. So they have had some game-time in preparation for this game, but not exactly the same standard they’ll face this weekend.

An interesting point to note from the win over Stade Francais was the loss of quality Montpellier hooker Augustin Creevy, who is one of their better players. Creevy went off in the second minute, to be replaced by Eusebio Guiñazu who is now starting on Saturday against South Africa. The thing is, Guiñazu is with Toulouse currently but used to play for the Stormers in South Africa. Not that this will be a huge factor in the game, but he’ll no doubt be useful. His interpretation of Afrikaans in South Africa’s lineout calls, and other bits and pieces around the park will might make a difference. If Argentina are to have any chance of winning this game and rugby championship, this kind of insight could prove crucial from the Argentinian lineout thrower.

Looking at both sides (listed at the bottom of the page), South Africa look confirmed the stronger side, though they’re missing one of the Super 15 stars JP Pietersen, and Spies in the backrow. Habana is moved to the right wing , and lighting fast speedster Mvovo comes in on the left wing. It’s a solid enough looking side, and one that should win this game taking into account the preparation they’ve had together (June tests, Super 15 playoffs etc). Contrast this with the Argentinian foreign diaspora’s situation of not playing together internationally since last year. They’ve got class right through the side too, and with so much on the line and this being a must win for South Africa, the only question here for us is how much South Africa will win by.

Argentina have a good side overall, a decent backline and decent pack. Habana will have his hands full with Agulla at 11 who is all class, and few people can understand how Leicester rugby let him go to Bath at the end of last season. If Hernandez has a decent game at ten, along with Amorosino at 15, then a bit of magic may help Argentina to an unlikely victory. But these last two will be under pressure to take chances to make things happen, and that could fall right into the hands of South Africa. You have to worry about the strength in depth of Argentina too. There’s not much on the bench for them, and while they’ll give a good account of themselves in the scrums and lineout (Carrizza and Albacete are quality), they could fade away second half. This of course would be in contrast to South African fading away versus England in the second half.

It’s always difficult for the first game of a tournament to assess tactics, but this will be all about South Africa’s gameplan. In thinking how this game will play out, it would make sense to expect the same opening half intensity that saw them over obliterate England in the summer tests (yes, the first test it all came in the second half, but that was a warm up game for all intents). And if we contrast the England and Argentinian bench, you can see where i’m going with this. South Africa will probably try to come out all guns blazing and assault a rusty Argentinian team, and we may see more of the same in the second half where Argentina won’t have the quality of replacements or game-time that England had under their belts to put respectability on the scoreline.

We’re already heavily on the South African rugby championship tournament win, but there’s a few small bets we’ll be having an interest in.

1. South Africa -13 10/11 in Boylesports- see above for rationale there, it’s -16 in most other places too.
2. Paddy Power are running the same special on this game as they are on the Aussie game- if a forward scores the first try, you get your money back on losing 1st tryscorer bets. Lwazi Mvovo is on the left wing ( always a good spot for tryscorers!), and was a good bet anyway to get the first try- he’s the fastest man on the field, loves an intercept, and there’ll be space there for him on a fine day. The fact you might get a refund if a forward gets the first try, sealed the deal for us.
3. If you want something a bit out there and you do think South Africa will hammer Argentina, then you may see some opportunity in the South Africa -34 at 8/1. I know, it’s a long shot, but bear with us; the weather is fine, these South African players all have rugby under their belts and are fit, and Argentina’s first team look dangerously undercooked, with a weak enough looking bench backing them up. It’s just a thought anyway…you can get the -34 at 8/1 only at ladbrokes, and you can get a free 50 quid bet if you’re not with them already. A little bit more conservative? They have the -31 at 11/2!

best of luck either way!

Rugby Championship weekend 1 teams;

South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 JJ Engelbrecht.

Argentina: 15 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernández, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Juan Martin Fernández Lobbe (captain), 7 Alvaro Galindo, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guiñazu, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Bruno Postiglioni, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Tomás Leonardi, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Martín Landajo, 22 Martín Rodríguez.

Rugby Championship Australia v NewZealand Betting

Rugby Championship Australia v New Zealand Betting 11.05 GMT Saturday 18 August 2012

As you may have already read on Dropkickrugby.com’s rugby championship previews, we’re already invested in South Africa for this years inaugural four nations rugby championship. So we’ll be mostly sitting back and watching the form for the opening weekend after a gruelling Super 15 season, and some Currie Cup rugby in between. However, there’s probably a few quid to be made on the two weekend’s games, and we like betting on rugby, so here’s our thoughts!

As mentioned in our rugby championship outright preview update, Australia have drifted to 6/1 with sportingbet in the betting from an earlier high of 7/2 with skybet, and it seems like a bit too much of a movement. Sure the All blacks are in fantastic form, but at the same time you have to think that the 6/1 will half if Australia manage to beat New Zealand this weekend. That said, despite the three wins over Six nations champions Wales, two of those wins could have gone either way in the end. And the main abiding thought from that series was – New Zealand wouldn’t have blown the amount of chances that Wales did. The last two games that New Zealand have played in Sydney they’ve won by a single point, so looking at the handicap you might get a little uneasy if you had planned on backing New Zealand (-4 available for New Zealand in Stanjames, and +6 available for Australia in paddypower).

On the whole though, this Australian side have alot to prove coming into this rugby championship. The Welsh wins were close and entertaining, but that Welsh team were only six nations champs by the skin of their teeth, and were nothing too special. Kurtley Beale being back (despite very little game time) is one of your main beacons of hope if you’re an Aussie backer along with a settled and complimentary looking backrow. But it’s hard to see any other cause for hope. Add to that the fact that the Aussie teams were awful in the Super 15, and you have to wonder how they can overcome a kiwi team that set new records beating a decent Irish side in the summer, and which is mostly made up of arguably the two best teams in the Super 15 playoffs. New Zeland are definitely the team to beat this rugby championship, but the short outright price, as mentioned, doesn’t appeal at all with South Africa looming.

The Australian team is below at the bottom of the page, with Pat McCabe’s defensive abilities being a big loss. New Zealand’s team isn’t out yet, but there won’t be too many notables except that Kaino won’t make it (Messam will probably start), and SBWilliams will play, probably alongside Nonu, now that Conrad Smith is injured. That’s one seriously intimidating centre partnership for Rob Horne and Fainga’a to be facing.

It’s tempting to look at the 1-12 winning margin for New Zealand here, going on the back of recent results. The biggest you’ll get is 7/4 in ladbrokes and stanjames, with the 13+ margin at 9/4 in both aswell.

Main Bet; Despite the above, our main bet will be the -4 at 10/11 in stanjames. You can get 10/11 at -5 in bet365 if you fancy a bigger free bet. New Zealand just have far too much power in their side here, and really should put Australia away. With the handicap -6 elsewhere, we can’t see the -4 lasting long. If you wan’t a little insurance, then the Kiwi 1-12 might be a decent complimentary punt if you think New Zealand will be rusty and recent results are an indicator

If you fancy a tryscorer bet this weekend, paddypower are refunding all losing 1st tryscorer, last tryscorer, 1st team tryscorer and 1st tryscorer insurebet bets if a forward scores the first try. This is a great offer, and we had to get involved for small stakes- as there’s a great chance of a forward scoring first with all the talent on display.
Sonny Bill Williams is 14/1 in paddypower to get the first try. He might be able to pick up where he left off in the Super 15 final, and he only has two games in this year’s championship before he heads off to Japan. Cracking value for interest, and good chance of a refund; you can’t go wrong.

If you like Australia, then Beale is your man at 16/1. Up there as one of the best players in the world when fit, he could easily cross the whitewash first.

Best of luck.

Australia Rugby Championship weekend 1 team: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Anthony Fainga’a, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Will Genia, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 David Pocock (captain), 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.

Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 James Slipper, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Michael Hooper, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Drew Mitchell

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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Rugby Championship 2012 Betting Preview- Argentina and Australia

***Rugby Championship Odds update- Australia now out to a biggest 6/1 with Sportingbet, from where they were at 7/2. This is quite a big leap, and while we don’t fancy Australia for the win, 6/1 has a sniff of value about it. If they beat New Zealand in the first game this Saturday (importantly, Australia are at home), then that price will probably half to 3/1. Also, if after reading the below you fancy a small punt on Argentina, you can now get them at 125/1 in paddypower. As we say below; favourable fixtures for Argentina mean they shouldn’t be that big…***Wednesday Aug 15th

The Rugby Championship 2012 (formerly tri-nations – now Four Nations) will be the seventeenth annual rugby union series between New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. This tournament will be unique as the first major tournament that Argentina is involved aside from the World cup. In an interesting corporate twist, the rugby championship will be named differently in each country;

  • In South Africa it will be referred to as The Castle Rugby Championship
  • In New Zealand, The Investec Rugby Championship
  • In Australia they’ll call it the Castrol Edge Rugby Championship
  • And in Argentina they’ll call it The Personal Rugby Championship

The 2012 Rugby Championship will kick off on 18 August and will finish on 6 October. Each team will play the other twice on a home and away basis.

Argentina, rugby championship- current world rank – 8

Since going out 33-10 to eventual champions New Zealand in the World cup Quarter final last year, Argentina have played three tests in June 2012. The squad for these three tests was devoid of most of their French based TOP 14 players, and gave an opportunity for many home-based players to put their hands up for selection for the forthcoming rugby championship.

Their first game against Italy saw them comprehensively beat a virtually full strength Italian team 37-22. Only Parisse was missing from the Italian side, and while he is no doubt integral to Italian efforts, his absence wasn’t the reason for this beating. The Argentinians were too much for the Italians – faster, stronger and hungrier. The only thing they were missing was a decent scrum, which the source of most of the Italian points. Also it is important to remember that the only real internationals of experience present were Roncero and Contepomi.

The second games saw them beat world cup finalists France at the death with a score against the run of play, finishing 23-20 with a converted try, (and killing our France -3 on the handicap!). Up to that point they were doing well to stay in touch with a star studded French side chasing ranking points, and in the end they were good value for their win. Remember a good chunk of these lads play their rugby in Argentina, far from the spotlight of European and Super 15 rugby.

In the third game they were comprehensively beaten 49-10 by France, after making 8 changes to give everyone in the squad a run. France were out for revenge here, and after shaking off their international rustiness from the previous week, it was a case of men against fatigued boys. Freddy Michalak was back pulling the strings, with the likes of Mermoz, Huget, and Picamoles tearing a tired inexperienced Argentinian squad asunder.

Argentina began these June internationals by resting over 20 players from the Top 14 and the Aviva premiership in anticipation of the rugby championship. They obviously set out with the goal of blooding what would make up the remainder of the International squad to play the rugby championship, and with two strong performances they must be happy with the wins achieved.

Key Points

There are a couple of important points to consider when sizing up Argentina’s prospects for the rugby championship.

  1. The majority of their internationals to come back will have had almost three months rest for the beginning of this tournament. The likes of Horacio Agulla, Bustos Moyano, Albacete, Lobbe, Ayerza, Fernandez, Creevy, Bosch etc. will all come into this tournament completely refreshed. Contrast that with the other three rugby teams and there’s one glaring fact that stands out – the Super 15 season finishes on August 4th, 2 weeks before the Rugby Championship starts. Almost every player for all three Southern Hemisphere teams (except a few injury returnees) will be at the end of a bruising season, with three testing internationals in June. You could look at this and say that they will be match fit, or you could look at it and say there will be more injuries, quite possibly to key players. And I’m sure Argentina will organise some game time to get the boys up to speed locally before coming out. The overall fatigue profile of all four teams is a big consideration going into this rugby championship.
  2. World cup winning coach Graham Henry has been drafted in as adviser to the Argentinian management in the lead up to the rugby championship. He will be a huge source of valid information, preparation ideals, and ways to approach home and away games. He was likely behind the decision to play are largely inexperienced team in the June tests.
  3. On the showing of the June Internationals, there’s a decent chance they can put away both South Africa and Australia at home, and quite possibly one of them away. South African fitness was awful in all three tests against England in the second half of all three June games. And there’s questions about whether the off-form Morne Steyn will be removed (he probably should be, but won’t be). Argentina play South Africa away first, and with a win first up, who knows how things can go for them. They can also realistically test an Australian side that scraped home in two of three games against a Welsh team that was nothing special.

Early Picks

For the moment there are only tournament win markets available, but I’ll update as soon as anything else starts to appear.

For now, Argentina to win the tournament is 100/1 in betfred and skybet. It is as low as 50/1 elsewhere. This is simply FAR too big for a few reasons. Argentina can beat South Africa and Australia on their day, even slightly off their day. Argentina also held New Zealand to a 6 point victory a couple of years back in Argentina. And crucially, South Africa and Australia could always beat New Zealand – they don’t have the same fear as Northern Hemisphere teams do. With the amount of intangibles, possible injuries, and rest Argentina have, this 100/1 is far too big and surely can’t last that long? It’s well worth an interest.

Go to Skybet for a free £10 bet

Go to Betfred free for a £50 bet

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

Australia – Pre-rugby championship- current world rank – 2

In 2011 Australia ended a ten year winless tournament run by winning the last ever tri-nations championship; their first win since 2001. This was off the back of the Reds winning their first ever Super XV championship. This June, they began their four match test series with a shock loss to a touring Scotland side, and followed that with three wins against Six Nations Grand Slam Champions Wales.

The first 9-6 loss to Scotland was Scotland’s first win in the Southern Hemisphere for 30 years. Like the Irish win at the World Cup, the forecast awful weather before the game had many of us thinking this could be Scotland’s day, and so it proved. Despite not getting anything from the referee in the scrum until the final winning penalty, Scotland owned the scrum all game and they were slightly hard done by over the entire 80 minutes. Scotland perhaps also should have win by a little more, with Laidlaw missing kicks, and butchering a try-scoring chance with a simple knock-on when Scotland looked nailed on for a try. Australia lacked incisiveness despite dominating for large periods, and Scotland tackled their hearts out.

But there were mitigating factors for Australia in this loss that should reduce its importance in assessing true Australian form. They had rested a number of players for this game, and they were off the back of a round of Super-Rugby just 2 days previously. This was an epic scheduling failure by the Australian Rugby Union, and one solely motivated by money. They almost set their side up for a completely torrid June series against Wales, but Australia rallied and put the Scottish loss behind them, following it with three wins against the Welsh.

Australia won the first test 27-19. They came out of the traps early and Wales were never able to handle the intensity here. Both sides squandered chances, and Australian intensity let up in the second half and Wales came back into the game. Australia were impressive in this game in their precision (look away try-butcher Rob Horne!), but let Wales back in before putting the game to bed with a late try. Worryingly, despite looking like they had full control of the result, there were a number of occasions when Wales could have undeservedly nicked the lead and sneaked the win.

In the second and third test Australia won narrowly by two and one points respectively. Both games were sealed by penalties at the death, and realistically Australia could have lost either game. In both games they tended to gift Wales turnover ball when they were on the attack inside the Welsh 22, and overall they lacked the precision of the first test. Indeed Wales looked on for a victory in the final game with momentum firmly theirs, going ahead in the 60th minute only for Australia to hit back almost immediately with a sucker-punch try (put your hand up Rob Horne!), to give us a grand finale. In both games it was tough to decide whether Australia were just doing enough, or whether they barely had enough. That said Australia still beat the Six Nations champions with players missing and out of position, so there’s a doggedness and resilience there without a doubt. And they’ll need that against New Zealand first up.

Key Points

  1. Australia came into these tests with quite a few high profile injuries in Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale and James O’Connor, not to mention James Horwill and Rocky Elsom. Horwill is out for the season, and Elsom probably won’t be back, and has been injured repeatedly and off form anyway. Currently O’Connor looks set to miss the first game of the rugby championship, and Beale is a slight doubt. He made a number of errors in his comeback in the final Welsh test, and looked to be really struggling.
  2. If Wales can get Beale and Cooper back and firing on all cylinders, with a fully fit team, they can beat anyone in the rugby championship. You’d imagine Deans will start with Cooper, and he has looked good since coming back from injury. Barnes will feel hard done by if he is left out of the ten spot, after being the main force behind the three test wins against Wales.
  3. Australian attacks frequently broke down against Wales and they’ll have to get that right for the upcoming championship. They frequently found themselves going from the Welsh line to their own line in under ten seconds. They’ll be punished far more severely by the likes of New Zealand. Their scrum also needs work.
  4. Australian depth of quality is probably the lowest of the Four Nations going into this tournament, and if injury were to befall the likes of Pocock or Genia, they’ll have real issues for the upcoming games.

Early Picks

As mentioned, Australia can compete with any team with a fully fit squad. But questions remain whether they will have one. The early price of 7/2 in stanjames and skybet does look quite big in comparison to New Zealand. Australia have New Zealand first game up in Sydney, and if they win that game the price won’t stay at 7/2. If you were one of many who saw this Welsh side as the best in the Northern Hemisphere, then you’d be justified in taking some of this price early. Another thing to remember is the fact that before they won the rugby championship last year, they also lost a game to Samoa with a wakened team. Perhaps the Scotland loss was just what they needed then!

Go to stanjames for a free £10 bet

For now (for us) a watching brief on the price is probably best for Australia as they are the most vulnerable to injuries out of the big three. Watch the top of this page for updates on the rugby championship. We’ll update as important injuries are confirmed cleared up or not at the top of this page.

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

Rugby Championship Betting preview New Zealand and Australia

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