Category Archives: South Africa rugby betting

Heineken cup semi-final betting – Saracens v Toulon

Heineken cup semi-final betting tips – Saracens v Toulon, Sun28April, 3pm SkySports

Heineken cup rugby betting semi final Saracens v toulon rugby betting
-Handicap of Saracens +1, Toulon scratch available

There are a number of macro indicators ahead of this weekend’s Heineken cup semi-final suggesting Toulon should have the edge.

Let’s take a quick look at the last weekend of European rugby, when three Premiership sides met three French sides in the quarter-finals of Europe’s top two competitions. In the Challenge Cup, Stade Francais & Biarritz both sent under full strength sides away to Bath & Gloucester and both convincingly dispatched their Premiership opposition (as predicted in our betting forum at huge odds of 7/2 and 4/1). Bath and Gloucester sent out strong enough sides with a few players rested, & most bookmakers expected them to win handily.

So by that Saturday afternoon we already had a decent relative indication of the current strengths of both leagues – understrength lower table French sides hammering aspirant top-six Premiership sides.

Then Leicester were beaten in Toulon in the Heineken cup Quarter final. Leicester turned up and put their bodies on the line, and for that they deserve commendation. However, George Clancy’s refereeing of the scrum was, as usual, on the side of Leicester (remember the Toulouse game?), and questions have to be asked on how he keeps getting Leicester and England international games (Just as Wayne Barnes has refereed three of Clermont’s major European games in the past three years).

Clancy’s odd interpretation (to put it mildly) of the scrum two weeks ago saw Leicester 12 points to three ahead, until Toulon cranked up the intensity and worked their way back into things to win by six points. True, Leicester were within a score at the death, but had Toulon had a little bit of luck they could easily have run out 20+ point winners even after having to deal with George Clancy’s bizarre Tigers-friendly calls. Near misses from Toulon kept things tight; Botha’s double movement for the disallowed try; Bastauread pushed out in the corner instead of just running straight with only Thompstone to run through; and Tilous-Borde frustratingly missing three Toulon forwards with a pass, when the Leicester line was there begging. Had any of these chances been executed with more composure, Toulon would likely have won far more comfortably.

So what does all this have to do with Sunday’s game between Saracens and Toulon?

Saracens are at the top of a league full of teams that have had no answer to French power this year, and up until last week Toulon were leading the TOP14 (now 1 point behind Clermont). You can see the comparison we’re making here – Toulon are at the top of a vastly stronger league based on this year’s head to heads, and it’s a fair enough bet that the dominance will continue this weekend as the two league leaders collide.

Toulon are mercenaries, pay-cheque collectors, hooering jesses, Guns for hire, etc

Not so in our opinion. Toulon have plenty of obsessive critics as the new money side in French rugby, but the fact is they have frequently shown character in adversity. Take the Quarter final against Leicester – it would have been very easy to lie down and wilt at the coal-face of one of the aristocratic sides of Heineken cup rugby, after going 12-3 behind, along with the referee being against them. But they battled back into it, stuck to their game plan, and overcame significant adversity – they have a real hunger for this competition there’s no doubt about it.

Yet another example was last year’s TOP14 final, when they fought back with an amazing series of phases to almost pip Toulouse at the end with no time remaining – a high pass and a knock on 5 metres out prevented a certain try. These Toulon lads are serious international professionals that want to win this trophy, plain and simple. There will be no stereotypical French away days here.

Statistical league Match-ups (bear in mind there are four more games played now in the TOP14 versus the Premiership -25 v 21)

Tries scored (leagues) – Toulon 63, Saracens 38
Tries scored (Heineken cup Pools) – Toulon 23, Sarries 15
Tries conceded (leagues) – Toulon 30, Saracens 23
Tries conceded (Heineken cup Pools) – Toulon 8, Saracens 6

Some other interesting stats – Toulon have conceded the least amount of yellow cards in the TOP14, so their discipline has been excellent, showing that they work for each other. They have also won more away games than almost every other side in the TOP14, (where away wins are tough to come by), with seven, joint top with Racing metro. In playing 21 games of the 25 so far, Johnny Wilkinson has the top spot for drop goals (7), conversions (42) and penalties (78) for a league-leading total of 339 points. Lastly, Toulon have scored a league-leading 736 points and conceded 435. Saracens have scored 510 and conceded 325.
If it seems like we’re concentrating on the TOP14 here more than the Premiership, it’s for the simple reason that the TOP14 is the stronger competition, and thus has more meaningful numbers (and I don’t have all day here!). (We can blame the fact we have a weaker competition on the salary cap, we can blame it on the greedy/lying club chairmen, the dodgy TMO decisions, the fact the Premiership is an unfair cartel possibly operating against European competition laws, David Rose’s love affair with yellow cards, or Wayne Barnes pulling decisions out of his arse…. – it’s another day’s discussion either way).

Backrow Blue Bloods

If you’re a Saracens fan, you’re hanging onto the defensive potential, where they have fared slightly better statistically in both the Heineken cup pools and the league. However, this is where the news that Will Fraser is out injured will really start to look ominous. Fraser (Man of the match v Ulster in the Quarters) has started 16 and played in 19 of Saracen’s 21 premiership games this year. Saracens don’t have another fit openside (Jacques Burger is back, but he isn’t fit, and he has been missing tackles since returning to the side), and the loss will be felt hard by a side that relies on his turnovers and ground work to relieve pressure.

Toulon’s ball carrying back row have the winning of this game. We’ll probably see a 6, 7, 8 of Lobbe, Armitage, Masoe, (actually turns out Armitage and Joe VN are on the bench, and the backrow is 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Danie Rossouw).(Full teams at base of page) That’s some serious firepower against a likely back row for Sarries of three from Wray, Brown, Joubert, and Kruis & Burger. Solid players, but it’s advantage Toulon with no fit Sarries seven, and the brains of the operation Joubert wearing a face-mask due to a facial injury. Last year the Saracens Wagon wobbled in both competitions due to back row problems and it looks to be happening again here. The overall ball carrying, international experience, and ground-hog ability of that Toulon back row is simply phenomenal in contrast.

Saracens need to keep the ball away from Toulon for as long as possible but I’m not sure they have the quality to do it. Dean Ryan has made the point a number of times in recent months that you need a bit extra to win these sorts of games, and you can’t just rely on on defence at this level, and I agree with him. Yes, Saracens have been scoring tries of late, and their game has come on leaps and bounds from last season, but i’m not convinced yet – mainly due to the caliber of their opposition recently (I actually fancied this game to be high scoring, but i’m not sue that will happen with Rollaind reffing). Saracens are no longer a defensive side that’s for sure, but have they got the attacking weapons to deal with a really top side? I’m yet to be convinced. Where’s the spark in this Sarries side? I just don’t see it compared to Giteau, Armitage, Masoe Smith and even Wilkinson. They’re also conceding tries too and when it comes to the crunch, I’m not sure they have the creativity to change things if the game is going against them.


The Toulon backs have the edge in ability and experience too, with Giteau and Bastauread a potent combination, and creatively alongside Wilkinson and Tilous Borde they have the edge on the conjurers remedial class of Farrell and Barritt. Even Felon Armitage at full back looks to have the edge on Goode, and is in fine form at the minute. David Smith is the equal of Ashton at least, and David Strettle goes missing if it isn’t laid on a plate for him, and he still has passing issues (though he has got better from no passes per game, to a few passes per game in recent months).

The scrums (once refereed properly) should be slightly in favour of Toulon with the international experience they have in Jenkins, Sheridan & Hayman, and the lethal ball carrying ability of Orioli to match the excellent Vunipola (though not so excellent at scrummaging) will tell in the last twenty minutes. The lineout should be Saracens, and this being their main weapon, it needs to function flawlessly against Botha and Kennedy (maybe even Botha and Lobbe) to have any chance of winning this game. Botha has a few titles under his belt though, and should be able to have an impact….so nothing is guaranteed for Saracens in this respect.

Vunipola will be a huge factor in Saracens winning or losing this game. His possible scrummaging weaknesses will be an easy target for the referee. On the other hand his ball carrying (and tryscoring) ability could be key; Saracens have been using him running at full tilt as first receiver off ruck ball in the opposition 22 for about three months, and if Toulon haven’t done their research to watch out for this, they’ll pay the price.

5050 game?

There’s too much in favour of Toulon here for it to be a 5050 game as the bookies are pricing it up, and the loss of Fraser really is as big as it has been made out to be. The key positions all hold so much international experience for Toulon and they have definitely shown against Leicester that they are interested in the Heineken Cup. Wilkinson should direct thing’s ably against Owen Farrell, and when you read that the ground will be half empty with less than 30,000 tickets sold, all of the chips look to be falling in Toulon’s favour. Despite Saracens acknowledged defensive ability, in these kinds of games you expect both sides will be up for it in that respect, and it’s usually the superior attack that comes up trumps.

Heineken cup semi-final betting – Saracens v Toulon, the verdict

We’ve backed Toulon simply to win at 10/11 in Paddypower. Toulon are simply the better side, events are conspiring in their favour, and they’ve shown they want it. Plus, there will be precious few Sarries fans to get the atmosphere pumping by doing that finger thing in the stands. No loudspeaker playing daft music either. In fact, I know a few Saracens fans who will be happy the pathetic loudspeaker is off, so who knows!

Saracens can win this game – they have a good squad and some game breakers, but everything will have to go perfectly for them, particularly for their defence, and i’m willing to bet against that happening. Farrell is wobbly under pressure and he’ll have to control the yips too, as if they don’t kick their goals, they’re doomed.

Further betting thoughts;
Initially I thought this would be high scoring contrary to expectations, but with stop-start-whistle-happy Rolland refereeing and destroying things as a spectacle in his own way, the Under might be the pick. No lines available yet, but I won’t be touching it either way as I’m invested in the Toulon win. The 1-12 winning margin price is terrible too so I wouldn’t touch it – there’s a chance Toulon could win by more, and 6/4 is not worth the risk of a late score or two.

Try scorers
– Very few prices up yet (Only powers) and I will update here when more are available in thee next couple of days. One or two look tasty for now (Vunipola is probably worth a fiver anytime try at 12/1 in Paddypower, especially if you like Saracens contrary to the above – he will be one of their main strike weapons).

Good luck whichever way you go, especially if it’s my way.

free rugby bets dropkick

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick, 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 George Kruis, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Wyles.

Toulon: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Rudi Wulf, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Sébastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Chris Masoe, 7 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Danie Rossouw, 5 Nick Kennedy, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Sebastien Bruno, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Davit Kubriashvili, 19 Joe van Niekerk, 20 Steffon Armitage, 21 Maxime Mermoz, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Jocelino Suta

Scotland v South Africa Rugby Betting

Scotland v South Africa Rugby Betting, South Africa -9 Stanjames, Scotland +11 victorchandler

Nov 17, 230pm GMT, BBC1

I have an odd feeling about this game. Based on last week and recent results you wouldn’t expect South Africa to run up a big score but they might just surprise alot of people this weekend. The game against Ireland was a dire affair and while they were rusty, South Africa were very negative and seemed intent on trying to take out the Irish players rather than just play the game. It gave the impression that South Africa were genuinely worried last week that they might lose. Had Sexton made that penalty just before half time they may indeed have lost – Ireland got cagey with only a 9 point lead though, and the rest is history.

One notable point about last week was Ireland’s inability to score a try (or even get near scoring one), with a very useful looking backline. After any initial minor breaks or go forward by Ireland, South Africa simply smothered any chance of further inroads. There were a couple of occasions where Ireland put some phases together but they were never really going anywhere. I’m comparing the backlines of Ireland and Scotland and I see no step up in class facing South Africa this week. There’s always Tim Visser but will he get the turnovers to score this week? I’m not sure. Plus, if last week is anything to go by, South Africa will probably target him like they did key Irish players last week – we all saw Pietersen’s yellow on Chris Henry (who had been having a great game up to the point he was nearly cut in two), and Johnny Sexton had to take it all game, from knees in the head to late charges off the ball. As Duckysauce said in our forum, Laidlaw will get the same treatment this Saturday and I’m not sure he’ll withstand it as well as Sexton did. The backup on the bench at ten for Scotland is very thin too.

In the forwards it’s also looking slightly bleak for Scotland. The South African pack will have shaken off the rust they had last week, and it’s far bigger than Scotland’s. Geoff Cross starts on the bench, and he was possibly Scotland’s best player last week. The All blacks simply had no answer to him on the burst and he was a huge reason they were able to compete last week in so many facets of the game. He’s on the bench because he’s carrying an injury, and you’d wonder whether he’ll get a run at all – it’s unlikely. Euan Murray starts in the front row and while he has had some great games in the past against South Africa, it will likely be a different story this weekend based on his form of the last two years and you fear for the Scottish scrum in general. To compound matters, gnarly backrow Strockosch (formerly of Gloucester, now part of a resurgent ball-playing Perpignan side) has been pulled as of Friday afternoon due to injury. He’s the man that Thompson semi-head-stamped last week, he’s a black-belt kung-fu master, and he’s well able for the rough stuff. Scotland will miss him, and it definitely weakens their back-row reserves against a powerful South African unit. Indeed the Scottish bench is nothing to write home about in general when you take the above into account. There’s very little impact and that’s a concern for the second half. The South African team is as strong as last week, but has a better front row with Steenkampf coming in. And the bench has plenty of impact – Heinke VDM and Brits coming in the front row on when things loosen up will cause alot of problems for Scotland. In our eyes, starting Steenkampf instead of the others means they intend to milk the scrum to get out in front early.

There’s three avenues that we deliberated over on this game. South Africa -9, South Africa 1-12, and South Africa half time handicaps. The stats in general point to South Africa eeking out a win of less than 12 points, and for them to start well and then to not have a great second half. This is based on the rugby championship in general, Scotland losing tight games to both England and France in the six nations, and on South Africa’s three games against England in June, where despite total dominance in the first half South Africa just weren’t arsed playing in the second.

On balance most of Saturday’s probabilities point to South Africa winning by 1-12 points but it’s a bet i’m not comfortable with as I reckon South Africa could really bludgeon their way even further ahead here. There’s revenge in the air, and like we said last week, it has played a big part in many games recently- look at France for example against Australia.

Main bet – (Medium stakes) Because of the scrum situation and because they won’t want to start off like last week, we’re taking South Africa -5 on the half time handicap at evens in Stanjames. It’s -5 everywhere else at 10/11 and you can get -4.5 in Bet365 at 4/5 if you don’t mind the return reduction for a point more safety. Looking at Scottish replacements there’s a line of thinking that the second half handicap of -5 would be the better pick but South Africa simply ease off in the second half of games, especially if they’re winning. This brings the SA 1-12 into play but you couldn’t count on Scotland reeling them back in again, and they may not get the turnover opportunities they got last week that brought two of their tries. It’s a bit of a minefield trying to figure out South African mentality, but after last week’s poor start, the best bet looks to be to expect a good South African first half as usual, and to not invest at all in an unpredictable second half, in which anything could happen.

Small stakes Tryscorer punt – Schalk Brits should come off the bench in the second half and he’s lethal in space. If things do loosen up (which they should) he’s a decent shot for last tryscorer, and he’s biggest 25/1 in Paddypower. Visser anytime tryscorer is a minor temptation but every single Scottish player has drifted out in price in Paddypower for the anytime tryscorer market so they don’t seem to be expecting any Scottish tries at all. Indeed, under 1.5 Scottish tries is as low as 4/9 in Ladbrokes.

Ireland v South Africa Rugby Betting Preview

Ireland v South Africa Rugby Betting Preview, Nov 10 530pm GMT.
Ireland +5 evens Paddypower, South Africa -4 Bet365

Brian O Driscoll and Paul O’Connell are out this weekend and wins against the Southern Hemisphere teams for Ireland are like hen’s teeth without either or both of them. They’re not the only injuries Ireland have to contend with but there’s perhaps too much being made of Ireland’s injury woes. There’s quality right through the side and they’re at home.

Home advantage for Ireland is important against South Africa. Since 2004 a bet on Ireland with a start of 5 points would never have lost against the Springboks – they’ve only lost once, and that was by two points. Obviously BOD and POC are big losses for the Irish, so we need to examine the starting 15 for further weakness.

Starting at full back is winger Simon Zebo in a position he’s not overly familiar with. It’s fairly obvious he has been picked for his ability in the air and he has been peerless in European and domestic rugby so far this season under the high ball. South Africa will revert to type in this game, especially to target this perceived Irish weakness, and Zebo will see plenty of ball. It’s the obvious play and the Springboks are nothing if not direct. The way we see it though, if Zebo plays to form South Africa will get very litle change from this tactic and you’d wonder about the effectiveness of their plan B with them missing Habana. Zebo’s monster boot could also mean South Africa will be back in their own half far more than they’d like to be.
Keith Earls replaces the injured BOD at outside centre in his preferred position, and with his attacking ability he should get some change against Taute for South Africa who was very poor defensively against the All Blacks recently. Trimble and Bowe are a match for their opposite numbers (particularly Pietersen who has very little rugby recently despite having an excellent Super15 campaign), with Darcy at 12 a slight doubt; but once he’s fit, he shouldn’t have too many problems. Sexton, the likely Lions flyhalf, is more than a match for young Lambie. And despite recent errors of judgement in Europe, Murray at nine has plenty of physicality and is a match for Pienaar, who has ben a bit ropey with his place kicking at times lately.

This is where it gets debatable for Ireland – in the pack; and particularly in the back row. Sean O Brien of course is a big miss as is Ferris. Can the replacements have a similar impact? If the gameplan is right (and it looks to be), then yes. There won’t be as much gainline ball from O’Mahony, Henry and Heaslip but all three are in excellent form in Europe, particularly O’Mahony. Henry is there to disrupt ball and will have a tough test against Francois Luow, but aside from that contest Ireland are not outclassed all that much, especially not in the front row. The South African pack are bigger no doubt, but with dry conditions and 7 very mobile forwards picked, Ireland’s general plan looks to be to run the arse off this South African side. Let’s also not forget that the South African forwards recently had one Megan Fox (50kgs) in weight ‘advantage’ over the Kiwis and we all saw how that went.

There are a few psychological factors that will help Ireland this weekend. First of all , they’re underdogs, which will suit the Irish down to the ground. It’s been blatantly obvious to all and sundry that putting a ‘favourites’ tag on Ireland is like putting a Kryptonite Catsuit on Superman – they start off radiant and fighting but it all gets too much for them and they inevitably wilt. That isn’t the case on Saturday and they should flourish as real underdogs. They have the home record in their favour too of course. And politically at home, the South Africans are under some undue pressure.

In an ideal world, the issue of not enough players of one ethnicity or another being on the team shouldn’t really have much of an effect but it does here and it warrants attention however small. It is an issue bubbling just under the surface in South Africa. It’s a touchy subject for obvious reasons (we have no opinion either way -if it affects our horse we just want to know about it) but it’s a strange one in the background for the players to have to deal with pyschologically – this South African side are damned if they do and damned if they don’t really. If they win, the media speculation and protestations will continue at home; If they lose, they’ll just get louder. All that criticism at home from your own people can’t be helping preparation for any of the South African players this weekend.

Main bet – Ireland are under no pressure here, and with new blood and a team picked to play to a positve gameplan, Ireland should nick what should be a cracking game. Either way, the +5 start is very big. We’ve taken Ireland +5 at evens only in Paddy Power.

We initially thought there was money back on the handicaps if Ireland scored, but it is actually money back from Paddypower on all tryscorer bets if Tommy Bowe scores a try at anytime in the game. We’ll have tryscorer picks up closer to the game.

If you’re not already with Paddy Power you can get 250 in staggered free bets as opposed to the usual 50 by opening an account through our links. Our paddypower review is here if you need further reading

We’ll have a few side bets closer to kick off here and in the forum.

Don’t forget to head over to our Rugby Betting forum to join the discussion and contribute. There’s already plenty of discussion and winning rugby tips. All are welcome and you can choose your own team/country crest.

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

South Africa v England Rugby Betting

Rugby Media Coverage

Sky Sports 1

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

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

Form Guide

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


Rugby Betting Tips

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

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

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

Rugby Media Coverage

Sky Sports 2

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

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

Form Guide

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Rugby Betting Tips

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

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

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

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


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

New Zealand v Ireland,

Australia v Wales,

South Africa v England,

Argentina v Italy,

Toulouse v Toulon

Rugby Betting Review

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

New Zealand v Ireland Result 42-10

Value bets highlighted in preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

Australia v Wales Result 27-19

Value Bets highlighted in Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

South Africa v England Result 22-17

Value Bets Highlighted in Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Toulouse v Toulon Result 18-12

Value bets highlighted in Preview

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

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

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

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

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

Argentina v Italy Result 37-22

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rugby Media Coverage

Sky Sports 2

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

Form Guide

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Betting Tip

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

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

Weather in Durban – decent chance of light rain

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