Category Archives: Wales

Wales v Australia Rugby Betting

Wales v Australia Rugby Betting Preview, Dec 1st 230pm. Australia -2 Bluesquare 10/11, Wales +4 bwin

Dec 1st 230pm, BBC

**Ian Evans in the Welsh second row has been pulled this evening (Friday) from the the Welsh squad. Lou Reed of Cardif replaces him. GOod luck to Lou Reed, but Wales are now down to the bare bones in cover – Ryan Jones looks to be realistically covering the backrow and second row now. Wales are in trouble if any injuries occur, and in in the second half. Preview remains unchanged below**

This has been a truly nightmarish Autumn series for Wales so far. We expected Argentina to do a number on them but it’s safe to say almost everyone was surprised when Samoa beat them two weeks ago. That was the one they really needed to win to stay in the second tier of the world cup group seedings, and a loss to Australia will leave them in tenth, and guaranteed to be in a tough group for the 2015 world cup. So with that in mind, you’d say ‘motivation is with Wales, they have to get it together this week, everything is on the line’. You’d be right to assume that, but if you take your mind beyond reasonable assumption and search for hard evidence, you’ll have a tough time coming up with anything concrete. Plus, Australia have a big motivational boost of their own in addition to finishing second in the world rankings; It’s Nathan Sharpe’s last game in a Wallaby shirt and a resurgent Australia will surely give everything so he can finish on a high.

As George Bush once famously tried to say, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”. We were fooled that Wales could turn it on against Samoa, and we’re wary of being fooled again here based on blind optimism and belief that Wales will get it together finally. They’re down to their fourth or fifth choice tighthead (19 year old on the bench); Williams on the left wing is a full back and was exposed last week at times; Roberts is unlikely to last the first half with the injuries he’s carrying; Priestland is at ten by default; Cuthbert has huge defensive issues; according to Gatland Phillips isn’t fit from being in France; Shingler is inexperienced in the backrow; and Ian Evans is fighting injury in the second row. To top that all off, there’s very little impact on the bench for Wales – and i’d imagine if Biggar was actually fit after the Samoa incident, he would be starting here and not filling out the bench. If Wales win this it will be a big surprise to us, considering the injuries, the losing run, and the lack of confidence that has to be everywhere in the squad. Even the recent wet weather is seemingly against Wales this week – it has been dry throughout and will probably be right up to kickoff when the roof will be closed anyway. A bit of wet weather would have suited Wales during the week to muddy up the Cardiff pitch, for an Australian side notoriously poor in wet conditions. When it rains it pours (or doesn’t, in this case).

Australia are not without their own injury problems, but they welcome back the world class Pocock from injury. He takes the place of Hooper, who many will see as being a little hard done by to not be starting the game after a series of excellent international performances. Kane Douglas comes in for Timani and won’t weaken the side, especially in the loose. And Polota Nau returns after supposed injury against Italy – we don’t buy that though and he was almost definitely rested with this game in mind. This game is one of the rare occasions where you can look at an Australian scrum and expect it to have the better of it’s opposition. This is something Australia rarely have, so you don’t often realise how lethal they are off clean first phase ball. The backs ripped Wales apart on the rare occasions they had it during the summer, and they used it well whenever they had it in the Rugby Championship. Some of the impact from the bench for Australia also far exceeds what Wales have to offer (Stephen Moore, James Slipper, Michael Hooper, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane) and that quality on the bench is likely to be the winning and losing of this game.

Both of these sides know each other so well after the June series, with Australia winning all three games by 7, 2 and 1 points. The difference this weekend is that Wales have lost so many to injury, and are carrying a number of injuries in the starting 15. Familiarity will serve Australia better than Wales here, as Australia have a much more settled look about them and are in a better position to expose the Welsh. Australia were hammered by France in the muck initially but they battled to a win against England, and that England side is stronger than this Welsh one. You have to go back to 2008 to find a game where Australia didn’t beat a 2 point handicap away from home against Wales, And 2005 before that three point loss.

Australian coach Robbie Deans was quoted during the week as saying Australia were running on empty for this game, but that should be taken with a pinch of salt. They clearly saved Polota Nau for this game, and they most definitely took their foot off the gas against Italy to conserve energy. They come into this relatively fresh compared to Wales, and it’s hard to see them not coming away with a comfortable enough win here.

Wales v Australia rugby betting

We’ve already taken the -2 on Australia still available in Bluesquare. If you don’t have a bluesquare account you can get Australia -2.5 on the no draw handicap for 5/6 in Ladbrokes.

Since the turn of the millenium, these teams have played each other fifteen times, with Australia winning twelve times, losing twice, and drawing once. Of those twelve wins, NINE of them have been by 1-12 points, and every away win bar one has been by 1-12 points. So there’s strong evidence for an Australian win by 1-12 points, with the biggest price a miserable 13/8 in Ladbrokes ( 6/4 everywhere else). For us, that price is too small, and thinking back to Argentina’s 14 point win here, who is to say Wales won’t completely implode again? We wouldn’t tell someone not to back the 1-12, especially if you want to lower your stake and increase your returns. But you’re also increasing risk, as there’s a decent enough chance Australia could do some serious damage here where Argentina’s backs couldn’t, but working out whether they’ll want to mentally is impossible. The better, more conservative bet at 10/11 is the -2/3, as Australia have far more bankable firepower and will want to finish the season on a high.

In short, there’s just no viable reason that we can see for backing Wales here even with a three point start. With a stronger side that took a relative break last week in Italy, Pocock returning, and Nathan Sharpe’s retirement looming large, Australia will want to go out with a bang and drive the nail home this weekend. A 2/3 point handicap should be comfortably beaten against a Welsh side with nothing going for it.

Possible Tryscorer punts
Drew Mitchell is up against Alex Cuthbert on the wing and is biggest 12/5 anytime try in paddypower and 11/1 for first try. Cuthbert has looked awful defensively in the past three tests- falling off tackles everywhere, and he seems to always need help to bring someone down. No commentators have mentioned it, but watch him this weekend an you’ll see what we mean. Either the anytime or first try appeals here for Mitchell on the left wing.

**If you’re with Paddypower, they have a money back special this weekend on all losing tryscorer (first, last, anytime) bets if a number 14 scores the first try. With Cuthbert and Cummins in both number 14 jerseys, this is a realistic piece of insurance value if you’re backing any of the above anytime tryscorers.**

Nick Cummins is looking for three in a row this weekend and is also 12/5 anytime try. His direct running at out of position Williams on the other wing could cause problems.

And lastly, Nathan Sharpe
is 66/1 first try in Ladbrokes, and 14/1 anytime try in there too. Either one of these is worth a fiver for value, as Sharpe has form and knows where the tryline is. Sharpe will most definitely have his eye on a try with this being his last ever Australian cap, and it would be such a fitting occurrence for such a great servant to the game; he was probing the English line 2 weeks ago quite a bit too. I just have a strong feeling he’ll rumble over at some point, and his team-mates will be looking to play him in whenever they can surely – maybe go with the anytime 14/1 and don’t be greedy!

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Ian Evans, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Samson Lee, 19 Ryan Jones, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Scott Williams.

Australia: 15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Michael Hooper, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Mike Harris, 23 Digby Ioane.

Don’t forget the Skybet free no deposit tenner bet and free fiver bet every week offer ends Dec 7th
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Wales v NewZealand Rugby Betting

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

BBC2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main Rugby bet

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

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

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

Betfred Sport

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

Don’t forget the Skybet free no deposit tenner bet and free fiver bet every week offer ends Dec 7th
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Wales v Samoa Rugby Betting

Wales v Samoa Rugby Betting Preview, Nov 16 730pm. Wales -9 10/11 bluesquare, Samoa +11 evens, ladbrokes.


S4C, ESPN

We were quite Bullish about Argentina’s chances versus Wales last week, we said back them +11, and we said they might even win the game – and we’re still annoyed at ourselves for not backing the straight win. It’s quite refreshing from a betting perspective when things don’t go the way the bookies are telling us they will, and it makes your balls grow Biggar for when the next raid grows near. They mightn’t yet be big enough to back Samoa though.

Wales have made plenty of changes, the main one being Ryan Jones back in as captain. We said last week he was a huge loss and so it proved. He always seems to pop up when Wales are in need and they are indeed in need this weekend. Wales are in clear and present danger of slipping out of the top 8 should they lose this game and if other results go a certain way across the remainder of the Autumn tests. Hence this has become something of a must-win game for them. Other notable changes are the under performing Scarlet’s halves Knoyle and Priestland relegated to the bench, and in steps kicking maestro Biggar, and Mike Phillips. Warburton is replaced by a man who is on far better form – Tipuric, who could realistically take Warburton’s starting berth for the upcoming 6 nations at seven if he stays injury free. Bradley Davies returns in the second row and will bring some badly needed dog and go forward back into the side.

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

Samoa name a side with a bit of quality, the players in bold below being the standouts – the backrow is useful if all of a quite similar style. Treveranus has been playing some good stuff for London Irish, but you’d fancy the Welsh backrow over all of them, except maybe Faleteau who has been quiet enough so far this season. There are a few weak points, there’s not much on the Samoan bench, and we think Lemi (who is small enough) at captain is possibly a bad choice. Lemi scored a great try for Worcester recently but he has slowed down the last year or two, and against a huge Welsh backline you’d expect him to be targeted from the off. Tusi Pisi at ten didn’t kick all of the goals against Canada either (that was So’iola, who is banned for this game), and while he’s had a few games in Super rugby he won’t bring the surety from the kicking tee that Samoa had last week in that easily-won game. Canada were missing some of their bigger players as a sidenote, and in general you’d wonder how much good it will have done Samoa for this week.

Samoa: 15 Faatoina Autagavaia, 14 Paul Perez, 13 George Pisi, 12 Paul Williams, 11 David Lemi (capt), 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali’i, 8 Taiasina Tuifua, 7 Maurie Fa’asavalu, 6 Ofisa Treviranus, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Daniel Leo, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Ole Avei, 1 Sakaria Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Ti’i Paulo, 17 Villiamu Afatia, 18 James Johnston, 19 tbc, 20 Tivaini Fomai, 21 Jeremy Su’a, 22 Johnny Leota, 23 Robert Lilomaiava.

There’s plenty of hard hitting ability in the Samoan side, and the side they have out on Friday night is very similar to the one that lost by a point at the death to Scotland in the summer. Samoa had a try ruled out towards the end that would have won them that game. The Scottish side that was out was a little weak, but it was still an achievement of sorts for Samoa. They have an arguably stronger side out here with George Pisi from Northampton and Leo of Perpignan being added who they were missing that day v Scotland. However, other recent Samoan results don’t paint such a pretty picture. They barely scraped past Japan and Fiji in the pacific nations cup (which they did win), and they had a good chunk of Friday’s starters available. They now face a wounded Wales who are on a four game losing streak and who are desperate to prove a point here tomorrow.

To be frank, Wales in general are a far better side than Samoa. Even allowing for individual ability the Welsh match up, and the Welsh structure and familiarity from playing together at club level (many of them) is in contrast to a Samoan side with very little meaningful gametime recently. Wales have a better lineout, a better nine and ten, and if you look across the backline it starts to look ominous for Samoa. Phillps, Biggar, North, Roberts, Beck and Cuthbert are all very big men, and can all score tries. The Samoans are going to be feeling some serious hits out wide and they’re going to have a nightmare stopping these lads, especially wee David Lemi. George Pisi is quite injury prone and Northampton fans will be watching from behind the sofa hoping he doesn’t go off injured. The weather is set to be wet early on Friday and/or during the game, and Wales have a distinct advantage in the scrum and on the scrum replacement bench – James Johnston on the Samoan bench is a scrum-penalty magnet for Quins in the Premiership, lord knows how he’ll go at international level. And with the wet weather, and the scrums, will likely come penalties, and in steps Dan Biggar.

Biggar is not going to set the Welsh backline alight, but what he can do is kick penalties, and he has a point to prove in his lonely quest for fly half domination of Welsh middle Earth. Biggar will know fellow Osprey Fotuali (Samoan Scrumhalf) inside-out and former Osprey Phillips will be all over him. This game could well follow a simple pattern of Wales keeping it tight and nudging ahead through penalties in the wet, and then really cutting loose when Samoa start to get desperate and the pressure lifts. On the whole, it’s hard to see where Samoa can win this, and Wales should win this by a fair whack once they don’t panic, keep it tight, and take their points when the opportunities come (and there should be plenty).

Main bet- We’ve taken Wales -9 at 10/11 still available in Bluesquare and Sportingbet (minus 10 and 11 everywhere else). Wales have a point to prove and they have the tools to take Samoa apart.

Tryscorer bet- back future Welsh top tryscorer of all time Alex Cuthbert to score a try anytime in Skybet at a massive 13/8. (he’s 6/4 and 6/5 elsewhere) We’ve had a bigger than usual tryscorer interest on him for this one; it will be a surprise if Wales get into the ascendancy and he doesn’t dot down. He scores tries for a living this lad- no really, he does!

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Wales v Argentina Rugby Betting

Wales v Argentina Rugby Betting Preview, Nov 10 230pm. Wales -9 PaddyPower, Argentina +11 Stanjames

These two teams have played each other three times in recent years in Wales, and the average winning margin for Wales is 13 points (15,17,7). Handicaps have come in slightly since the start of the week, when many bookmakers had Argentina at +10, now they’re into +9. They pitch up to Cardiff like a mercenary army, wearily alive after recent wars in the Southern hemisphere, but ready for action.

If we take a look at recent games against Australia for both teams, they’ve lost by pretty much the same margins so there’s nothing separating them there. Wales played three and lost three down in Australia by small margins, and Argentina lost both of their Rugby Championship games v Australia in similar fashion. In fact, if you forget about the hidng they got at home against the All Blacks and away against the Springboks (in their first game), in their other four games they drew with South Africa and lost the other three games by 4, 6 and 16 points. The 16 was away in New Zealand in the wet (similar conditions to this Saturday) and the score only got that big in the final quarter of that game.

So who are Argentina missing this weekend, and can the remaining lot put it up to Wales this like they did to the world champtions? Roncero is gone, and Albacete will be missed, but other than that it’s still a good looking side. They lose Roncero’s dynamism and inspiration, but Ayerza can scrummage just as well, and Contepomi will take over the leadership role – coming into the side having last played in their June tests at home. The pack has a good spine, and it’s hard to see this Welsh pack totally dominating them. There’s plenty of ability in an all TOP14 backline (except for Camacho from Exeter) and Sanchez will surprise alot of people outside the excellent Landajo at nine. I watched Sanchez play in a second Bordeaux side recently at Gloucester and don’t be fooled by his relative anonymity- he is well able – brilliant with ball in hand, fast, and well able with the boot. He and Landajo face Priestland and Knoyle, and they have the advantage there.

Let’s have a pick at Wales starting fifteen for argument’s sake. The Scarlets’ nine and ten start on Saturday and they have to be viewed as a potential weakness in this company. Priestland is surely on his last legs as the Welsh ten, having done very litle for them in recent internationals, and this combo together have rarely performed when it really mattered in big games for the Scarlets. Looking at the backs – Cuthbert, Roberts and Halfpenny were top class players in a decent side that last week went to a weakened Leinster and had 60 points put on them. Captain Sam Warburton was captain that day and there was a distinct lack of leadership, and he’s captain against Argentina. Faletau hasn’t been in the greatest form for the Dragons recently, catalytic centre Jonathan Davies is injured, and the Ospreys captain Wynn Jones recently led a team that capitulated away at Leicester in a game that was there’s for the taking. In fact, bar Jenkins down in Toulon, recent club form doesn’t look great for anyone in this Welsh side in important games.

But wait, Welsh players always step it up for the International games don’t they? Well yes, but that’s one of those stereotypes that’s more of an excuse for poor club play than a reason for good international play. This Welsh team have the talent but there’s a massive amount of complacency in general about many of them lately, as seen in recent club games, and even down in Australia. The four Cardiff men in particular didn’t feel the need to perform against Leinster in the RaboPro12 because they figured they’d get picked anyway- and that surely can’t be a good thing. The men they’re missing tomorrow will be sorely missed too. Ryan Jones is one of the real leaders in this team and will be missed hugely against an abrasive Argentinian pack with serious motivation. Jones will be missed in the front row as will the world class Lydiate, and even Bradley Davies would have been useful on Saturday.

It sounds like we’re really drilling into Wales here but noone seems to be giving Argentina much of a chance and it pays to play devils advocate in every form of speculation. Looking at that Welsh side we see three big positives – Cuthbert, Tipuric on the bench, and North (if he doesn’t have to defend too much). But in the conditions forecast and with the disjointed and middling form of the Welsh pack, you’d wonder how much good ball they’ll see out wide.

The Argentinians have world cup seedings motivation here to stay in the top eight, and they could conceiveably end up in the TOP 4 after this tour, and that’s a serious prize worth fighting for. The last time they came North before a world cup seeding draw in November 2006 they beat England in Twickenham and they’re now coming off the back of 6 games against the top three in the world. They won’t fear Wales beyond respect, and they’ll surely believe they can win this game.

Wales v Argentina Rugby betting Main bet– You can see where we’re going with this I think. Wales can win this but there’s scant evidence of any hunger in the side recently. Recent Argentinian results against the top three in the world; A capable looking side and an able backline; Wales missing such important players; Roman Poite will let Argentina contest the breakdown; the poor conditions forecast; the poor form of Priestland; the recent poor club form; the inexperience in some positions; world cup rankings motivation; complacency…all point to Argentina staying within the handicap at least. We’ve taken Argentina on the +10 10/11, still only available in Ladbrokes(**EDIT +11 now available in Stanjames **Ladbrokes +11 at evens biggest**, Saturday 13:55 (+9/10 everywhere else). Argentina could win this even; they play with the big boys full time now.

We’ll have more side bets when markets come out.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Josh Turnbull,5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones,3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Paul James, 19 Rob McCusker, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 James Hook, 23 Liam Williams.

Argentina: 15 Juan Martin Hernandez, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Felipe Contepomi, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Leonardo Senatore, 5 Julio Farias Cabello, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Replacements:
16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Bruno Postiglioni, 18 Juan Gomez, 19 Tomas Vallejos Cinalli, 20 Tomas Leonardi, 21 Nicolas Vergallo, 22 Horacio Agulla, 23 Joaquin Tuculet.

Australia v Wales Rugby Betting Preview, Tips & Odds 6am GMT Jun 23rd

Australia v Wales Rugby Betting Preview

Media Rugby Betting Coverage

Sky Sports 1

Best Betting/Team Win Handicap
Australia 8/13 888sport -3 10/11 boylesports
Wales 5/3 sportingbet +4 evs bet365

 

Form Guide

Unfortunately for fans in Europe and South Africa, this rugby match has been put back four and a half hours to 6am GMT, leaving us no doubt bleary eyed this Saturday morning. I had been quite enjoying the line-up for the past two weeks of a game at 830, 11 and 4, but alas it’s not to be this weekend. The changed time won’t mean any extra heat, with temperatures moderate and the sun shining.

Australia are two from two this series, with the finale this weekend, and I’m finding this one to be the toughest of the games to call. On one hand you can say that Australia were lucky last week with a last gasp penalty and on the other you could say Wales were very lucky to be winning after a scramble of a try from their own half after an Australian fumble. Australia were very much in the ascendancy at that point. Don’t forget Pocock was in for a try at the death as well, but was frustratingly called back by the ref for a much more difficult penalty instead of letting the advantage play (as alluded to in our rugby betting wrap for last weekend’s games).

Wales have looked tired from the start of this series, and yes, the shackles will be off and they can play freely this Saturday. But the same can be said for Australia with the series win in the bag. I’m expecting a decent few tries on a sunny day of rugby, with plenty of try scorers in both teams, and an eventual tight win for Australia.

Teams

The starting Wales 15 is unchanged from last week, with the only overall change being Hibbard out of the match day 22, and Owens replacing him. Still the same concerns over injuries being carried then (Warburton, Davies, North) and Priestland still starts despite doing nothing of note since last year really.

Australia put Ashley Cooper on the wing to make way for the return of Kurtley Beale at full back. Beale coming in means a try scoring punt for me. I have a theory that players coming back from off-field controversy often play better than they normally  would, and with Beale having just been charged with assault, I’ll be wagering on him making a Welsh try line assault too! Possibly even a Man of the match gong if he lasts the 80 also.

Australia: 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 David Pocock (c), 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Sitaleki Timani; 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Rob Simmons, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Michael Hooper, 21 Nic White, 22 Anthony Fainga’a.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Ryan Jones, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Paul James, 18 Luke Charteris, 19 Justin Tipuric, 20 Rhys Webb, 21 James Hook, 22 Scott Williams.

Rugby Betting Tips

Stats betting is very attractive for this week’s game, and especially when Paddypower have a money back special of a refund on all tryscorer bets if Wales win the game. They are slightly shorter than williamhill on some prices for tryscorer bets, but if you fancy the extra chance of a refund, then paddypower are the way to go. I’ll give comparisons anyway.

  1. (main bet)If you’re strictly a handicap only man then the Australia -3 in boylesports looks better than the Wales +4 at evens in bet365. I get the feeling that with Beale back, there’s more danger of Australia running riot than Wales, and as i’ve been saying all along, Wales look tired and are carrying a few injuries, and lets not forget there’s a 43 year old record for this Australian team to maintain of no loss to a Welsh team at home.
  2. Kurtley Beale anytime try 23/10 paddypower, 5/2 williamhill
  3. Alex Cuthbert anytime try 21/10 paddypower, 11/4 in williamhill and skybet
  4. Digby Ioane anytime try is biggest 2/1 in paddypower. This game should be open, and he’ll be after a try, and very disappointed if he doesn’t get one for the whole series.  I’m surprised the left winger isn’t shorter priced
  5. Cuthbert to score 2 or more tries is 11/1 in paddypower, he has looked the most likely for Wales and has done a Hatrick at least once this season for Cardiff. And if you fancy a bit of a fun interest punt, a Mike Phillips Hattrick is 300/1 in williamhill. He has been quiet lately, even helping Bayonne get relegated! but he scored 2 in a few games in his career, and if this rugby match opens up, he’s the man with his hands on the ball more than anyone else. Fiver between the lads possibly?!
  6. I can’t find over/under try markets up yet, but i’ll probably be talking the overs.

If you cancy an over priced extremely speculative bet on the rugby over the weekend, williamhill have all three teams to win at  100/1 in the wiliamhill specials section for rugby union. The accumulator wouldn’t run near this price, so well worth a lash of you think two teams have a chance. Anythng can happen.

Weather

– dry and sunny in Sydney

Ref

– Craig Joubert. Had a good first game barring the odd non-calling of Pocock for ruinin Welsh ball when he had just told him not to ruin Wales ball. Odd odd odd.

Australia v Wales Rugby Betting Preview, Tips and Odds 11am GMT Jun 16th

Media Rugby Betting Coverage

Sky Sports 2

Best Betting/Team Win Handicap
Australia 4/9 bet365 -6 10/11 williamhill
Wales 57/25 betdaq +7 10/11 ladbrokes

 

Form Guide

Australian rugby bounced back last week with a morale boosting win over 6 nations champs Wales, and come into this week’s game with an unchanged team. In last week’s betting preview  we alluded to the fact that Welsh form should be taken with a pinch of salt after some iffy 6 Nations wins and a lucky Barbarian win, and so it proved; Wales were subdued, contained, and on the whole they failed to fire when it really mattered. They came back into the game to be only a point behind in the last quarter, but you never really felt like Australia were going to lose the game, sealing the rugby match with a Pat McCabe try off a beautiful line to finish the win off on an 8 point margin win.

There was little urgency from Wales until the game was 14 points ahead of them, and Australian fatigue after that Scotland game had started to set in. Cuthbert lead the charge after the Wallabies hit them hard early, but Wales were disjointed, and never really got into the game. Their scrum didn’t dominate as some people expected, and they simply didn’t take advantage of the possession as well as Australia- the stats were 50/50 in percentage terms, with evens on line breaks and turnovers. Interestingly, Australia also conceded 13 penalties to Wales’s seven. This could point to a yellow card being shown on Saturday perhaps, but the best i can find is 4/6 in paddypower- a bit short I reckon.

You can look at this upcoming game in one of two ways- either Wales are going to play better having had more time together, or, Australia are going to realise they can cut Wales open at will and that they also have had more time together. Wales have had an entire six nations campaign just three months ago too, and a lot of people forget that, so they shouldn’t have been unfamiliar with each other last week. That being the case, maybe they’re just knackered tired after a long season, and they certainly looked like that, particularly in the first 20 minutes. There’s an argument for both perspectives, and recent history suggests there might be some value in the Wales +7 as these two have played out some close games in the past few years. But for individual team-member reasons, which I’m about to go into, I have my doubts about Wales +7.

Teams

Australia have named an unchanged side, with just Kepu a slight doubt in the front row after he strained his arm last week. Unfortunately for Australia Kurtley Beale won’t make the game either.  The unchanged line-up reflects the excellent performance last week, and Australia backers will be hoping they can repeat the performance.

The Welsh team has seen the withdrawal of Faletau from the tour completely, and he’ll be a big loss. He does a lot of unseen work, and has been a regular in the Welsh side. Next on the injury list is blunt- force- trauma- attacking George North, and his fellow Scarlet Scott Williams in the centre. The soundings from the Welsh camp are that both will likely make the game, but I’d take this with a pinch of salt. Both seem to have been injured regularly all season, and have had very little rugby for most of it and that includes their club games. They’ve had very few Scarlets appearances, being saved for Wales more often than not ,and it’s something that Scarlets fans are particularly unhappy with, with many going so far as to question their injury status repeatedly, and whether it is actually for real, or just precautionary with Welsh games around the corner. You have to wonder just how fragile these lads are, and whether they’ll be up to another 60/70 minutes of hard hitting stuff from the Wallabies on Saturday.

Finally Sam Warburton looks well off the pace compared to his town high standards, and is carrying an injury all season. You can clearly see it is affecting his game. He was OK at best last week, and his passing was shocking at times.  Welsh resources are starting to look very thin.

(Welsh team not out yet)
Australia: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Cooper Vuna, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu , 7 David Pocock (c), 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Rob Simmons , 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Ben Alexander, Dave Dennis, 18 Michael Hooper, 19 Nic White, 20 Anthony Fainga’a, 21 Mike Harris.

Rugby Betting Tips

Same as the start of the week, i’m staying with Australia -6 in light of all of the above. The weather is dry Friday, with a small chance of showers on saturday. Either way i’m expecting a more structured game, with Wales realising they have to keep it tight from the start, and begin with a bit more fire in their bellies. It would be nice to see a Welsh win for a nice series finale next week, but with Welsh players carrying injuries, and the end of a long season taking it’s toll, it’s hard to see anything other than an Australian victory here. The question for alot of punters is, can Australia really put some big points on Wales?. You’d imagine Wales will really fight for this one knowing the series is lost if they go down, so the first half  SHOULD be close enough, with Australian power winning out in the end.  But there’s merit to that Wales +7 at ladbrokes if you think that the fact of Wales losing meaning the series is gone and lost, might bring out the energy reserves and extra motivation.

Maybe they’re lying in the long grass and this was their plan all along?! That said, when Australia attacked last week, they found plenty of holes. Can Wales shore things up is the real consideration.

  1. Australia -6 in paddypower- If these injuries hit Wales harder than they’re making out, there’s not much experience and real quality to take over in North/Wiliams and Warburton’s case.
  2. I’m going to wait for the Welsh team announcement as it’ll have a big impact on how this one goes.

Weather

– small chance of showers, dry the day before.

Ref

– Chris Pollock

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

Australia v Wales Rugby Betting Preview, Tips and Odds 11am GMT Jun 9th

Media Rugby Coverage

Sky Sports 2

Best Betting/Team Win Handicap
Australia 4/7 skybet drifting -4 evs williamhill
Wales 7/4 paddypower shortening +5 10/11 stanjames

 

Form Guide

Australia come into this game off a morale draining loss to Scotland at the death last week, and will be keen to make amends. However with the likes of Barnes not on amazing form, and an ordinary backline, Australia will find it difficult enough against the curent 6 nations champions who are generally on the up and up since the agonising loss to France at the world cup. However, Wales played a decent enough side against the Barbarians (albeit missing a large portion of this week’s starters) and should have lost against the pysicality that the Babaas brought. The fact is, with 8 minutes to go, the Babaas had a penalty right in front of the posts that would have taken them 8 points clear, yet they took a scrum, in direct contravention to the Contepomi diretive/anti-barbarian ethos of a week previous versus Ireland where they took a penalty to win in the last 5 minutes. This was indeed a bizarre decision by the Babaas v Wales, particularly seeing as they had looked like they were going for the jugular and badly wanted the win. So despite Wales being on a 6 game winning streak, and having a fantastic side – take the form with a slight pinch of salt- they were lucky in a few six nations games, and the Babaas let them win !

Teams

Notable absences for Australia – Cooper is still out, and is missing with a hamstring injury. For me the loss of Horwill is more important.  It’s rare that you might say that the Australian pack is relatively better than the Australian backline, but that seems to be the case tomorrow for me, with Barnes off form, and Ioane the only real standout. Pat Mccabe will be well able to handle the big Welsh backs, but he can’t do it all on his own. Conrast that to Wales, who are only missing Bennet and Roberts ( not a bog loss) from the world cup first 15.  Games between these two are always tight, and with Australia winning the last two games by tight margins, it’s hard not to look at Wales and think they are in a far better position here.

Australia: 15 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 14 Cooper Vuna, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Pat McCabe, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Will Genia, 8 Wycliff Palu , 7 David Pocock (c), 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Rob Simmons , 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Ben Alexander, Dave Dennis, 18 Michael Hooper, 19 Nic White, 20 Anthony Fainga’a, 21 Mike Harris.

Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Scott Williams, 11 George North, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Gethin Jenkins.Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Paul James, 18 Alun Wyn Jones, 19 Ryan Jones, 20 Lloyd Williams, 21 James Hook, 22 Ashley Beck.

Betting Tips

Looking at that Welsh team, it’s hard to resist the punt on them on the plus cap, but i’m going to have to go with my gut here and take Australia for a number of reasons. Firstly, they’re at home, and losing two on the trot to 6 nations sides is just not an option for this lot.  Secondly, Wales were extremely lucky to win agasint Ireland and England in the 6 nations, and had the bounce of the ball not gone their way, would we be looking at an 8 or 9 point handicap here for Australia? Quite possibly.  Priestland isn’t on any notable form, Phillips was part of a relegated Bayonne side, Warburton could see a recurrence of his injury and Tipuric isn’t on the bench. Wales do generally seem to be more than the sum of their individual parts but I think that this one might get away from them, based on Australia wanting it more, and i think they’ll have a better chance of winning further into the series.

  1. Australia 1-12 winning margin is 7/4 in stanjames, and i’ll be taking some of that. With it likely to rain, and last weeks loss to Scotland, Australia will be happy with any kind od a win, and Wales have enough quality to keep things competitive
  2. Toby Faleteau is 25/1 in wiliamhill for 1st tryscorer. Off the back of the scrum, he’s always dangerous, always involved in play, and he’s due a try in my humble opinion! Bit of value here
  3. The draw at 20/1 is one to consider at williamhill and elsewhere. The games between these teams are always tight, and if you think so too, it might be worth a small interest.
  4. No tryscorer is 25/1 in ladbrokes. Look at last week’s game, remeber this welsh side hasnt played together in a while, and it’s raining. If you decide to back this make sure you back the No tryscorer option in the first tryscorer market, as opposed to the straight out ‘No try’- that way, if there’s a penalty try, you still win, and the bookies don’t get one over on you!

Weather– possible rain, warm enough

Ref– Craig Joubert- New Zealand aren’t playing so we should see a fair contest.

Wales v Barbarians, Betting Tips, Preview, & Odds. June 2nd 2012, 14:00 pm GMT, Millenium Stadium

 Best Betting/Team  Win  Handicap
Wales 2/5 -6 10/11
Barbarians 5/2 +8 10/11

Media Coverage

BBC

Form Guide

Essentially this is the Wales ‘A’ side so we can’t really determine any real form on the whole. We can look at the large number of Ospreys players starting though and infer that they are at least bringing some match winning form into the game having pipped Leinster yet again at the death last Sunday in that cracking game that had both teams out on their feet by the end. They defied the pre-game betting on Sunday, and credit to them for sticking with Leinster and overtaking them. The rest of the team is a bit of a mish-mash, with a fair few Scarlets players, and the best we can say is that there will be some motivation here for the new caps, with a small number of spots available still on the Welsh touring squad.
The Barbarians were hammered by an average England in their first game, and followed up by beating an Ireland second team with a better starting fifteen, and a capable fly half in Contepomi. As you’d expect they’ve gelled better the more games they have played together, with the defence improving slightly against Ireland. But reports are they haven’t been short of a few nights on the town, so fatigue could really be an issue towards the end of this game.

Teams

For me two things stand out on the Barbarians team- they have no back up ten, and Stephen Donald can’t pass a ball (or couldn’t all season for Bath nor last week v England anyway). Also, Francois Louw and Gorgodze should win a lot of ball if they go foraging. For Wales, young Harry Robinson on the wing versus Shane Williams is vulnerable, as is Brew v Nacewa, and Williams v Muliaina. The Barbarians should win the scrum hands down aswell.

Barbarians: 15 Mils Muliana, 14 Isa Nacewa, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Casey Laulala, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Mamuka Gorgodze, 7 Johnnie Beattie, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Mick O’Driscoll, 3 John Smit (capt), 2 Benoit August, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 Neemia Tialata, 18 Anton Van Zyl, 19 Akapusi Qera, 20 Rory Lawson, 21 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 22 Cedric Heymans.

Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Harry Robinson, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 James Hook, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Ryan Jones, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Rhodri Jones, 2 Matthew Rees (c), 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Paul James, 18 Aaron Shingler, 19 Martyn Williams, 20 Rhys Webb, 21 Adam Warren, 22 Will Harries

Wales v Barbarians betting tips

This is a strange one. On one hand you’ve a load of Welsh lads that are playing for places on the plane down under, and on the other you’ve a side full of star studded names that should wipe floor with them. Both teams should be fatigued,( the large Ospreys contingent for Wales should be anyway from last Sunday), and the Babaas have been out on the beer all week. Either team could win this game, it’s basically whoever wants it more. The way to go in the betting is most definitely for tryscorers. Halftime barbarians/full time wales also appeals if you think the effects of the drink will catch up with the Babaas at the end. You could do a lot worse than backing the Babaas to win though. There’s few players I’d swap into the babaas team from this Wales team, except for Biggar in for Donald.

  1. Barbarians win- theres just too much quality here to ignore this bet. If they want to win, they can win. 5/2 is tempting.
  2. Anytime tryscorer Muliaina at 9/4 is a steal. Gorgodze surely has to get one try this series and he’s 4/1. Nacewa is 5/4, a little short, but is on superb tryscoring form and his opposition will have dificulty stopping him. If you fancy a bit of a flutter, Gorgodze is 90/1 for a hattrick in Paddy Power!
  3. As mentioned above, Barbarians half time/wales full time is 13/2
  4. Lastly, as mentioned, this game could go either way, and backing the Barbarians to win by a decent margin isn’t as mental as you might think. The Barbarians 1-12 appeals though at 10/3,…. in that, if they do get ahead, and the game is won, you can’t see them holding the line grimly with 5 minutes to go.

Weather- it could be wet, so be careful if you’re backing the overs

Referee- Allan Rolland- expect plenty of Welsh moaning if he does somthing they don’t like.