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.
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