Thu, Jun 14, 11:21am by Staff Writer
The June international rugby test matches continue this weekend, with three tantalising clashes in the Southern Hemisphere.
New Zealand versus France
Saturday, 16 June 2018 at 5.35pm AEST at Westpac Stadium, Wellington
New Zealand will be looking to wrap up their three test series against France on Saturday afternoon when they take on France in Wellington.
The All Blacks are huge favourites for the match at $1.02, with the French $17 at Sportsbet.
It was a dominant second half from the Kiwis that set up their victory in game one of the series in Auckland. After trailing 11-8 at half-time, the All Black piled on seven unanswered tries in the second half to run away 52-11 winners.
It was a disappointing display from Les Bleus after they showed enormous promise in the first half. Their ball movement was slick and they created a number of opportunities in the opening 20 minutes.
Their only try came thanks to an intercept pass, so they will be looking to ramp up their creativity and cross the line with more frequency in Wellington.
Test matches at Westpac Stadium are typically difficult to judge, with Saturday’s opening handicap of 29.5 points incredibly large given the history of matches at the venue.
New Zealand has only covered that line once in the past nine years at Westpac Stadium in test rugby and that was in 2011 against South Africa.
Four, 14, 20 and three points have decided their four most recent matches at the ground respectively.
Given those statistics and the fact that the French will want to bounce back from their poor showing last weekend, plus the difficult kicking conditions inside the ‘Caketin’, we are taking a chance on France to cover.
Best bet- France to cover 29.5-point handicap at $1.84
Australia versus Ireland
Saturday, 16 June 2018 at 8.10pm AEST at AAMI Park
Australia produced a hard fought 18-9 victory against Six Nations champions Ireland in Brisbane and will be looking for consecutive wins against the Emerald when the two meet in Melbourne.
The Wallabies are $1.78 favourites for the match, after being underdogs in Brisbane.
The Irish are $2.04 at Sportsbet, giving away a 1.5-point start in the handicap market.
There was little to separate the two sides in Brisbane, with the Wallabies defence a highlight. They restricted Ireland to only three penalty goals, despite the Irish gaining threatening field position on numerous occasions during the match.
Ireland will be better for that first performance in Australia, and play the Wallabies at a ground that has not seen a whole lot of international rugby union.
The Wallabies have played two test matches at the ground, with a loss to England in 2016 and a win against Fiji last season.
David Pocock was a star for the Wallabies in game one and if he repeats his dominant performance in Melbourne, they will be difficult to contain.
Ireland did a good job of restricting the Australian backlines attacking prowess, but they are a constant threat which Ireland does not possess themselves.
The Wallabies should be able to lock up this series and take an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Best bet- Ireland to cover 1.5-point handicap at $1.84
South Africa versus England
Sunday, 17 June 2018 at 1.05am AEST at Toyota Stadium, Bloemfontein
South Africa and England renew hostilities on Sunday morning, with the Springboks holding a 1-0 advantage in their test series.
South Africa are $1.62 favourites to beat England on Sunday, with the Roses $2.32 at Sportsbet.
Last weekend’s match at Ellis Park was the most exhilarating of all test matches last weekend, with the Boks winning 42-39.
It was a match full of highlights, with England taking a huge 24-3 lead early in the match. South Africa pegged them back before the first half was over and the match changed momentum from there forward.
South Africa came out the blocks slowly in game one and whether that was due to nerves or the pressure of performing in front of a large, boisterous crowd, nobody knows.
England will be encouraged by their attacking performance, with these sides sure to put on another wonderful display of rugby on Saturday.
There is little to split these two teams, in the closest match of the weekend, but we are siding with the home side once again.
Best bet- South Africa Big Win Little Win 1-12 at $2.88
Rugby Internationals Sportsbet Odds
New Zealand $1.02 v France $17
Australia $1.78 v Ireland $2.04
South Africa $1.62 v England $2.32
Argentina $2.06 v Wales $1.77
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