Wed, Sep 12, 12:18pm by Staff Writer
The Rugby Championship moves beyond the halfway point this weekend when New Zealand and Australia host matches on Saturday night.
The All Blacks were not at their best last weekend in Nelson, when they fielded a team full of fresh talent that was inexperienced on the Test stage. They still managed a dominant 46-24 victory in a free-flowing game of rugby.
The hosts are $1.04 to defeat the visiting South Africa, who are paying $11.
The Springboks couldn’t manage to beat Australia in Brisbane, a team they have drawn the past two times they have played.
Despite leading at half-time, the Boks lacked cohesion in the second half and threw away too much ball. They were impatient in building phases, which was in contrast to the Wallabies who preferred to play a territory and kicking-based game.
In last season’s Rugby Championship game in New Zealand, the All Blacks embarrassed the Boks at Albany’s QBE Stadium.
They ran in eight tries to none to belt the Springboks 57-0.
In South Africa’s home game against the Kiwis it was a slender one point win for the visitors by a 25-24 scoreline.
Malcolm Marx scored a late converted try to give the Springboks a feint hope of victory, in a match that was alive down to the final whistle.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is expected to make a number of changes to his squad for this weekend’s match, with an eye on next year’s World Cup. Hansen has made no secret of the fact that he wants to inject international experience into a number of players before the game’s showpiece event in 2019.
New Zealand are 22.5-point favourites at the handicap at $1.90 for this match.
In margin betting, it is the All Blacks to win 13+ that is the overwhelmingly short-priced option at $1.28. South Africa to win by 1-12 is paying $10.
The All Blacks have a poor record in covering the handicap in matches at Westpac Stadium and failed to cover earlier this year against France.
We want a few more points on South Africa before we consider taking them against the World Champions though, who have crushed the visitors by 57 and 28 points the last two times they have played in New Zealand.
Best bet- New Zealand to cover 22.5-point handicap at $1.90
International rugby hits the Gold Coast as Australia to build on its first win of the Rugby Championship when it hosts Argentina on Saturday night.
The Wallabies are $1.27 favourites at Sportsbet to win the match, with South Africa $3.80 outsiders.
Australia produced a gritty 23-18 win against South Africa in Brisbane last weekend, staving off the visitors for nearly five minutes inside the 22 metres late in the match.
Despite missing Adam Coleman and Israel Folau, the Wallabies showed composure, particularly in the second half.
The boot of Matt Toomua and Reece Hodge helped keep the scoreboard ticking for the Aussies, as did Springboks errors.
Argentina played one of its best games against New Zealand in some time, but still fell by a 46-24 scoreline.
When Nicolas Sanchez crossed early in the second half to trim the All Blacks’ margin to just four points, the visitors had all the momentum.
New Zealand once again dazzled in attack and were unstoppable when they took quality field position, but Argentina will take heart from the fact that they played some expansive rugby themselves that tested quality opposition.
These two teams have met once at this stadium before in 2015. On that evening, Australia won 32-25. The Wallabies led 21-7 early in the second half and held off a fast finishing Pumas side to win by seven points.
Recent encounters between these two nations have been dominated by Australia, with the Wallabies winning 37-20 and 45-20 last season.
Australia is a 10.5-point favourite to win this match at $1.90.
In margin betting, Australia to win 13+ is the shortest price at $2.10, while Argentina to win by a 1-12 margin is paying $4.50.
The Pumas were admirable last weekend in defeat, but can they produce two quality performances on the road?
We think they can and the 10.5-point start is too many to be giving an Australian side that was fortunate to fall over the line last weekend.
Back the Wallabies to get a narrow win by a 1-12 margin for a bit more value.
Best bet- Australia Big Win Little Win 1-12 at $3.10
Rugby Championship Week 4 Odds
New Zealand $1.04 South Africa $11
Australia $1.27 Argentina $3.80
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