Wed, Nov 29, 8:26am by Staff Writer
The Spring Tour for Australia commenced with lots of promise after a surprise win over the All Blacks. That win against New Zealand in the dead rubber 3rd Bledisloe Cup game, promised to be a springboard from which the Wallabies could improve on their annual Tour to the northern hemisphere. Yet with two wins from four, it posed more questions than it provided answers.
Despite being favourites heading into all of their matches, other than the game against England, the Wallabies stuttered through the Spring Tour. A comfortable win over Japan signalled the attacking threat that they possess but when tested against other tier one nations they struggled at times. A Kurtley Beale intercept try was enough to see them notch up a second victory of the Tour over Wales. Although cracks were already beginning to show within the squad, as Wales pushed them all the way.
That is ultimately were it all went wrong for the Wallabies after the Wales game. Consecutive record margin defeats to both England and Scotland meant that 2017 ended on a sour note. Contentious TMO and referee calls in the England game will be pointed to as turning points but against Scotland there was no defending the loss. A red card for Sekope Kepu just before half time for a reckless shoulder charge into a ruck, made the task even more difficult. Despite showing signs of improvement in the second half, the Scots completely overwhelmed the Wallabies.
Ending the year with the taste of those defeats will hurt the Wallabies players and they will need to improve vastly moving towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Lessons will need to be learnt from this squad if they are to be a threat in Japan.
On the showing from the Spring Tour, Australia could struggle to make an impact at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. They do, however, have time to improve and gel as a squad with a number of key players making big strides forward in their Wallabies careers. In particular Reece Hodge and Marika Koroibete, who will be dangermen in the next few years. Australia are priced at $9 to win the World Cup.
New Zealand head up the favourites to lift the trophy for a third consecutive time in Japan. They stand at $2.10 followed by England at $5. These two sides will finally meet again in 2018, when the Spring Tour rolls around again. A game many rugby fans have been waiting for since Eddie Jones’ renaissance with England.
Rounding out the other contenders are the ever present Irish who stand at $6.50 to win their first ever World Cup. Indeed, England are the only northern hemisphere nation to win the tournament as Wales ($19), France ($26) and Scotland ($51), look to change that fact. From The Rugby Championship you can never write off South Africa ($9) and Argentina ($34), despite extremely underwhelming performances in 2017.
2019 Rugby World Cup – Sportsbet
New Zealand 2.10
South Africa $9
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