Thu, Nov 3, 10:03am by Staff Writer
Date and Time: Sunday November 7, 1:30am AEDT
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
TV: Fox Sports
Australia are embarking on a tour that could end in a Grand Slam. They will face all four of the ‘Home Nations,’ England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. An opening trip to Cardiff will certainly test the credentials of a Wallabies side that have seen a huge dip in form in the last 12 months. A year ago this week they were contesting the Rugby World Cup Final against New Zealand but what has followed has bemused Wallabies fans. A 3-0 thrashing from England on home soil and below par Rugby Championship means that Michael Cheika has plenty to answer on this tour.
Once again the spotlight is on Australia for all the wrong reasons. After his outburst at the media after the last Bledisloe Cup match in New Zealand, Cheika has diverted attention off his players and onto himself. Whether that is a clever ploy to ease the pressure on his players or simply another distraction in a Wallabies environment that is struggling for consistency. William Hill initially could not separate the two sides with both Australia and Wales locked at a price of $1.90. However, the market has changed in the past couple of days and the Wallabies are now $1.67. Despite a loss at Eden Park further extending the 30-year losing streak at that venue, Lopeti Timani showed signs that he could be the answer to the number eight issue. His strong running game could provide the time and space for the backs to begin to find their confidence again.
The last time these two sides met was at the 2015 Rugby World Cup as both teams made it out of the ‘Group of Death.’ In a game decided from the kicking tee, Bernard Foley shone for the Wallabies. His performances of late in particularly in terms of kicking have been worrying. Whether he starts the game at 10 or 12, Foley will have a huge say on the outcome of this match. Wales’ mercurial boot is back in the frame, after several injuries Leigh Halfpenny will be looking to down Australia.
Given Australia’s current form, Wales could feel aggrieved that William Hill are unable to give them the edge. With a price of $2.20, the Welsh look good value to beat their southern hemisphere rivals. Without their head coach Warren Gatland, who is in his role as Lions coach, Wales have put together a squad looking to regroup after a whitewash in New Zealand in the June Tests. Although the late withdrawal of captain Sam Warbuton may well have an adverse effect on the home side.
A win for Australia by 1-12 points is priced at $2.60, while the same margin range for Wales is at $3.15. While for a big winning margin of 13+ points William Hill are offering $4 for the men in gold and $6.70 for the men in red.
This match is a tough one to call with both sides now looking to build to the next Rugby World Cup. Australia need a confidence boosting start to the tour but Wales will defend their line in Cardiff for all they are worth.
William Hill Market:
Wales vs Australia
Wales (+2.5): 1.90
Australia (-2.5): 1.90
Wales (1-12): $3.15
Wales (13+) $6.70
Australia (1-12): $2.60
Australia (+13): $4.00
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