This week we reach the final complement of matches of the ‘autumn’ international series, with just the one match to be played next weekend between the old foes, England and Australia. Ireland have announced themselves as genuine contenders moving forwards, England are on an impressive unbeaten run and New Zealand continue to dominate world rugby. Australia are progressing nicely, whereas the Springboks, Wales and Argentina seem to be a few steps off the pace at the moment. Last weekend was pretty ordinary from a betting standpoint, but I am looking to finish the season with a bang this week. Don’t forget to reach out to me on twitter (@S15_TheProfits) for a chat or any extra insight into any of the matches being played this weekend.
Best Bet 1: Italy -12.5 (vs Tonga) @ $1.92 – Sportsbet
Best Bet 2: Wales -5.5 (vs South Africa) @ $1.91 – Sportsbet
Best Bet 3: Australia +1.5 @ $1.92 – Sportsbet
England ($1.07) vs Argentina ($7.90)
The last week of full fixtures kicks off this weekend at Rugby HQ in London with a match between the unbeaten England and Argentina. England has coasted through the ‘Autumn Internationals’ with wins easy wins against the Springboks (37-21) and Fiji (58-15), whereas, Argentina have endured two hard-fought losses to Wales (20-24) and Scotland (16-19).
England (2016): WWWWWWWWWW
Mako Vunipola, Dylan Hartley, Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes, George Kruis, Chris Robshaw, Tom Wood, Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs, George Ford, Elliott Daly, Owen Farrell, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Mike Brown
Reserves: Jamie George, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Charlie Ewels, Teimana Harrison, Danny Care, Ben Te’o, Henry Slade
Argentina (2016): WWLLWLLLLWLL
Lucas Noguera, Agustin Creevy (Captain), Ramiro Herrera, Guido Petti, Matias Alemanno, Pablo Matera, Javier Ortega Desio, Leonardo Senatore, Tomas Cubelli, Juan Martin Hernandez, Santiago Cordero, Matias Moroni, Matias Orlando, Joaquin Tuculet
Substitutes: Julian Montoya, Santiago Garcia Botta, Enrique Pieretto, Facundo Isa, Tomas Lezana, Martin Landajo, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Juan Pablo Estelles
England are on fire at the moment. Just last year, they failed to make the quarter-finals of their own Rugby World Cup, but now they are on an 11-match unbeaten run and wins over Argentina this week and Australia next week will mean they can equal the All Blacks world record during next year’s RBS 6 Nations. The pack is sizeable, but mobile and Ben Youngs (or Danny Care) and George Ford orchestrate the team around with guile and precision. The skill levels are extremely good and their fitness levels are helping them bury teams in the final stanza of matches. Argentina is at the end of a very long season and although they have had some good wins this year, they are still a couple of world-class players away from being a top four nation. England hold a dominant record over Argentina, winning 15 of the of the 20 matches played, including the last five matches and with confidence high in the English camp, I can’t see the Pumas posing too much of a problem at Twickenham in what I expect to be a high-scoring match.
Predicted result: England to win @ $1.07 – Sportsbet
Best Bet: Look for Total Match Points – Over
Wales ($1.48) vs South Africa ($2.65)
Wales will be feeling that their time is ripe for the picking when they host South African at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday night. Wales have had a mixed few weeks having been belted by the Wallabies (8-32) before putting together a much better performance in a 24-20 win over Argentina. South Africa on the other hand are in dire straits and can’t seem to do anything right after losing to Italy (18-20) for the first time ever last week in Florence.
Wales (2016): DWWLWLLLLLWW
Gethin Jenkins (captain), Ken Owens, Tomas Francis, Luke Charteris, Alun Wyn-Jones, Sam Warburton, Justin Tipuric, Ross Moriarty, Gareth Davies, Dan Biggar, Liam Williams, Scott Williams, Jonathan Davies, George North, Leigh Halfpenny
Reserves: Scott Baldwin, Nicky Smith, Samson Lee, Cory Hill, Toby Faletau, Lloyd Williams, Sam Davies, Jamie Roberts
South Africa (2016): LWWWLLLWLL
Tendai Mtawarira, Adriaan Strauss (captain), Lourens Adriaanse, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Lood de Jager, Nizaam Carr, Uzair Cassiem, Warren Whitely, Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies, Jamba Ulengo, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Francois Venter, Ruan Combrinck, Johan Goosen
Reserves: Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff, Trevor Nyakane, Franco Mostert, Jean-Luc de Preez, Piet van Zyl, Pat Lambie, Lionel Mapoe
The Springboks have only won four of eleven matches this season and with the CEO of South Africa Rugby calling for an end of season review just minutes after the Italian match, it seems as if there is going to be an overhaul over the summer period. As a result, the Springboks have slipped to fifth in the World Rugby rankings after their humiliating loss to Italy last weekend. To be fair, the Welsh haven’t been much better. They were completely outclassed by Australia, they narrowly beat a dogged Argentinian outfit and replacement flyhalf Sam Davies stole a narrow three-point victory from the jaws of defeat in injury-time against a spirited Japanese outfit last weekend. I see this as the battle of the desperates this week, with both teams liking to play a physical brand of rugby. After analysing the teams named by both coaches, with Howley selecting a standard squad and South Africa adopting for a fresh approach with 4 debutants, it should be an open game. The only thing South Africa has going for them at the moment is their strong record over Wales having won 17 of the last 18 matches played. Unfortunately for them, that’s not going to affect the outcome of this match and the worst season in Springbok rugby since readmission will come to an end with yet another loss.
Predicted result: Wales to win (vs South Africa) @ $1.48 – William Hill
Best Bet 2: Wales -5.5 (vs South Africa) @ $1.91 – Sportsbet
Ireland ($1.82) vs Australia ($2.07)
Ireland and Australia are set for an entertaining battle at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday night. Ireland fought bravely in their 9-21 defeat to the All Blacks last weekend and Australia managed to overturn an early 8-0 deficit to beat France 25-23 in Paris. Australia will be out to avenge their 2014 loss to Ireland at this very venue and will use their result in this match as a gauge against the All Blacks.
Ireland (2016): DLLWWWLLWWL
Jack McGrath, Rory Best (captain), Tadgh Furlong, Iain Henderson, Devin Toner, CJ Stander, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip, Conor Murray, Paddy Jackson, Keith Earls, Garry Ringrose, Jared Payne, Andrew Trimble, Rob Kearney
Reserves: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Josh van der Flier, Kieran Marmion, Joey Carberry, Simon Zebo
Australia (2016): LLLLLWWLWLWWW
Scott Sio, Stephen Moore (captain), Sekope Kepu, Rory Arnold, Rob Simmons, Dean Mumm, Michael Hooper, David Pocock, Will Genia, Bernard Foley, Henry Speight, Reece Hodge, Tevita Kuridrani, Dane Haylett-Petty, Israel Folau
Substitutes (one to be omitted): Tolu Latu, James Slipper, Allan Alaalatoa, Kane Douglas, Lopeti Timani, Sean McMahon, Nick Phipps, Quade Cooper, Sefanai Naivalu
Ireland are battered and bruised after their ‘grand final’ against New Zealand. Jonny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw have been ruled out of this week’s match. It is important to note that once Sexton departed last weekend, Paddy Jackson failed to keep the momentum going in the backline and they were punished for it by the All Blacks. Ireland’s biggest strength at the moment is without doubt their back row. Sean O’Brien, Josh Van der Flier and Jamie Heaslip single-handedly kept Ireland in the contest making just under 30% of their teams tackles and 40% of their teams running metres. I am intrigued to see how they go against the combination of Mumm, Hooper and Pocock this weekend, another true test of their abilities. I see the emotion of last week taking its toll on the Irish this weekend and I think the Wallabies are going to get up, by a narrow margin and position themselves one win away from a Grand Slam against England next week.
Predicted result: Australia to win @ $2.07 – William Hill
Best Bet 3: Australia +1.5 @ $1.92 – Sportsbet
France ($9.50) vs New Zealand ($1.06)
The latest edition of the France vs New Zealand rivalry will take place at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday night (local time). France have had a mixed November after easily defeating Samoa (52-8), before going down to a dogged second-string Australian outfit (23-25) last week. New Zealand showed why deserved to be World Rugby’s team of the year with a solid win over Ireland (23-9) in Dublin, holding the visitors try-less in the process.
France (2016): WWLLLWL
Xaiver Chiocci, Guilhelm Guirado (captain), Uini Atonio, Sebastian Vahaamahina, Yoaan Maestri, Charles Ollivon, Kevin Gourdon, Louis Picamoles, Maxime Machenaud, Camille Lopez, Virimi Vakatawa, Wesley Fofana, Remi Lamerat, Noa Nakaitaci, Brice Dulin
Reserves: Camille Chat, Cyril Baile, Rabah Slimani, Julien de Devedec, Damien Chouly, Baptiste Serin, Jean-Marc Doussain, Gael Fickou
New Zealand (2016): WWWWWWWWWLWW
Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Jerome Kaino, Matt Todd, Kieran Read (captain), TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett, Julian Savea, Ryan Crotty, Anton Lienert-Brown, Waisake Naholo, Israel Dagg
Substitutes: Codey Taylor, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumauina, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, Aaron Smith, Aaron Cruden, Rieko Ioane
When it matters most, the All Blacks seem to always produce. They still weren’t at their best against the Irish last weekend, but they did exceptionally well to hold them tryless and come away from Dublin one-all on the season scoreboard. Coles, Franks, Retallick, Whitelock and Read in the pack were superb, with Beauden Barrett once again backing up why he was awarded World Rugby’s Player of the Year award with a man-of-the-match performance. Malakai Fekitoa had one of his best games as an All Black, despite being yellow-carded and suspended this week. With Steve Hansen forced to make a number of injury-enforced changes, Jerome Kaino, Matt Todd come into the forward pack, TJ Perenara replaces Aaron Smith, Ryan Crotty starts at inside centre and Israel Dagg shifts to fullback to cover Ben Smith.
French coach Guy Noves, currently has a win record of less than 50%, something his superiors won’t like and will be keeping a close eye on. He has opted for consistency this week, just making three changes, one in the pack and two in the backline. A lot of people consider France to be the All Blacks bogey team given the fact that they have knocked them out of two Rugby World Cups. However, New Zealand are currently on a nine-match win streak over the French, dating back to 2009 (Carisbrook) and I expect their power and precision will be too much for them in Paris.
Predicted result: New Zealand to win @ $1.06 – Sportsbet
Best Bet 4: TBC