20 becomes 2
20 teams have become only 2 as a couple of southern hemisphere giants go head to head at Twickenham on Saturday evening to see who will be the eighth winner of the Web Ellis trophy and thus crowned rugby World Champions. Both New Zealand and Australia are twice winners so will be looking for a historic third successes, while the All Backs will also be looking to become the first team to successfully defend the title after their victory at their ‘home’ World Cup 4 years ago, thus claiming the title away from home for the first time. Reputations are at stake as much as anything else as two fierce rivals from across the Tasman Sea lock horns in what promises to be a pulsating climax to a tournament that has offered many exciting moments, although perhaps not an unexpected final. And of course, when it comes to betting on the biggest game in the rugby calendar, look no further than the world’s best rugby tipsters at Betadvisor.com.
The story so far
It is difficult to argue against the fact that the two most impressive teams have reached the London showpiece. If it had been somewhat of a canter to the semi-finals for the All Blacks, then last weekend’s match against the Springboks will certainly stand them in good stead for Saturday’s game. Despite dominating much of the play, New Zealand could not escape South Africa on the scoreboard as 6 penalties kept the ‘Boks in contention right until the death. Australia were run close by Argentina, who staged an impressive fightback before the Wallabies accelerated in the final moments against a tiring Pumas’ side, and indeed, the Aussies could count themselves lucky to be there at all after the controversy of their last minute penalty which secured a quarter-final victory against Scotland. It was in the group stages that the Aussies truly shined, particularly in their impressive victory over hosts England – arguably one of the tournaments finest team performances so far, another of which was New Zealand’s emphatic 62-13 quarter-final victory over France, although French ineptitude could also be cited in justifying that scoreline. Would the Springboks have overcome the Australians if they had met in the semi-final stage? Perhaps. But let’s not forget that Australia were victors in the 2015 Rugby Championship, albeit a truncated version. The Aussies have earned their right to be here, and now only the finest rugby tipsters can separate these two old enemies and antipodean neighbours.
Both countries face the luxury of naming arguably their strongest sides – something that neutrals can only offer thanks for. Iconic New Zealand no. 10 Dan Carter will play in his first World Cup final after missing out in 2011 through injury, and along with centres Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith, and replacement hooker Keven Mealamu, has announced that Saturday’s game will be his final international. Indeed, the same is being rumoured for New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, but the man himself has yet to confirm. What is for certain is that Carter and McCaw in particular will be involved in two of the game’s most pivotal battles, that of the breakdown and in the influential decision-making role of fly-half. In the opposite corner, Australia offer two breakdown specialists in Michael Hooper and David Pocock, and one of the players of the tournament so far in No. 10 Bernard Foley whose individual performance against England could be cited as the stand out of the competition. In conducting their analysis, pundits and rugby tipsters alike will be focusing on these key battles, and whereas New Zealand probably have the greater all-round talent, the Wallabies could well possess the most influential individuals. However, what expert rugby tipsters will note is that New Zealand’s bench definitely has an edge and could be vital later in the game in the case of a closely fought contest.
New Zealand team: Ben Smith; Nehe Milner-Skudder, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu, Julian Savea; Dan Carter, Aaron Smith; Joe Moody, Dane Coles, Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Jerome Kaino, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read.
Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Ben Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Victor Vito, Sam Cane, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Beauden Barrett, Sonny Bill Williams.
Australia Team: Israel Folau; Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tevita Kuridrani, Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell; Bernard Foley, Will Genia; Scott Sio, Stephen Moore (captain), Sekope Kepu, Kane Douglas, Rob Simmons, Scott Fardy, Michael Hooper, David Pocock.
Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper, Greg Holmes, Dean Mumm, Ben McCalman, Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Kurtley Beale.
For those not accustomed to betting on rugby, there are numerous markets available and the canniest rugby tipsters are able to exploit all. In the normal 2-way game betting, New Zealand are 1.36 with Australia 3.20, but rugby offers a strong handicap market with New Zealand -6 at 2.00 and Australia +6.00 at 2.00, and a host of alternative handicap markets available. Total points over/unders are also an attractive proposition, O 41.5 is offered at 1.90 with U 41.5 at the same value. There are the usual 1st and 2nd half markets, as well as first and last tryscorers, total and over/under trys and team totals among the myriad of options available. The beauty of following dedicated expert rugby tipsters is that each usually has a niche and is able to exploit it to good effect – there is often value to be found as long as you know where to look for it, and Betadvisor’s professional rugby tipsters certainly do.
All odds courtesy of Bet365 and correct as of 20.00 GMT on Thursday 29th October.
By: Steven Paget