Rugby World Cup quarter-finals: New Zealand to batter France
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | October 15, 2015
New Zealand v France
Rugby World Cup 2015 quarter-final
Saturday, October 17th
Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Live on ITV
All Blacks worthy favourites to reach semis
New Zealand have won eight of their nine matches with France since being beaten by Les Bleus at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and scored double the amount of tries managed by Les Bleus in the Pool Stage of this edition.
It’s little wonder, then, Coral make the All Blacks odds-on at 2/11 to win this quarter-final clash in 80 minutes, and the French are big outsiders at 5/1.
McCaw and Parra return for respective nations
Flanker Richie McCaw is recalled by New Zealand after being rested against Tonga last time out, while Les Bleus boss Philippe Saint-Andre drops centre Mathieu Bastareaud and promotes kicker Morgan Parra into his XV at scrum half, whose experience identified his experience as important.
“Morgan’s a big competitor. We’re counting on his leadership skills, especially with the forwards,” said Saint-Andre. “I expect first we get more ball than last week because the set-piece wasn’t good. We need more ball and to use it and play rugby. Last week, we were 70 per cent in defence and only 30 in attack.”
Alexandre Dumoulin’s inclusion suggests that France will try and attack the All Blacks out wide, and his partnership with Wesley Fofana, who is 7/2 for a try anytime, at centre will be key to their hopes.
How do you solve a problem like Savea?
Les Bleus have simply not been getting enough from their own wide players, but Brice Dulin is picked again despite failing to deliver at this Rugby World Cup. Fofana remains their most likely threat.
Nobody could accuse New Zealand’s wingers of shirking their responsibilities, though. Julian Savea tops the tryscorer charts with five, and he’s 11/2 for two or more here, as well as being an 11/4 chance to cross during the second-half having grabbed three after the interval so far.
Down the other side, Nehe Milner-Skudder gets the nod and he features in a 15/8 wincast, with the rampant All Blacks looking better in every department than the French.
With the handicap market set by Coral at just 12 points, New Zealand are much more attractive than the outright match betting at 10/11 to cover that deficit, but also appeal for a healthy margin of victory in the 11-20 bracket at a nifty 9/4. The All Blacks ought to run out at least two converted tries better than Les Bleus.
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Coral’s top tip: France have flattered to deceive so far, and are in line for a reality check from New Zealand, who are splendid value to win by 11-20 points at 9/4.