Southern Hemisphere Rugby Championship week 1 tips feature Habana wincast
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | August 19, 2016
Habana wincast among Rugby Championship week 1 tips
Last year’s Rugby World Cup semi-finals were an entirely Southern Hemisphere affair, so are Rugby Championship quartet New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina still union’s elite?
Judging by their Summer Test campaigns, only the mighty All Blacks remain irrepressible. Coral go as short as 1/5 that New Zealand regain the Rugby Championship crown from neighbours the Wallabies (6/1), who were whitewashed by Six Nations Grand Slam winners England in their own backyard.
While that happened, Steve Hansen’s side did the same thing to touring Wales; the Springboks (7/1) had to come from behind to just edge their three-Test series with Ireland; and the Pumas (80/1) had a mixed campaign against Europe’s also-rans Italy and France.
So what look like tasty bets to back as the All Blacks travel to Australia and South Africa host Argentina? Our expert tipsters look at the best Rugby Championship week 1 tips…
Australia v New Zealand
Although the All Blacks haven’t won in Sydney since 2013, it’d be very brave to bet against them.
For all of Michael Cheika’s continuity with the Wallabies – all but two of the starting XV he’s named began the Rugby World Cup final – it’s the alternative handicap markets where there’s real value.
All Blacks win with -14 handicap
Terrific 13/8 odds say New Zealand can win with a 14-point deficit. That’s a handicap they’ve covered in three of the last five Tests they’ve played against their bitter rivals.
If the Kiwi contingent were 17 points better than an Aussie side which is the same as when they last met, apart from Scott Fardy and Drew Mitchell, then there’s no reason why they can’t win with a -14 handicap again.
Ashley-Cooper anytime tryscorer for Wallabies
Yet Australia will not be without threats to the All Blacks, and to see a man like Adam Ashley-Cooper on the wing with nine career tries against them at a tasty 2/1 anytime price is attractive.
Ashley-Cooper is one of three experienced backs recalled by Cheika, with Matt Giteau and Will Genia allowed to reprise long-standing centre and half back partnerships alongside Tevia Kuridrani and Bernard Foley respectively.
Rob Horne, Matt Toouma and Nick Phipps are all kept in reserve, despite little joy during England’s historic Tour triumph Down Under.
Ben Smith worth a bet to cross for Kiwis
Hansen’s visiting side has just half a dozen remaining of the victors from the Twickenham turf last autumn, yet New Zealand have shown they are better able to blood newer faces at this level.
Versatile back Ben Smith is an old hand, however, and has been used to devastating effect in All Blacks colours on the wing against Australia. With five tries in just two starts in this position when previously paired with the Wallabies, Smith should be shorter than 6/4 in the anytime market.
The faces around him may have changed with New Zealand’s only real consistency coming at lock, but Smith should be considered a serious danger to the Aussies. There’s also Julian Savea among the replacements, so he might well be worth an in-play betting punt.
South Africa v Argentina
When you’ve won all but two of the head-to-heads, losing one and drawing the other, it’s little wonder the Springboks start as firm match favourites, yet a far from vintage Ireland really got at South Africa earlier this summer…
Springboks secure victory by 11-15 margin
Both of last year’s meetings saw the Rainbow nation run out winners in the 11-15 points bracket, so taking the 11/2 on offer for them to win by such a margin again makes sense.
South Africa are a side in transition, but carry better form than the Pumas into their latest battle, and have a not so secret weapon back in Proteas ranks…
Bryan Habana wincast
Legendary Springboks winger Bryan Habana has seven tries in 12 Tests against Argentina and 64 in his international career. Watching him tear away down the turf over the years has been an absolute pleasure.
With such a terrific record in the fixture, getting all over the 8/11 Habana wincast makes perfect sense and rewards punters with better odds than the 1/2 available on him in the anytime market.
Pumas penalty worth a punt as first scoring play
Under Allister Coetzee, South African discipline has been far from strict and Argentina have the perfect man to exploit that in kicker Nicolas Sanchez.
As undisputed first-choice for the Pumas when aiming over the posts, this comes in stark contrast to the Springboks, who remain without fly half duo Handre Pollard and Pat Lambie.
Some of the Proteas forwards picked to start are inexperienced, with Pieter-Steph du Toit being benched eyebrow-raising after his all-action displays against Ireland. That makes a 2/1 punt on the first scoring play being an Argentine penalty all the more intriguing.
Rugby Championship week 1 tips
Bryan Habana wincast for Springboks (8/11)
Ben Smith anytime tryscorer v Wallabies (6/4)
New Zealand beat Australia with -14 handicap (13/8)
Argentina penalty is first scoring play v South Africa (2/1)
Adam Ashley-Cooper anytime tryscorer v All Blacks (2/1)
South Africa beat Argentina by 11-15 points (11/2)