Rugby World Cup: Argentina, Italy and Japan firm favourites on Sunday
Coral rugby writers look at the rest of the action from the final day of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Argentina v Namibia
With the Pumas’ place alongside Pool C winners and tournament favourites New Zealand already assured, their second string tackles African minnows Namibia for the third time at a Rugby World Cup.
Previous handsome wins of 60 and 53 points more than justifies Argentina’s overwhelming odds-on price of 1/250 for victory again. The handicap is set at 42, so is worth taking for a better return of evens, especially as Namibia captain Jacques Burger immediately announced his retirement after the narrow loss to Georgia.
There’s even more to like about the 51-60 points margin of victory bracket because of the above mauling at a superb 7/2 price. Four of the Pumas back row are odds-on for tries anytime, though hooker Julian Montoya is 6/4 to cross again after going over against Tonga.
It looks like being a close contest in this Pool D dead rubber, as each of the last three encounters have been decided by a margin of eight points or less. Italy took two of those victories, and thus they are odds-on at 1/7 to end their participation at the Rugby World Cup on a high.
Romania’s comeback spirit against Canada was notable, but they’re 11/2 outsiders again, although the Azzurri are once again without captain Sergio Parisse. Winger Giovanbattista Venditti is worth a wager at 6/1 to get the first try.
Valentin Ursache may be the best chance of a Romanian including in their XV crossing, and he’s 6/1 to go over anytime, with the 6-10 points bracket appealing as Italy’s margin of victory.
The Brave Blossoms have won their last four head-to-heads with the Eagles by at least a try’s difference, so they’re odds-on 1/6 favourites for victory in the final game Pool B, yet they could be bowing out if Scotland beat Samoa.
A winning margin of 6-10 points for Japan looks good at a fabulous 5/1, but the handicap market may be one to avoid as it is set at 13 (two converted tries) for an even-money return.
With the USA yet to pick up a point, they are 5/1 outsiders to upset the East Asian outfit, and they must strive for better discipline.
Conceding 20 penalties in three group games so far is a worrying amount, especially with Ayumu Goromaru’s proficient kicking. He is also 7/4 to go over for a try anytime, while the first scoring play being a Japanese penalty is an 11/8 chance.