Rugby World Cup semis: All Blacks stronger than Springboks
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | October 23, 2015
South Africa v New Zealand
- Rugby World Cup semi-final
- Saturday, October 24th
- Kick-off: 16:00 BST
- Twickenham Stadium, London
- Live on ITV
Southern Hemisphere heavyweights face off
Rugby World Cup favourites New Zealand have dominated recent head-to-heads against semi-final foes South Africa, winning six of the seven fixtures which Heyneke Meyer has presided over Springboks selections.
Coral expect an All Blacks victory at Twickenham in the first semi-final of this tournament at an odds-on 2/7 price in 80 minutes. South Africa, meanwhile, are on offer at 10/3 to upset the number one ranked rugby union nation in the world.
This tasty fixture pits two sets of powerful physical specimens against one another, and to fans of the sport requires no introduction.
More than just Habana v Savea
Although there are two sets of starting XVs taking to the field, it is all too tempting to look straight away at the protagonists in each camp. The unchanged Springboks will be hoping wing hero Bryan Habana can make history and inspire them to victory.
Currently tied with New Zealand legend Jonah Lomu with 15 tries at Rugby World Cup finals, Habana has crossed seven times against the All Blacks in 22 Tests. That makes anytime odds of 9/4 a terrific price and well worth considering.
Kiwi counterpart Julian Savea, meanwhile, is the 2015 tournament’s top tryscorer going over eight times so far, yet has failed to cross against South Africa in five previous meetings. He can only amend that record, especially after an awesome hat-trick during the impressive win over France last time out, though, and is a 5/1 shot for two tries or more again.
JP Pietersen, a tasty 10/3 for a try anytime, and Nehe Milner-Skudder (7/4 in the same market) are their respective countries’ other options, and join the above in needing to be shackled. Stopping the rampant wingers will be the key to victory here.
History hints at narrow margin
When assessing the margins betting, punters have to choose between safer but broader brackets and small but bolder ones with better prices. A New Zealand win is on the cards, but by how much?
Taking the 15/8 on offer for an All Blacks victory by 1-10 points is fine, but if you feel they’re more than penalty points or a drop goal better, then being more specific has its rewards.
A nifty 9/2 price says New Zealand will beat the Springboks by a margin of 6-10 and, given the different manner of how they booked their semi spots, another close contest like the Wales encounter cannot be ruled out.
There is no indication South Africa will simply roll over like Les Bleus did, though, and this is also reflected in the handicap market being set at just seven points. What the All Blacks face here is their toughest test yet, but should run out winners by at least a try with three of those six recent victories coming by 10 points or less.
Coral’s top tip: Meyer’s miserable record for South Africa against New Zealand means it’s the All Blacks you need to back at 9/2 to win by 6-10 points.