It’s difficult to imagine it’s already been over a year since the 2015 Rugby World Cup final, but the Autumn Internationals are back!
This weekend sees Ireland and Wales face the might of the Southern hemisphere as they take on New Zealand and Australia respectively.
To celebrate the return of international rugby to our screens, we’ve put together a tasty double that can deliver for punters at 5/1 for this weekend’s games.
With the Lions series due to take place in the summer, Rob Howley once again steps in as Wales head coach for Warren Gatland’s sabbatical – like he did in 2012 and 2013.
He picks up a Welch side in a funny place at the moment, they certainly had their moments during the summer tour of New Zealand. However, they are currently on the back of losing five of their last six.
Howley definitely has some work to do, but must plan for the visit of Australia without the likes Sam Warburton and Taulupe Faletau, who are ruled out with injuries. These add to the loss of lock talismatic Alun Wyn Jones, he’s understandably not available after the passing of his father.
Australia arrive at the ground now known as the Principality Stadium in a foul mood following their lost to the All Blacks last time out. Accusations of bugging and an ugly row over a New Zealand newspaper depicting the Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika as clown will ensure the Aussies will be all out for victory on Saturday.
— Tim Groves (@TimGrovesSport) October 22, 2016
Given that Australia have won the last 11 contests between the sides they are justifiably favourites to make it 12. Wales have been boosted by the return of Toulon’s Leigh Halfpenny after over a year’s injury absence, but we just can’t see them being victorious at .
The bet we are going to punt for here is Australia to win both halves at , thanks in part to their recent utter dominance of this fixture.
Where do we start here to describe how little a chance of winning the Boys in Green have?
Do we talk about the All Blacks arriving into the game on the back of an astounding 18-game winning run? Or focus on the fact that Ireland are facing back-to-back World Cup winners!
And who could ever forget the that Ireland have never, ever beaten the mighty New Zealand – despite 28 cracks at them since the sides first met at Lansdowne Road in 1905. There’s been many close calls, but a single 10-10 draw in 1973 remains Ireland’s best result in this fixture.
Is it any wonder the All Blacks are massive favourites then? Not really, but as the Chicago Cubs showed on Wednesday night records (and curses) are there to be broken! Just maybe not this weekend…
Chicago is ironically the venue for this game and New Zealand will enter Soldier Field without star locks Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock, but should have more than enough to see off a Joe Schmidt outfit missing the likes of Sean O’Brien, Peter O’Mahony and Iain Henderson.
The handicap bet of New Zealand (-23.0) at seems a bit unfair to us however, and we think Ireland can keep it under 20 against a rampant All-Blacks outfit.
So we are going to with the alternate 2 way handicap of New Zealand (-19.5) at to round our 5/1 double.