TALK about putting your money where your mouth is.
Australian Rugby Union could be $3 million richer after the weekend’s World Cup final, provided the Wallabies ($3.50) can get past the short priced All Blacks ($1.36).
Yep, that’s right, it is reported that the ARU was so confident its side could go all the way and hoist the Webb Ellis trophy, that it allegedly splashed out a $300,000 bet through a corporate bookmaker and, if the Aussies can beat their cross ditch rivals, they’ll be looking at a massive return.
It is legal, apparently, because the bet is declared insurance to minimise losses in case the ARU has to pay the players big winner’s bonuses if they do take home the title – each player gets a $100,000 bonus if they can do that.
It’s understood the ARU has punted on the Wallabies to win at each world cup since 1999.
An ARU spokesman told a news outlet: “We have an arrangement in place with RUPA around player bonuses for the Rugby World Cup, the details of which are in commercial confidence,” the paper wrote.
“This arrangement is not inconsistent with what we’ve had in place for previous World Cups.”
Get ready to have some bleary eyes next Sunday when the rivalry to end all rivalries comes to its climactic crescendo as Australia takes on New Zealand in the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup final.
Kick off at London’s Twickenham Stadium is at 3am on Sunday, but rugby union fans wouldn’t miss it for the world.
And the All Blacks are the heavy favourites to account for the Wallabies.
After narrowly squeaking past Scotland in the quarter finals, the Wallabies left nothing to chance against Argentina, storming to a 29-15 win in the semi, thanks largely to a superlative performance from Aussie legend Adam Ashley-Cooper.
Ashley-Cooper’s hat trick put the Aussies into their fourth World Cup final, but their first in 12 years.
He was named the man of the match, but David Pocock and Scott Fardy could certainly feel themselves unlucky – they were the engine room, the men who set the wheels in motion and gave Ashley-Cooper the freedom to attack.
“We knew they would play from everywhere in the field and they did that tonight,” Ashley-Cooper said.
“Our defence was huge right across the park.
“The defensive line was really strong.”
Lauded Australian coach Michael Cheika said Argentina was a worthy foe, but he was now worried about the monstrous All Blacks.
“We had to work hard to stop them (Argentina) scoring a try so I’m really happy with our defence,” Cheika said.
“We gave away too many penalties in the first half but tried to rectify that in the second.
“Overall, I’m happy we scored four tries, I think we can improve again, and that’s important.”
His captain, Stephen Moore said the Wallabies would need to bounce back after the Argentineans “took a fair bit out of the tank.”
“We know the task now is huge and we’ll have to play really well,” Moore said.
The images of Pocock’s bloodied face have been replayed over and over and are set to be yet another iconic image in the annals of Wallabies history.
“It was incredibly tough – as we knew it would be,” Pocock said of the match.
“Credit to Argentina, it was physical, but both teams looked to use the ball and both teams were working hard until the 80th minute.
“I thought there were a few pieces of finishing from our back line which was the difference, but it was tough.”
The All Blacks not only had the weight of their nation, but also that of one Sportsbet punter who had an incredible $180,000 bet on New Zealand to defeat France in the quarters, the win giving him a $42,200.
And, after passing that test and leaving one very happy punter, the New Zealanders scraped over the line against South Africa, 20-18, coming from behind to record the win and book their spot in the final.
New Zealand legend Dan Carter’s field goal early in the second half while try scorer Jeremy Kaino was in the sin bin gave the All Blacks the impetus to over take their tiring opponents. Beauden Barritt was the other try scorer.
Captain Richie McCaw has the chance to become the only man to win the World Cup twice, indicating just how difficult a competition this is.
“We did it the hard way,” McCaw said.
“It was always going to be that way but we’ve got a crack at it (the final).
“We’ve been saying they would bring everything.
“There were no surprises and we had to dig deep to get the result.”
McCaw might have had a sweaty brow for a while after the match, after fears he would be cited over a stray elbow during the match up with South Africa.
The veteran is set to retire after the final and it would have been a tragedy, had he missed, but world cup officials have cleared him to play, without being cited.
The hysteria around McCaw was kicked off on social media, but All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said the star was always in the gun.
“He is a man that draws a lot of attention because he has been a great player, probably the greatest player, certainly to play for the All Blacks, and maybe even in the history of the game,” Hansen said.
“So if he is not in your team he is a pain the rear end.
”So you can’t get him on the track, let’s get off the track sort of thing.
“It is a mark of respect.
“There are some people who are probably a bit bitter and twisted about him.
“And 99 per cent of people in rugby, whilst he is not playing against them, like him.”
Carters will play in his first World Cup final after missing the New Zealanders’ last trip to the big dance with injury.
“The smile on my face at the end of the game… I was pretty relieved,” Carters said.
“To hold out in the last five minutes there was awesome.
“To give ourselves another week and a chance to play in the final, it’s exciting times.”
Coach Hansen said the defending champions had to dig deep and harness plenty of self belief to get past the Springboks.
“We’ve had moments where we had to keep that self belief,” Hansen said.
“Then in those moments it’s just about the process.
“It becomes the norm.
“It’s a learned skill and self belief is massive.”
If the All Blacks can take out the Aussies, as many are tipping them to do, they will become the first team to ever win back to back World Cup titles.
2015 Rugby Union World Cup final markets
Head to head: $1.36
Line: $1.93 (-6.5)
Win by 13 plus: $2.85
Win by 1-12: $2.50
Head to head: $3.50
Line: $1.88 (+6.5)
Win by 13 plus: $11
Win by 1-12: $4.25
South Africa: ($1.32)
Odds provided by CrownBet.com.au
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