Can Sri Lanka make it 2-0 after setting a few records with their first-up win in Galle?
NZ’s tour of Sri Lanka kicks off in Galle this week with the first of two Test matches.
Can the Black Caps find form at the right time and take it up to the tournament favourites?
Can the Black Caps maintain their unbeaten run when they face the powerful West Indies this weekend?
Can the Proteas put an end to New Zealand’s unbeaten run at the Cricket World Cup?
Can the Kiwis do what the Aussies couldn’t and take down Virat Kohli’s India?
Who: All Blacks vs. Argentina Pumas
When: Monday, September 21, 1:45am
Where: Wembley Stadium, London
2011 Rugby World Cup champion New Zealand is back to defend its title in England.
And what better opportunity for the All Blacks to open their account than against Argentina?
The All Blacks are the favourites ($2.35 at Sportsbet) to win the World Cup next month and they are dominant favourites in the market against the Pumas on Monday.
These two teams have played against each other a lot recently as Argentina joined New Zealand, Australia and South Africa in the Rugby Championship, and even though they haven’t enjoyed much success, they pose a first-up threat for the All Blacks.
New Zealand come into this game having throttled Australia in the Bledisloe Cup at Eden Park and even though they lost the Rugby Championship to Australia the week prior, they were able to gain plenty of momentum heading into this tournament.
Argentina will be wanting to secure a playoff spot as the top two qualify. In a pool that features plenty of minnows, we expect Argentina to play well against New Zealand and comfortably beat the other teams in the pool.
All Blacks vs. Pumas betting markets
It comes as a surprise to no one that the All Blacks are the overwhelming favourites against Argentina. This will be New Zealand’s toughest pool game, however, and they won’t be taking it lightly.
Expect a lineup featuring their top players and if the likes of Richie McCaw and Dan Carter play, the current points spread line might shift out a few points.
New Zealand – $1.03 (-21.5)
Argentina – $10 (+21.5 at Bet365.com)
We don’t see any value betting on the head-to-head markets for either team. New Zealand will win this game, but the $1.03 is worse than bank interest and we would want $25 for Argentina to make the stab worthwhile.
The betting will come in the points spread market where Argentina are getting a try-three head start with bookmakers. The weather throughout the week is scheduled to be fine, but Monday morning is forecast for rain and this could factor into the betting.
The All Blacks have beaten the Pumas by 21 points in their last two games, which puts this total right on the mark. Punters need to figure out whether the All Blacks will be more of a scoring threat in the World Cup, or if they will play a much tighter game first up.
Argentina’s last test was a stunning upset over South Africa so their confidence will be sky-high. Based on this, we’re favouring the always-tough Pumas to keep this game tight throughout.
The margin betting markets is where punters of the All Blacks can make some money for their multi-bets. New Zealand are heavy favourites to win by 13 points or more and it provides a nice 7.5-point gap between the margin betting and the points start option.
New Zealand 13 and over – $1.30
New Zealand 12 and under – $3.50
We think Argentina will keep the game under the 21.5 point start, but not within 13 points. New Zealand should win by at least two tries and adding the $1.30 into multi-bets can take a medium sized profit into a big one.
Alternatively, our bookmakers offer alternate points starts and here’s a couple of value options available.
New Zealand -16.5 ($1.50)
Argentina +16.5 ($2.45)
New Zealand -26.5 ($2.45)
Argentina +26.5 ($1.50)
There is nothing wrong with taking the $1.50 with Argentina to get a few extra points. This game could be a point or two either side of the 21.5, so getting +26.5 is an added bonus.
Throw Argentina +26.5 ($1.50) into multi-bets and get your week off to a winning start.
Current All Blacks squad
The team lineup for both teams hasn’t yet been decided, but we’ve listed the players that are up for selection in the first game of the World Cup. Look for these names in the first tryscorer markets, in particular the All Blacks outside backs in Ben Smith, Sonny Bill Williams and Ma’a Nonu which will all be well favoured to score first on Monday morning.
Sonny Bill Williams
If Ben Smith, Ma’a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams play against Argentina, we like them in the try scoring market. All three players should be within $2.40-$2.80 to score a try throughout the game and the All Blacks should get plenty of scoring opportunities.
The smokey is Fijian-born winger Waisake Naholo who is famously returning from a broken leg. His natural remedies sees him return to the field much sooner than expected and he brings immense power and speed to the All Blacks line up.
Argentina World Cup squad
Argentina’s big names are all there for the 2015 World Cup. Prop Marcos Ayerza has plenty of experience with 60 caps and he will power the forward pack which features Toulon flanker Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.
Horacio Agulla provides some experience in the back line, but many of their players don’t have much experience, especially in World Cups.
Juan Pablo Orlandi
Lucas Noguera Paz
Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Guido Petti Pagadizabal
Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe
Juan Manuel Leguizamon
Javier Ortega Desio
Jeromino de la Fuente
Juan Martin Hernandez
Juan Pablo Socino
Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino
THE 2015 Rugby World Cup is in full swing so we thought we’d highlight the top five players in Rugby World Cup history.
Some great names have been linked to the Webb Ellis Trophy, but none better than our top five, which include an Australian great, a stylistic Englishman, a South African that helped change rugby and two All Blacks with two very different reputations.
We start things with No.5 – an All Black whose faith overruled his need to play on Sundays.
Michael Jones – New Zealand
Michael Jones played for the All Blacks from 1987-1998 in a career that accumulated 55 caps for New Zealand and one for Samoa (1986).
Jones was given the nickname “Iceman” due to the number of icepacks he needed for injuries, but it was his heart that won fans over.
He was named as the third best All Black by Rugby World, sitting behind only Colin Meads and Sean Fitzpatrick.
Jones, due to his Christian beliefs, did not play on Sundays. He was selected for the All Blacks’ 1987 World Cup winning side and the 1991 team, but he missed three games due to his beliefs. Jones scored the first Rugby World Cup try in 1987 and helped pave the way for many All Blacks to come.
Two serious knee injuries kept Jones from setting more records, but Jones will always be considered one of the greatest All Blacks and world players of all time.
He scored 13 international tries and he retired from all rugby in 1999 at the age of 34.
Jonny Wilkinson – England
Coming in at number four is English first-five Jonny Wilkinson.
Wilkinson played for England when they won the 2003 Rugby World Cup and it was his unique kicking style and gritty play that projected him towards the great players in World Cup history.
In his 2003 World Cup debut, Wilkinson scored 16 points against Georgia. He then scored 20 of England’s 25 points against South Africa and that caught the attention of fans all around the world.
In the quarter finals, Wilkinson added his name to the scoring list again with a 23-point display against Wales and although most of his points came through kicking, it was England’s saviour and probably the only reason they progressed through to the finals.
England then beat France 24-7 in the semis where Wilkinson scored all the points and in the final against Australia, he kicked an infamous field goal in extra time to win with just 26 seconds remaining.
It was that clutch kick that put Jonny Wilkinson is our top five as greatest World Cup players of all time.
David Campese – Australia
David “Campo” Campese is an Australian hero for his 1991 World Cup display which have critics saying it was one of the best single displays of rugby ever.
Campese was quoted as saying, “I want to be remembered like Barry John in Wales. I want people to look back and say Campo did this, this and this.”
Campese was indeed remembered after the 1991 World Cup semi-final where he played one of the best games from any player. Campese scored for Australia in the 12th minute when he ran straight past All Black great John Kirwan.
In the 35th minute, Campese made a break, but was confronted by two defenders. With little regard for his body, Campo made a blind pass to teammate Tim Horan, who scored the try.
All Black coach Alex Wylie remarked after the final:
“There’s always Campo, and when you’ve got a player like that in your team you always know probably something is going to happen. He did it again – he just pulled that one out,” Wylie said.
Australia later won the final 12-6 against England, but it was his semi-final display that secures Campese inside our top five.
Francois Pienaar – South Africa
Francois Pienaar captained South African to their 1995 Rugby World Cup win. The win was significant for not only South African rugby, but race relations in South Africa.
The Springboks were ranked only ninth coming into the tournament and no-one gave them a chance, but inspired by the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, the Springboks were able to overcome their adversity and unite a nation.
Throughout the tournament, South Africa defeated the likes of Australia, France and they played against New Zealand in the final.
The game was all tied up in extra time and Pienaar played on despite suffering from a calf strain. The Springboks won by three points after a Joel Stransky field goal as the crowd at Ellis Park went into a frenzy.
Following the game, the William Webb Ellis Trophy was presented to Pienaar by none other than Nelson Mandela, who was wearing Pienaar’s number on his jersey.
The win signified a united South Africa and it forever changed rugby in the African nation. The win was so defining that it was made into a Hollywood movie.
Pienaar was played by American actor Matt Damon in the movie Invictus.
Jonah Lomu – New Zealand
There is only one rugby player that can be noticed no matter which country he is in, and that is Jonah Lomu.
The big All Black winger terrorised opponents in the 1999 Rugby World Cup – scoring an amazing eight tries. Against Tonga he scored twice and he bulldozed over an England winger when scoring against England in pool play.
That play not only became famous for the style, but also for the commentary that accompanied it.
“Lomu, oh, oh!” screamed the New Zealand commentator in what was one of the most physical tries any player has scored in the World Cup.
The All Blacks finished top of their pool and faced Scotland in the quarters where Lomu scored once. He then scored twice in the semis against France, but it wasn’t enough as France scored a stunning 43-31 upset of the All Blacks.
Lomu scored 37 international tries from 63 tests and his career was cut short by consistent kidney problems. Lomu continues to be an ambassador for the Rugby World Cup and his effect on the World Cup will never be forgotten.
He’s our number one because who else could have a Playstation game franchise named after them?
Wallabies vs. All Blacks from 5.35pm AEST, Eden Park, New Zealand
THE BLEDISLOE Cup is on the line at Eden Park this Saturday and the Australian Wallabies are looking to end an 11-year winning streak at that venue.
The All Blacks looked out of sorts last Saturday in Sydney, but rest assured they will come out firing as they look to defend the Bledisloe Cup on a ground they simply don’t lose on.
The last time the All Blacks lost at Eden Park was in 1994 and the bookmakers haven’t missed a beat. Despite putting in one of their worst performances against Australia, the bookmakers have made the All Blacks very short favourites to retain the Bledisloe Cup for another year.
Both teams are preparing for the World Cup in just over a month and winning this game will give either team good momentum leading into that.
Both teams have strong line ups and this game could go either way.
Bledisloe Cup Game 2 odds
New Zealand – $1.22 (-10.5)
Australia – $4.00 (+10.5)
It’s not surprising that the All Blacks are the warm favourites for this clash, but we’re expecting plenty of money to come rolling in for the Australians.
The $2.80 looked like value last week, therefore, the $4.00 available this week looks even more so. We are not saying Australia are going to win, because history tells us they won’t even get close, but their head-to-head price looks tasty regardless.
The points spread line will get the bulk of the attention from punters. The line is 11.5 at some outlets, including CrownBet.com.au, so if you’re looking at taking Australia with the points, it’s best to head there.
On the contrary, if you want to back the All Blacks, the -10.5 is the better option at $1.90 with Sportsbet.com.au as you have more chance of covering.
Margin betting market:
New Zealand 13+ @ $2.10
New Zealand 1-12 @ $2.50
Australia 1-12 @ $5.25
Australia 13+ @ $14
Draw @ $26
Punters that expect the All Blacks to win convincingly will be looking towards the New Zealand 13+ option at $2.10.
The price is a little higher and most punters thinking is that if the All Blacks are going to win by 11, they will probably also cover a line of 13. The most common winning margins in rugby union are 3, 5, 8, 10 and 13, therefore there is no real risk in the points differential between the 10.5 and the 13+.
Bledisloe Cup winning predictions
There are a few ways to bet the Bledisloe Cup this Saturday and we have listed them below.
- Take the All Blacks to win at $1.22 and add some value in your multi-bets.
- More risk, but take the All Blacks at either -10.5 or 13+ at $2.10.
- Abandon all theory and take Australia to win at $4.00
We think the All Blacks will come to play this weekend. New Zealand would likely go into disarray if they were to lose their last two matches heading into the World Cup, so we can’t see them losing this game.
The Eden Park hoodoo is real and for some reason or another, the All Blacks simply don’t lose in Auckland. The sold-out crowd dressed in black is a daunting place to play rugby, so expect a more dominant display for the world’s best team.
Team line ups and first try scorer odds
Julian Savea – $8.50
Nehe Milner-Skudder – $8.50
Ben Smith – $11 at CrownBet.com.au
Conrad Smith – $15
Ma’a Nonu – $15
Aaron Smith – $15
TJ Perenara – $17
Malakai Fekitoa – $17
Kieran Reid – $17
Colin Slade – $21
Dan Carter – $21
Jerome Kaino – $21
Sam Cane – $21
Victor Vito – $21
Richie McCaw – $21
Dane Coles – $26
Kevin Mealamu – $26
Brodie Retallick – $36
Sam Whitelock – $41
Tony Woodcock – $46
Nepo Laulala – $46
Wyatt Crockett – $46
Owen Franks – $46
Kurtley Beale – $15
Henry Speight – $15
Adam Ashley-Cooper – $15
Israel Folau – $15
Tevita Kuridrani – $20
Matt Toomua – $26 ($6 to score any time at Sportsbet)
Matt Giteau – $26
David Pocock – $34
Wycliff Palu – $34
Nic White -$34
Quade Cooper – $36
Michael Hooper – $41
Tatafu Polota-Nau – $46
Scott Fardy – $46
Stephen Moore – $51
Will Skelton – $56
James Horwill – $67
Sekope Kepu – $67
Scott Sio – $67
Dean Mumm – $67
Kane Douglas – $67
James Slipper – $81
Greg Holmes – $81
Fifth ODI – 10:30am local time on Saturday, June 20, 2015 at the Riverside Ground, Chester-le-Street
England – $2.00 at www.Sportsbet.com
New Zealand – $1.90 at Crownbet.com
SINCE when was England and New Zealand a recipe for some of the most scintillating one-day cricket in recent memory?
This series was supposed to confirm the Kiwis’ rise to the big leagues while the host side simply tried to avoid the kind of embarrassment they suffered at the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup.
But the Brits haven’t been scrappy, or battling, or doggedly competitive. They’ve been downright good to watch.
Wednesday’s series-levelling win at Trent Bridge provided a perfect snapshot of the Poms’ newfound joie de vivre. Having been set 350 to win, they needed only 44 of their allotted 50 overs as Eoin Morgan and Joe Root each notched centuries en route to a remarkable seven-wicket victory.
It was England’s highest-ever successful run chase in One Day Internationals, and it puts them in a strong position to win their first home series in three years.
Results aside, it’s the fearless, daring brand of cricket on display that has English fans most excited. They have now scored 300+ in four consecutive games – something they had never done before this series – and each of their top seven batsmen is striking at better than 95 runs per 100 balls faced.
Although a few of the same names are there, this side as a whole is unrecognisable from the one which failed to even scare the knockout rounds of the World Cup a few months ago.
Former England spinner Graeme Swann had special praise for the captain, Morgan, who came out of CWC 2015 under enormous pressure after managing just 90 runs in five outings.
“I don’t believe I’ve just seen that. Even the staunchest England fans wouldn’t have given them much hope there,” Swann said on BBC’s Test Match Special after the game.
“Eoin Morgan has gone through hell in the last year with the bat, and bounced back incredibly well. Joe Root has been overshadowed by him, yet he’s scored an unbeaten century at more than a run a ball.
“England haven’t been ahead of the game in one-day cricket for a long time, but they’ve taken stock and aped New Zealand completely.”
Nevertheless, most online bookmakers have New Zealand ($1.90 at CrownBet) as the slight favourites to bounce back in Durham this weekend and clinch what has been a breathtaking ODI series.
It’s hard to bet against the World Cup finalists, whose burgeoning talent base and devil-may-care approach has seen them become every neutral’s second-favourite team over the past year or so.
There’s very little wrong in the batting department. Even though the likes of Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill and Grant Elliott weren’t at their fluid best in Nottingham, only one player (Luke Ronchi) in the Black Caps’ top seven failed to pass 35 runs in what would usually be considered a very healthy total of 7/349.
But the Kiwis have definitely felt the absence of star left-arm quick Trent Boult, who was ruled out of the series with a back injury after pulling up sore from the win at Kennington Oval last week.
Having watched every one of his bowlers concede at least seven runs per over in match four, New Zealand head coach Mike Hesson admitted his attack would have to be much more focused if they wished to turn the tables on Saturday.
“You’ve got to take wickets or create pressure – or ultimately you do both,” Hesson told the press after Wednesday’s loss.
“We struggled to create a succession of dot balls. We struggled to create a succession of overs that didn’t go for boundaries.
“We were both full and short, it wasn’t just one. It’s quite a young bowling attack in many ways and it was a good lesson for us.”
England and NZ ODI squads
England: Eoin Morgan (C), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, David Willey, Mark Wood
New Zealand: Brendon McCullum (C), Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Andrew Mathieson, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Luke Ronchi, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler, Kane Williamson
Result – England to win ($2.00 at Sportsbet)
Highest first 15 overs – England ($2.03 at www.Crownbet.com)
Highest opening partnership – England ($2.00 at Luxbet.com)
Even with the home side high on confidence, most online sportsbooks have the Kiwis as slender favourites in the key ODI match betting markets. While the neutrals will surely be rooting for the visitors, we reckon England is every chance to keep the good times rolling at Chester-le-Street.
Although the prices are pretty tight across the board, there is a little bit of value to be had in the first innings batting odds. Hales and Roy have at least matched McCullum and Guptill as an opening pair thus far, so anything over $2 for the England duo to outscore their Kiwi counterparts is well worth a punt.
ENG vs NZ best batsman odds
England – Eoin Morgan ($4.75 at www.Bet365.com)
With consecutive scores of 50, 88, 71 and 113 this series, the Irish-born skipper epitomises England’s remarkable turnaround since that disastrous 2015 World Cup. In this kind of touch, he’s one of the most dangerous batsmen in world cricket.
New Zealand – Kane Williamson ($3.85 at William Hill)
At just 24 years of age, Williamson is already the cornerstone of this emerging New Zealand team. The Kiwi number three has posted two 90s and a century in the last three games, so you can’t look past him on pure form.
Value bets for top team bowler
England – Ben Stokes ($5.00 at www.WilliamHill.com)
Although still finding his feet in international cricket, Stokes is already being pegged as the man to pick up where Andrew Flintoff left off. Six wickets in the last three games makes him one of England’s most consistent contributors with the ball in hand.
New Zealand – Tim Southee ($3.75 at Sportsbet.com)
With Boult, Adam Milne and Corey Anderson all out injured, 26-year-old Southee is the old hand in a very green Black Caps attacks. His form has been scratchy in 2015, but figures of 3/44 in the third ODI at Southampton showed that he’s still a real threat against the top and the tail alike.