Wales betting scandal rocks Rugby World Cup Wales assistant coach Rob Howley sent home to answer betting allegations
The 2019 Rugby World Cup does not start until Friday, but Wales’ campaign is already on the rocks after assistant coach Rob Howley was sent home to address allegations of illicit betting activity.
Can Wales reap some revenge for last week’s loss at Twickenham?
After closing the year on a frivolous note in Cape Town, Kenya‘s campaign in the HSBC Sevens World Series is steadily but surely gaining momentum.
Shujaa registered better results during the Sydney and Hamilton legs held in January and February respectively, but head coach Innocent Simiyu is adamant of a consummate performance this time round.
The World Series heads to Las Vegas, Nevada this weekend before navigating north to Vancouver a week later. Kenya is currently eighth on the table after chalking up 12 points from Hamilton, taking their total for the 2018 campaign to 35 points.
Simiyu ardently maintains that his target for the season is to attain 100 points, and the former Kenya Sevens captain will be marshalling his charges for the cause, having been placed in a relatively favorable Pool A alongside France, Russia and heavyweights Fiji.
Kenya will draw inspiration from their rip-roaring win over Russia towards the tail end of last year and their marginal victory over France in Sydney, but it is Fiji that the East Africans will be most wary of.
The Flying Fijians proved they were worth their salt when then rallied a brilliant comeback in the Hamilton Cup Final to register a stunning 24-17 win over reigning HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions South Africa.
The enthralling campaign has the South Pacific islanders up to third on the standings with 62 points, 7 points behind second placed New Zealand and a distant 15 points adrift of leaders South Africa.
Kenya and the more accomplished sides are worlds apart in every sense of the word, but Shujaa have received a massive boost with the return of winger Collins Injera.
Injera, the second leading all-time try scorer in the Sevens World Series, is expected to slot straight back into the line-up after recovering from a hamstring injury sustained during the Dubai circuit.
He will be joined by powerhouse Billy Odhiambo who likewise missed the outings in Cape Town, Hamilton and Sydney due to injury; the two however selected at the expense of Brian Tanga and Augustine Lugonzo.
The return of the duo not only helps to stave off competition in their pool, but certainly gives Kenya a fighting chance, even as ‘Namcos’ Simiyu looks to inspire his side to a first Cup semi-final since taking over the reins of power from Benjamin Ayimba a little over a year ago.
Nonetheless, the team will be without the services of skipper Oscar Ayodi, who is still recuperating from a cartilage injury and Frank Wanyama who has been waylaid by pending duties in school.
Brian Tanga and Dennis Ombachi are slated to miss the next two circuits due to injury while Augustine Lugonzo is out due to work related commitment.
Seeing as it is a clustered season with the Commonwealth games scheduled for April and the much anticipated World Cup set for July, the Kenya sevens boss has issued a stern warning demanding performances shaped by utter grit and determination, emphasizing that there will be no joyrides under his watch.
Kenya 7s team for the Las Vegas and Vancouver tour
Oscar Ouma(Top Fry Nakuru, Captain), Samuel Oliech (Resolution Impala Saracens, Vice Captain), Andrew Amonde (KCB), Eden Agero (SportPesa Quins), Willy Ambaka (SportPesa Quins) Dan Sikuta (Kabras Sugar), Jeff Oluoch (Menengai Cream Homeboyz), Nelson Oyoo (Top Fry Nakuru), Arthur Owira (KCB), Billy Odhiambo (Stanbic Mwamba), Collins Injera (Stanbic Mwamba), Erick Ombasa (Menengai Oilers) and Samuel Ng’ethe (Menengai Oilers).
Overall Sevens World Series prospects
Defending champions South Africa are heavily backed at $1.67 on Sportsbet.com.au whereas Fiji is at $6. The Kenya national rugby sevens team is ninth in the rankings, at $501 to win the coveted prize.
The return of Injera and Odhiambo could very well help spur the team; one that may see Shujaa rake up their highest points thus far into the season.
Kenya 7s fixtures
Kenya vs. France: Saturday, March 3, 2018 -10:44a.m AEDT – Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, United States
Kenya vs. Russia: Saturday, March 3, 2018 – 1:45p.m AEDT – Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, United States
Kenya vs. Fiji: Sunday, March 4, 2018 – 7.36a.m AEDT – Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, United States
*The Vancouver sevens series is slated for March 10-11, 2018.
Kenya 7s recent results
Fiji 24-5 Kenya (January 28, 2018)
France 14-17 Kenya (January 27, 2018)
Kenya 34-0 Russia (December 9, 2017)
It’s strange, but true… more money has been placed on the Melbourne Rebels to win the Super Rugby title than any other side.
In fact, there’s nearly three times the dollars invested on them compared to the Crusaders and Hurricanes, who head the market.
As a result, the Rebels’ price has shortened from $301 to $31. One punter has placed $1,000 on Melbourne at $100 for a potential collect of $100,000.
The Rebels are also the most popular to win the Australian Conference at $4.00 with online bookmaker Sportsbet.com.au, however the Waratahs are favourites at $2.40 just ahead of the Brumbies at $3.00.
“The Rebels have picked up quite a few Wallabies from the Western Force, but the amount of support they’ve received has taken us by surprise,” said Sportsbet’s Christian Jantzen.
“They should be the big improvers, but surely won’t win the title!”
Super Rugby winner
$31 Rebels (in from $301)
Australian Conference winner
Rebels v Reds
Sunwolves v Brumbies
Waratahs v Stormers
The final game has come. It’s the Hurricanes up against the Lions in the Super Rugby finale – get all the best betting tips ahead of the ultimate decider here.
Punters are backing the Hayne Plane to land anywhere from union to soccer, while Wests Tigers have shortened in the premiership betting – for the reserves.
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?
AFTER a dismal performance in the recent Ashes test, the Australians need something to cheer about, but can it come this Saturday when the Wallabies take on the All Blacks for the Bledisloe Cup?
History would tell us that Australia can’t beat New Zealand, but they both share the lead in the Rugby Championship after wins against Argentina and South Africa, so anything can happen.
The All Blacks travelled to South Africa and captain Richie McCaw scored them a late try, whereas Australia hosted to Proteas and completed an incredible last second comeback to snatch the victory – they then went on to defeat Argentina easily.
This test will be played at ANZ Stadium at 8:05pm this Saturday night and we’re expecting a massive crowd on hand to see how well Australia are travelling towards the upcoming World Cup.
Wallabies vs. All Blacks Game 1 betting markets
For Australia to win the Bledisloe Cup, the first must win this Saturday night and also again next week at the fortress that is Eden Park.
Being the challenger and trying to win the Bledisloe Cup seems an unlikely task for Australia, but first-things-first, they will try and win Game 1.
New Zealand are dominating favourites at $1.45 with Sportsbet.com.au, but the points start line sits at 5.5 and it’s anyone’s game.
Australia – $2.80 at www.Sportsbet.com
New Zealand – $1.45
Money has come for the Wallabies at $2.80 as that price represents plenty of value with punters. The $1.45 for the All Blacks has been a more popular choice with multi-bet punters and many are trending towards the points start market instead.
Points start odds:
Australia +5.5 – $1.92
New Zealand -5.5 – $1.92
From the form we have seen so far this Rugby Championship, this game should be close and everyone would want to see the Bledisloe Cup go on the line next week at Eden Park in Auckland.
The rugby gods don’t always comply, however, and going forward you would expect New Zealand to enter the World Cup on an unbeaten run.
We don’t see much value in taking the AB’s -5.5 so we suggest taking the head-to-head option at $1.45 or completely jumping ship and taking the value at $2.80 with Australia.
Team lists and first try scorer odds
Israel Folau – $13
Adam Ashley-Cooper – $14
Drew Mitchell – $14
Kurtley Beale – $15
Tevita Kuridrani – $19 at Sportsbet.com.au
Matt Toomua – $21
Matt Giteau – $21
Nic White – $23
Nick Phipps – $23
Ben McCalman – $23
Michael Hooper – $26
Bernard Foley – $26
David Pocock – $26
Stephen Moore – $34
Tatafu Polota-Nau – $36
Reserves – Dean Mumm, Scott Fardy, Will Skelton, James Horwill, Greg Holmes, Sekope Kepu, Scott Sio, James Slipper.
Julian Savea – $8.50
Nehe Milner-Skudder – $10
Malakai Fekitoa – $12
Ben Smith – $13 at CrownBet.com.au
Aaron Smith – $15
Conrad Smith – $15
Sonny Bill Williams – $15
Kieran Reid – $17
TJ Perenara – $17
Beauden Barrett – $19
Sam Cane – $23
Richie McCaw – $23
Dan Carter – $23
Jerome Kaino – $23
Dane Coles – $26
Reserves – Codie Taylor, Brodie Retallick, Luke Romano, Sam Whitelock, Ben Franks, Owen Franks, Tony Woodcock, Nepo Laulala.
Latest Bledisloe Cup news
Nehe Milner-Skudder might have a cracking name, but the 24-year-old has high expectations for his Bledisloe Cup debut this Saturday against Australia.
The right winger will partner noted try-scorer Julian Savea on the wings and with a backline featuring the likes of Ben Smith and Sonny Bill Williams, the All Black attacking machine could be tough to stop.
All Black coach Steve Hansen said the team prepared well for the opening test.
“The Bledisloe Cup is an important trophy for New Zealand rugby and for this team, and Australia is one of our oldest opponents. We are well aware that they have made improvements and that their coach Cheika wants them to be more physical and more consistent,” Hansen said.
“Having said that, we are always looking to improve our game and understand that we will have to take a step up from our Ellis Park performance. This means we will need to bring physicality, intensity and accuracy to the occasion. I am picking this to be a brutal contest, and one we are looking forward to. It will be about us implementing our game plan and skill sets for 80-plus minutes.”
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has opted to start both Michael Hooper and David Pocock for their upcoming test against the All Blacks.
For the first time, both players will start a test and Cheika believes his side is just lucky to have two quality flankers.
“Australian Rugby is very fortunate to have some quality flankers competing for the number seven jumper,” Cheika said.
“Both players have been in outstanding form for club and country this season and have shown class in sharing the spot in the first two matches.
“They now have an opportunity to start a test together which they are very excited about.”
Pocock will start in the number eight jersey with Hooper in seven.