CAPE TOWN – It’s been a fascinating month of international rugby and Ireland’s magnificent win against the All Blacks has understandably meant a slash in their 2019 World Cup-winning odds. I still have the All Blacks as the team to beat in Japan and two defeats in an international season isn’t quite the crisis it is being made out to be.
Most countries would celebrate losing just two Tests, but the standards set by New Zealand in the last decade means two Tests are two Tests too many.
I loved the match in Dublin. It really was a match worthy of a big occasion final. The crowd atmosphere, by all accounts, was electric and both teams played bloody well. The difference was Ireland got one chance and scored. The All Blacks, so out of sorts with their form of the last few years, had four chances and couldn’t convert one.
Nothing can or should detract from Ireland’s win. It was deserving on the night, but I wouldn’t be rushing to instil them as World Cup favourites.
I cautioned about staying away from the Springboks match against Scotland because of the five and a half handicap. I wrote that anyone who bet on a Bok win by six or more would be very brave. It was a match to be won by either team and I was of the view there wouldn’t be more than a score in it.
The match proved to be everything I thought it would be and the 46 point combined total was also consistent with my view that it would be a fairly high scoring. I thoroughly enjoyed the quality of the match.
Being Welsh, a Bok versus Wales game is always a highlight for me, more so because Wales have won the last three matches. There was a time when I used to watch because of my admiration of the quality of the Boks and without any expectation on Wales. Times have changed dramatically.
Rassie Erasmus’ Boks certainly are earning respect again and there is no doubt they are an improved side from last year. Wales are also better than they were a year ago and there is more depth in the Welsh match 23 than at any time in the professional era.
It’s going to be one hell of a match.
South Africa to win by five or more pays R1 500 for every R1 000 bet, so you collect R2 500. With Leigh Halfpenny not playing and the Boks on the rise it makes for a great value bet.
The other international of interest is Eddie Jones’ England against the woeful Wallabies. England will win by nine or more and if their players don’t all recover from the bug that has apparently done them in this week, then it will be a hammering.
The reality is that England at Twickenham are a very good side and Australia this year have just been awful. I am putting down R2 000 on an England win by nine-plus to get back R3 800.@TheMoneyManSA
* Kevin Ferguson, the chief executive of Highbury, is SA’s leading sports betting analyst. Interact with him on www.moneymansa.co.za