Perth punch-up to go down to the wire

The Rugby Championship

Rugby Union
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Published: 06/09/2012

Picking the winner of The Rugby Championship game between Australia and South Africa in Perth is a frightfully tough task but one does not have to work out which team will win to strike a widely available bet that constitutes value.

So instead of backing the Wallabies at around 8-11 or the Springboks at around 13-8 in match betting that includes the draw, bet on the game being close and won by a tight margin.

One can get odds of around 13-8 about Australia winning by 1-10 points and around 12-5 about South Africa winning by the same spread. That works out at somewhere between 8-15 and 1-2 about the match having a winner by 1-10 points.

The Wallabies will have their followers, particularly those who adhere to head-to-head form, because they have won their last four games versus the Springboks, only one of which took place in Australia. Indeed, South Africa has won just one of the last seven meetings of the rugby union giants.

But the Wallabies were so bad in their back-to-back losses to the All Blacks that it goes against the grain to back them at odds on and, also, they were second best to the Springboks for most of their Rugby World Cup 2011 match.

Australia was under the cosh for pretty much the entire second half, only a Herculean defensive effort preventing South Africa winning by a double-figure margin rather than going down 9-11 in what was a gripping quarter-final tie.

Even allowing for their appalling recent record versus the Wallabies, the Springboks would be the value play if it was not for their uninspiring displays against Argentina, with the Pumas holding them to a 16-16 draw last time out.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer is under almost as much pressure as his Australia counterpart, Robbie Deans, and he has reacted by trying to pick a New Zealand-like team for the must-win game at Patersons Stadium, believing that the key to beating the Wallabies is to outmuscle them up front.

The Springboks have made the long trip across the Indian Ocean prepared to slug it out with the Wallabies and that could result in a forward-oriented, low-scoring contest similar to the one in Wellington 11 months ago.

If you are looking for a Australia-South Africa bet at around the even-money mark, try and get short of total points if you can find a line set at higher than 45.

New Zealand is no bigger than 1-66 to beat Argentina in the other third round match of The Rugby Championship`s debut season, with the All Blacks around 25-point favourites for what promises to be a cakewalk for them at the cake Tin.

Daniel Carter is out of New Zealand`s side after straining his left calf muscle during an indoor training session on Thursday. Aaron Cruden, who steered the All Blacks to Rugby World Cup 2011 glory when Carter limped out of last year`s tournament, will wear the number 10 jersey once again.

One would want more than 25 points before even thinking about supporting the Pumas against the spread, although they only went down 33-10 to the All Blacks during Rugby World Cup 2011. There is no compelling reason to get involved.


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