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Argentina – New Zealand

Argentina New Zealand 2019 Rugby Championship betting preview

Argentina will host New Zealand in Buenos Aires on Saturday, this being the second match of the day in the first round of the 2019 Rugby Championship.

The Pumas will fancy their chances both in this clash and in the tournament as a whole. The Pumas had a very solid 2018 under coach Mario Ledesma, being one half of rugby away from finishing ahead of Australia in the Rugby Championship standings. What`s more, Argentina’s club team in the Super Rugby, Jaguares (basically the Argentine National team), had a fantastic season this year, reaching the final – which they lost against the Crusaders two weeks ago. The fact that this year`s Rugby Championship is shortened due to the World Cup, and consists of just three rounds, will also give the Pumas confidence of springing an upset – especially since the other teams are expected to rotate their lineups and rest some players.

There`s not much to say about New Zealand, as the All Blacks keep on dominating World Rugby with authority, as they did for the better half of this decade. While New Zealand will definitely be keen to win a fourth Rugby Championship title in a row, they will also want to give some younger players a shot, in order to decide upon the optimal squad for the World Cup – as they have a huge pool of quality, contending players. It has to be said that New Zealand has failed to win the shortened version of Rugby Championship in each of the past three World Cup years.

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Team news & lineups:

Argentina will field the best available lineup here, consisting of the Jaguares players which reached the Super Rugby final, as well as Sanchez and Figallo, who have been brought in from overseas. New Zealand will rest the Crusaders players which won the Super Rugby two weeks ago and will shuffle the lineup a bit, but the starting XV still looks incredibly strong.

Argentina: 15. Emiliano Boffelli, 14. Matias Moroni, 13. Matias Orlando, 12. Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11. Ramiro Moyano, 10. Nicolas Sanchez, 9. Tomas Cubelli; 8. Javier Ortega Desio, 7. Marcos Kremer, 6. Pablo Matera (c), 5. Tomas Lavanini, 4. Guido Petti, 3. Juan Figallo, 2. Agustin Creevy, 1. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

New Zealand: 15. Ben Smith, 14. Sevu Reece, 13. Anton Lienert-Brown, 12. Ngani Laumape, 11. Jordie Barrett, 10. Beauden Barrett, 9. Aaron Smith, 8. Ardie Savea, 7. Sam Cane (c), 6. Vaea Fifita, 5. Patrick Tuipulotu, 4. Brodie Retallick, 3. Angus Ta’avao, 2. Dane Coles, 1. Ofa Tuungafasi

The Argentinians are fancied by the public and by the bookies to keep this close and maybe even challenge for a first ever win against the All Blacks, given the recent success of the Jaguares, and New Zealand’s so called weakened lineup.

The Pumas definitely deserve respect coming into this game and their pack will be a formidable opponent for a slightly inexperienced All Blacks pack. However, you have to feel that the recent success of the Jaguares might actually backfire here. There will be tired legs for sure, as the Jaguares starting lineup will have to take the field against the mightly All Blacks after a very long Super Rugby season, and with just one week of break. That is brutal and could have a huge impact.

As for New Zealand’s lineup, they will be more fresh and can afford to rest the Crusaders players which competed in the Super Rugby final two weeks ago. But despite resting those guys, New Zealand’s lineup still looks amazing, to the point at which you ask yourself “wait, how is this a weakened lineup?”. If anything, the rotation is felt on the bench, which is not as strong as usual.

This All Blacks starting XV does not look bad at all and, in fact, looks like a perfect mix between superstars and up and coming talent. The new players coming into the team (which are almost equal in talent to their more experienced counterparts) will definitely approach this game with full focus and motivation, wanting to impress and earn their place in the World Cup squad. It will be a good boost for New Zealand’s overall intensity.

One thing working in Argentina`s favor could be the weather. It will be very humid Saturday in Buenos Aires, and it could rain during the game. That should favor the Pumas, but it won`t be the first time in the last few years when New Zealand faces weather like this in Buenos Aires. When they did, they still won big.

At first sight the Pumas seem to have a chance here, but their tired legs and the motivation of New Zealand`s younger players will be too much for the hosts to overcome against such a crazy talented opponent. I tend to believe the public and the bookies might have been been a bit superficial in judging this match to set the handicap so low.

If the line was around -20 points as in previous meetings hosted by Argentina, I might have gone with the hosts. But with the line at -12.5 points, you have to give New Zealand the respect they deserve and back them to cover the spread.

Fact is that New Zealand won by 13 or more points in 14 of the past 15 meetings, including the last six – no matter how well Argentina played on the day, and no matter how many players the All Blacks rested. Prediction: Argentina – New Zealand 18 – 36.

Pick: New Zealand -12,5
Odds: 1.95 @ Unibet
Stake: 8
Possible profit: 7.60
Event date: 20 July

About Rostick

Former bookie & water polo player. Rugby Union expert. - EDITOR INFO & STATS
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