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New Zealand – S. Africa

New Zealand South Africa rugby world cup betting preview

The first blockbuster meeting of the 2019 Rugby World Cup will take place on Day 2, Saturday, as the All Blacks meet the Springboks in a match which should decide the first placed team in Pool B – which also features Italy, Namibia and Canada.

New Zealand has been absolutely magnificent after the 2015 World Cup, and their side in 2016-2017 might well be argued to be the best ever, as the All Blacks were destroying everything in their path. They seemed to slow down a bit in 2018 but maintained dominance, but this year there have been some worrying signs. The All Blacks were poor in the shortened Rugby Championship, barely beating Argentina, drawing with South Africa and losing ugly to Australia. However, one could proclaim that they were not at their best in those games, as they were more concerned with evaluating players and getting the World Cup team right. And New Zealand did win its two games after the Rugby Championship: a 36-0 victory over Australia to retain the Bledisloe Cup, and a 92-7 (!!) win over Tonga in a World Cup preparation test.

South Africa managed to stop New Zealand’s domination in the Rugby Championship and won this year’s shortened edition in impressive fashion, blowing out Argentina and Australia and drawing away in New Zealand. Pre World Cup friendlies have been solid as well, with a 6 point win over Argentina and a blowout win over Japan. There is no doubt that the Springboks have taken the next step since Rassie Erasmus took over the head coaching job in March 2018, and are back to being a true powerhouse in world rugby.

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Team news & lineups:

Obviously both teams will field their best available lineups. New Zealand will miss Retallick who is still nursing an injury, while superstar wing Rieko Ioane has been dropped due to poor form. Coach Hansen will again opt to go with Barrett at 15 and Mo’unga at 10, a controversial choice.

New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Ardie Savea, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Sam Whitelock, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Joe Moody

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.

New Zealand has beaten South Africa regularly between 2012 and 2017, winning 11 out of 12, including a couple of record setting victories in 2016 and 2017. But the Springboks have been a different side in the last two years, and the last three meetings have been incredibly tight: one NZ win, one SA win, a draw, and a combined scoreline of 82-82. Last time the two teams met was a couple of months ago in the Rugby Championship. South Africa secured a draw on the road, although they needed a fluke last second try to do so.

When odds came out for this game back in early July, the All Blacks were rated as a 1.15 favorite. A few days ago they were at 1.40. Now, the price is up to as high as 1.50 based on what we saw in the Rugby Championship. No matter how you put it, that is just not normal considering there are no key injuries other than Retallick for New Zealand.

The Springboks have definitely hit their strides at the right time and are looking like one of the best 2-3 teams in this World Cup, and they have managed to put New Zealand under pressure in the last three or four H2H meetings. These may just be the two best teams in the World, although England is right there, and Ireland might be as well.

That being said, the All Blacks are still the All Blacks, they looked fantastic in their last two games, and chances are they will be their usual dominating selves in this World Cup – ready to make a statement right from the opening game against their rivals. They have built a fantastic generation for this tournament, and they will be keen to prove it.

This should be a cracking game and the Boks will surely put on a fight. Pollard’s brilliant kicking game will be a big factor for them. But the All Blacks have the speed and firepower to get things done. You just know that Beauden Barrett & co will get one or two blitz tries out of nothing, which will likely make the difference.

There might be rain or at least humidity come game time, so that is a factor which won`t really favor New Zealand, although in the last years they did put on plenty of great performances in such conditions, including against South Africa.

It`s not often you see New Zealand with such odds, especially when they are not the visiting team (they are, but so are the Boks), so I won`t shy away from backing them with maximum stakes here. With all due respect to this top class Springbok side, it`s hard to look past New Zealand at this price. My tip will be an All Black victory. Prediction: New Zealand – South Africa 28 – 23.

Pick: New Zealand
Odds: 1.50 @ 1xBet
Stake: 10
Possible profit: 5
Event date: 21 September

About Rostick

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