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South Africa – Australia

South Africa Australia 2019 rugby betting preview

South Africa will host Australia in the 2019 Rugby Championship opener on Saturday. It will be a shortened edition of the annual tournament, consisting of just three rounds, given that the World Cup is just around the corner.

South Africa had a pretty solid year last season, showing clear improvement under new coach Rassie Erasmus. While still not fully consistent, the Springboks had good tests in June and November, and also finished second in the Rugby Championship. Last year`s Championship was the stage of their biggest success in 2018, as they managed to defeat the mighty All Blacks in New Zealand (and were 1 minute away from doing the double against them).

Australia is not in a good spot at all right now. Lat year they barely escaped finishing last in the Rugby Championship, having to mount a huge comeback against Argentina in the last round to avoid the wooden spoon. In the other tests of the year they went 2-5. What`s more the Wallabies are going through some big scandals right now, with their best player Israel Folau having been sacked by the Aussie Federation due to homophobic remarks.

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Team news & lineups:

With this being a shortened and arguably less important Rugby Championship, both teams will make wholesale changes in their squads. While the teams are still strong, there are at least 5-6 regulars missing for each side.

South Africa: 15. Warrick Gelant, 14. S’bu Nkosi, 13. Jesse Kriel, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Herschel Jantjies, 8. Francois Louw, 7. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6. Rynhardt Elstadt, 5. Lood de Jager, 4. Eben Etzebeth (c), 3. Trevor Nyakane, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Australia: 15. Tom Banks, 14. Dane Haylett-Petty, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 12. Samu Kerevi, 11. Reece Hodge, 10. Bernard Foley, 9. Nic White, 8. Isi Naisarani, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5. Rory Arnold, 4. Izack Rodda, 3. Sekope Kepu, 2. Folau Fainga’a, 1. James Slipper

South Africa has shuffled the squad a bit more than Australia here, but on the other hand Australia was already missing two of its best players, Folau and Pocock, so that mostly evens things out.

The Wallabies seem like the better team from 10-15, and could give the Boks some problems out wide, but often in these matches the forwards make the difference (particularly when these two teams meet). And you have to feel the Boks are (much) more powerful in that department. They should outpower the Wallabies, and dominate the scrum. Part of this forward dominance will likely translate into penalties and easy points for Elton Jantjies.

South Africa is just in a better spot right now, they seem to be a better, more cohesive group, arguably better coached as well. Australia isn`t in a good moment, and morale is not the highest. And, hugely important factor, South Africa plays at home.

Even against a weakened Springboks side, it will be very difficult for a similarly weakened Australia to get the points here. They have not won in Johannesburg since 1963. Beating the Springboks on their home turf is a daunting task for anybody in world rugby.

In last year`s tournament both teams won at home (Australia by 5, South Africa by 11). As previously said, Australia has not won in Johannesburg since 1963, and won in South Africa only five times since the same year of 1963.

For what it`s worth, weather is expected to be absolutely perfect for rugby. Australia might be happy with that, given that you would expect them to play a slightly more running style of rugby.

The hosts should have too much for a shaky Australia in this Rugby Championship opener. My tip here will be South Africa to win. Prediction: South Africa – Australia 26 – 18.

Pick: South Africa
Odds: 1.54 @ Unibet
Stake: 10
Possible profit: 5.40
Event date: 20 July

About Rostick

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