It is that time of the week when we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby’s predictions.
So here we are then. 160 minutes, extra-time permitting, to go in another memorable World Cup. Will it be New Zealand or Australia’s title on Saturday at Twickenham after either South Africa or Argentina have won the Bronze Medal? Another southern hemisphere weekend is coming.
Once again Paddy Power has got us covered for our rugby bets so if you fancy taking a punt on the action, look no further than our calls.
Injuries play a big part in making a call on this Bronze Medal match as the Pumas enter the game without Agustín Creevy, Juán Imhoff, Marcelo Bosch, Juán Martín Hernández and Joaquin Tuculet. That’s the spine of the team and could hurt Argentina, who have had one fewer day rest than the Boks.
Attention therefore goes to the half-time full-time option for South Africa (5/6) and the minus 6.5 handicap which is 4/6 at Olympic Park.
South Africa will be determined to send out the likes of Bryan Habana, Schalk Burger and Victor Matfield on a positive note and with those aforementioned injuries to the Pumas – and following a frustrating loss to Australia – have their wheels have come off emotionally? Maybe.
It has been a highly-charged couple of weeks for the Pumas after the elation of beating Ireland followed by the semi-final loss so it will be difficult to raise themselves back to that Millennium Stadium form, particularly without those senior players on the field to lead them.
The Boks to win both halves at 6/4 also looks a good bet while on the try-scoring front the anytime on Habana, which would move him ahead of Jonah Lomu in the World Cup chart also is worth getting on. It could be an open, attack-minded game so get on him and Jesse Kriel to cross in what could be a high-scoring game.
Rugby World Cup finals are usually closely-fought games and this promises to be no different and that is why our eye was immediately drawn to the tribet, which is either team to win by 6 points or less. That is priced at 9/5 and is a good bet for those who cannot pick a winner.
Fortunately the weather forecast is much more positive than New Zealand’s semi-final and that should hopefully lead to an entertaining 80 minutes. But don’t be surprised if tries are fewer than 3.5 as both teams will take the three points when on offer. Throw in the breakdown expertise of David Pocock and it could be a similar fractured game from the All Blacks to the one that they found against the Springboks.
It’s worth noting that no World Cup final has ever broken the 50 barrier for total points, with the most recent two only seeing 15 and 21 scored in 2011 and 2007 respectively. Therefore the total points market of under 45 or so might be worth taking despite the quality on the field. Leading on from that probability, man-of-the-match could well be Pocock or if not him then Dan Carter or Bernard Foley.
On the try-scoring front, odds that stand out for the anytime has to be Dane Coles (15/2). Michael Hooper is the same price for Australia to go over or if you fancy the Wallaby maul to power over then Pocock is 9/2. Conversely, a repeat of 2011’s RWC final and New Zealand’s loosehead prop, this time Joe Moody, crossing first is priced at 55/1. If we were to choose anyone though to open the account it would be Ma’a Nonu at 14/1.
Good luck for both games and may the best teams win.