It that time again to put our head on the chopping block with our weekend predictions.
It is that time of the week where we put our head on the chopping block with Planet Rugby’s weekend predictions.
The title may be won but there’s plenty of pride and respect to play for when the Springboks take on the All Blacks at Ellis Park, while Argentina will look for their first win in the tournament over the Wallabies.
Pair that with the continuing action in Europe and you have a rugby feast awaiting you this weekend. Read on for some options with Paddy Power that have caught our eye. Let’s go.
The Rugby Championship
South Africa v New Zealand
We can only hope that Saturday’s game comes close to living up to last year’s epic fixture – one that still lingers long in the memory. Even though New Zealand have the trophy in their suitcase, the number of injuries in certain areas do make this contest interesting, with the Rugby World Cup on the horizon as well.
As the top two sides in the world it’s no surprise to see slim odds, with South Africa at 11/10 and New Zealand on 4/5. Knowing how fast the All Blacks can start, a half-time lead of 8-14 points at 4/1 is worth considering.
The best money therefore probably lies with the try scorers. Points machine Julian Savea is the 13/2 favourite while Bok wings Bryan Habana and Cornal Hendricks offer very good value at 11/1.
Finally on his 134th appearance for the All Blacks, a new record, look out for New Zealand captain Richie McCaw as a 5/1 anytime try scorer. He already has three in this year’s competition. It’ll be tight, with New Zealand winning by less than five.
Argentina v Australia
Can los Pumas finally break their duck? It’s difficult to predict given Australia’s inconsistent performances this year. 17/10 for an Argentina win is good value.
The obvious outcome for this contest feels like a half-time lead for the hosts before the Wallabies pull through, which shouldn’t be ignored at 6/1.
Israel Folau is the clear favourite when it comes down to first try scorers, priced at 6/1, but look out Bernard Foley’s quick footwork which could get him over the line first at 22/1.
This has all the markings of a tough battle in Mendoza, with the Wallabies opting for six forwards on the bench to counteract Argentina’s power upfront. Tempers may flare, so look out for the red card at 18/1. We expect the Wallabies to have too much talent and win by 20 points.
First things first, look out each week for our SuperBru predictions and join our league here.
Bath v Saracens
What a prospect we have in store this Friday. Premiership leaders Saracens travel west to face a Bath side that routed Leicester 45-0 on this ground less than two weeks ago.
Saracens defence will be a tougher nut to crack than the effort produced by the Tigers, with last year’s finalists renowned for their resolve hence their status as favourites.
Chris Ashton as an 8/1 first try scorer is very hard to ignore but backed by their home crowd Bath may make a fast start and score the first try themselves at 6/1. This one should be good and after their recent form, we think Bath will sneak it by three points.
More SuperBru picks:
London Irish v Northampton – Saints by 6
Harlequins v London Welsh – Harlequins by 20
Gloucester v Leicester – Gloucester by 5
Sale v Wasps – Wasps by 7
Newcastle v Exeter – Exeter by 9
Look out for our SuperBru predictions for the weekend, here.
Ulster v Edinburgh
Alan Solomons’ men produced a surprise win over Irish opposition on the road at the start of the season against Munster, but can they repeat the trick at Ravenhill? They are 4/1 outsiders to Ulster’s 1/7 favourites billing. Ouch.
Ireland fans will no doubt keep close tabs on Jared Payne, who is back at outside centre and down at 11/1 to score the game’s first try. A healthy Ulster win of 16-20 points is on offer at 11/2, which is what we’re expecting. Ulster by 17.
More SuperBru picks:
Connacht v Cardiff Blues – Connacht by 3
Zebre v Ospreys – Ospreys by 9
Leinster vs Munster – Leinster by 7
Treviso v Glasgow Warriors – Glasgow by 15
Scarlets v Dragons – Scarlets by 6
Friday sees Oyonnax and Toulon kick off the latest round of French action with their clash at the Stade Charles-Mathon.
One of last season’s surprise packages, Oyonnax have only picked up two wins from their opening seven games this time around to leave them fighting it out in the congested lower half of the table – although they are above Toulouse and Castres.
Toulon have been the league’s best attacking side and are the only one to score over 200 points thus far, with their 53-13 thumping of 14-man Brive last Friday helping their cause. James O’Connor and Delon Armitage have both been in top form, so look out for them as 17/2 and 14/1 first try scorers.