Planet Rugby

This weekend's predictions!

06th June 2014 09:46

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Wesley Fofana France v Australia

Danger man: Wesley Fofana

It's that time of week where we put our heads on the chopping block with Planet Rugby's predictions for the June Tests!

With the domestic Northern Hemisphere season over, and Super Rugby on standby, it's time for Europe's best to pack their bags and embark on one - or two, in the case of Scotland - more gruelling tour.

An under-strength England kick us off at Eden Park on Saturday, before a wounded France tackle the Wallabies, the Boks take on the star-studded World XV, Argentina welcome Ireland and the USA hosts the Scots in Houston.

It's a brilliant weekend of premier Test rugby, and what better way to mark the occasion than making some money with a rugby bet?!

Let's get started.

New Zealand v England: We begin in Auckland, where Stuart Lancaster fields an England team that, as we all know, is missing a host of key names. This is a side that can play without nerves or fear, for the pressure is off, and so - as Sean Fitzpatrick has pointed out - are a dangerous beast.

That shouldn't matter against an All Blacks outfit this good, though. Steve Hansen has brought out the big guns, and we expect them to win handsomely - Paddy Power's 5/1 tag for a 16-20 point margin is your best option. If you want to play safe, there's a broader 11-20 gap offered at 23/10.

Ben Smith really has to go down as first try-scorer (6/1), especially with a money-back guarantee if a forward dots down for the opener, but we reckon Aaron Smith is a great option too at 12/1.

In the anytime markets, Ma'a Nonu and Mike Brown at 15/8 and 9/2 respectively are worth a punt.

Much talk has surrounded player availability and the fact that this looks like a walkover for the Blacks. We don't see it being quite as clear-cut as that, but we are backing a routine Kiwi triumph. New Zealand by 18!

Australia v France: It's a typically left-field selection from Philippe Saint-Andre, who is, like Lancaster, bereft of those who took part in last weekend's Top 14 Final, while Ewen McKenzie has blended youth and experience.

We really like this Wallabies lineup, even minus Will Genia and Quade Cooper, and we like them enough to suggest backing Paddy Power's (-14) handicap at 6/5.

The winning margin should sit around 15 points, so backing an 11-15 or 16-20 point victory will offer decent returns at 5/1 and 7/1 apiece.

It's tough to look past Israel Folau at 13/2 for the first try, but if you do, you'll see the Honey Badger, Nick Cummins, priced a generous 8/1 for the opener. Likewise, we reckon Welsey Fofana is a good bet to score the game's last try, and a 14/1 tag is not to be sniffed at.

We reckon this game, despite the well-publicised low attendance figure, will be a comfortable win for the Wallabies. The next two games will be tighter as France find their groove, but on Saturday, it's Australia by 15!

Argentina v Ireland: The Pumas have rested a lot of the big guns, while Ireland have brought most of theirs on tour. As such, this should be the third comfortable win of Saturday's June Tests.

Paddy Power's handicap of (-14) for the visitors is a fair reflection of how this one will go, as Paul O'Connell wins his 100th cap.

For us, it's another win for Joe Schmidt, and without too much trouble. Ireland by 16!

Other June Test predictions:

South Africa v World XV: South Africa by 18!
USA v Scotland: Scotland by 12!
Fiji v Italy: Fiji by 4!

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