Rugby Union Stats: Numbers not good for Wales and Ireland

Luke Charteris helped Wales boss the lineout but Wales could be on the end of another defeat

Geoffrey Riddle crunches the numbers ahead of Saturday's internationals for Wales and Ireland and another pair of defeats seem likely...

"Wales always have potential, but as ever they simply need to realise it and despite what looks an advantageous handicap line, Australia statistically look the bet to edge it."

2pts Back Australia 1-12.5 points.

Australia v Wales
Punters who use statistical analysis occasionally face a difficult decision when everything that their data tells them says one thing, but their knowledge of the sport tells them to be on something else entirely.

For me, Australia's encounter with Wales is a case in point. My database suggests that Australia should be favourites at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne by around seven to ten points.

Robbie Deans' Wallabies looked a trifle rusty against their visitors last week when they accounted for the Six Nations Grand Slam winners by eight points but this week they concede just a seven-and-a-half point start on Betfair on the main handicap line.

The Welsh have regrouped in good style and feature 609 caps in total to field what is the most experienced side since they narrowly lost to France with 14 men in the semi-final of the World Cup in New Zealand.

The key aspect to this is the front row of Matthew Rees, Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones, who are reunited for the 19th time and should have too much power for the Australians up front.
With Ryan Jones, Alun Wyn Jones and Rees, Rob Howley, the caretaker coach, will have at his disposal some cool heads with which to rein back the likes of Mike Phillips, who really should know better than to mouth off to the referee like he did last week.

Those recalls also result in Wales having five players who have experience of beating the Wallabies, invaluable considering how many times Wales come up short against southern hemisphere opposition.

And there is the rub.

The Welsh lineout continues to perform impeccably. Last week they had 14 throw-ins and lost none and with such a platform it is incredible they did not score more points. Admittedly Rhys Preistland had a shocker, and let slip almost a certain try, but if looked at objectively the defeat was Wales's third to Australia in the past 12 months.

Wales always have potential, but as ever they simply need to realise it and despite what looks an advantageous handicap line, Australia statistically look the bet to edge it.

Recommended Bet (1-5 pt staking plan)
2pts Back Australia 1-12.5 points.


New Zealand v Ireland
Last week Julian Savea became the latest All Black wing to stamp his authority on a game on debut in New Zealand's 42-10 stroll against Ireland in Auckland. The Hurricanes winger scored a hat-trick of tries and as a result he is as short as 11-2 to score the first try with one high street layer.

Israel Dagg and Zac Guilford are also priced in single figures and with the main match handicap rising from around 17 points last week to as high as 23.5 on Betfair this week it is clear few fancy the Irish in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Last week I looked into the handicap record of the All Blacks in non Tri-Nations summer Tests and they had won just five from the past 18 matches discounting encounters with minnows Fiji, Samoa and Canada. They made that record appear to be misleading, however, as their pace and guile were simply too much for Ireland.

The All Blacks covered over three times as many metres with the ball in hand than Ireland as their high-tempo offloading game looked irresistible.

Despite the presence of Richie McCaw, New Zealand still conceded 18 turnovers, however, which is a statistic that will give hope to the Ireland back-row of securing at least a foothold in the game.

With the home side making clean breaks for fun though - they made 20 to Ireland's two, and despite Ireland beefing up their side - it may be worth going long about New Zealand on the handicap for small stakes.

Recommended Bet
1pt Back New Zealand -23.5

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