Internationals: Wales can keep it tight against South Africa

Warren Gatland's side face a stern test as they look to win in South Africa for the first time
Warren Gatland's side face a stern test as they look to win in South Africa for the first time

Simon Mail looks at this weekend's international matches where Wales are hoping to upset the Springboks...

"The last five matches between South Africa and Wales have been settled by nine points or less."

South Africa v Wales
Saturday June 14, 16:00
Live on Sky Sports 1

Wales are looking to create history this summer by winning in South Africa for the first time. Warren Gatland's side face a huge test in Durban this weekend against the second ranked team in the world. The tourists are unsurprisingly big underdogs to gain a victory over the Springboks but there have been plenty of tight contests between the countries recently.

Gatland's side warmed up with a 34-12 victory over Eastern Province Kings on Tuesday while South Africa ran in six tries during their 47-13 win over a World XV last weekend. Wales can call on Northampton Saints wing George North after he missed the midweek game with a virus. Prop Adam Jones is set to make his 100th Test appearance this weekend. 

The head to head record will not offer Wales too much hope with the last 14 matches all being won by South Africa. But significantly the last five contests have been settled by nine points or less. It has certainly been competitive recently and Wales can keep it tight again. The Springboks should live up to their favouritism but backing a narrow win looks the best bet.

Recommended Bet
Back South Africa to win by under 12.5 points at 2.3411/8

Argentina v Ireland
Saturday June 14, 19:40
Live on Sky Sports 2

Ireland will be looking to improve on their 29-17 win over Argentina last weekend. The Irish made hard work of defeating the under-strength Pumas and will be expecting to step up a level in Tucuman. Ireland made too many mistakes in the first Test and will need to cut these out if they are to avoid another uncomfortable match.

Joe Schmidt has made seven changes to the team from last weekend. Backs Rob Kearney, Fergus McFadden and Eoin Reddan all return to the side while number eight Jamie Heaslip also comes back in. Schmidt is making full use of his squad as they look to complete their first series win in Argentina. The Pumas showed enough last week to suggest they could cause them problems.

Six Nations winners Ireland are short priced favourites to win but the handicap betting may actually make the home side worth supporting. The Irish won by just 12 points last weekend and Argentina only trailed 11-10 at half-time. The Pumas could make it difficult for the Irish again and appeal with a 17-point advantage. 

Recommended Bet
Back Argentina +17 in the Sportsbook at 2.35/4

Canada v Scotland 
Saturday June 14, 19:00

Scotland will attempt to build on their opening win under new head coach Vern Cotter. His side ran in three tries during a comfortable 24-6 victory over USA in Houston. There were plenty of encouraging signs and the Scots will be expected to produce another convincing win in Toronto against Canada. 

The Scots have made four changes for this match with Glasgow centre Peter Horne handed his first start. Saracens forward Kelly Brown returns to the side although scrum-half Greig Laidlaw retains the captaincy. Canada warmed up with a 34-25 defeat in Japan last weekend. But the visitors led 25-9 at half-time before a Japanese fightback denied them.

Scotland are again overwhelming favourites and Cotter should continue his winning start in charge. But the Canadians could prove awkward opponents. Apart from a heavy defeat to Ireland last year, Canada have held their own in matches. Scotland are only just starting their development under Cotter and Canada look worth supporting with a 13-point head start.

Recommended Bet
Back Canada + 13 in the Sportsbook at 2.35/4

Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

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