Rajiv Maharaj casts his eye across two Rugby Championship games on Saturday and can see wins for both the Wallabies and All Blacks...
"For all their flaws, the one thing the Wallabies aren't is unfit. Of the Southern Hemisphere teams on show last week, only the All Blacks looked fitter."
Argentina v Australia
Saturday July 25, 23:40
Live on Sky Sports 3 HD
South Africa v New Zealand
Saturday July 25, 16:05
Live on Sky Sports 1 HD
The Wallabies delivered after the hooter for us last week against South Africa in Brisbane, and there's every chance they'll do the same against Argentina in Mendoza this weekend. We'll also have a play on the All Blacks against the Springboks at Ellis Park. In fact, in addition to single plays, we'll go so far as to suggest combining the pair in a multi-bet paying 2.59.
To the Wallabies first: many misconstrued their last gasp win against the Boks last week as some kind of miracle. Far from it. The Wallabies were simply running stronger at the back end of the match, thanks in no small part to clever substitutions from coach Michael Chieka. The Wallabies, to be fair, played average at best. But that was to be expected given the team last played in November with no inbound tours to Australia during World Cup years. However, for all their flaws, the one thing the Wallabies aren't is unfit. Of the Southern Hemisphere teams on show last week, only the All Blacks looked fitter.
The Pumas were gassed by half-time against the All Blacks. Indeed, while the Pumas might have a great scrum, there are serious question marks on their conditioning for games where the ball is in play for 35 plus minutes. The Wallabies play the All Blacks at least three times a year; they're well conditioned to high-octane rugby. That conditioning is what got them home against the Boks last week, and it's why they'll edge the Pumas this weekend. The Wallabies' win only price is a tad short at 1.51/2 on the exchange, so perhaps best to pair that with the 1.738/11 on offer for the All Blacks win for a multi-bet paying 2.59. We will, nonetheless, still take the Wallabies as a single bet to win by under 12.5 points at 2.68/5.
The All Blacks, meanwhile, face a similarly tough encounter against the Boks, who will no doubt be hurting from last week's after-the-siren defeat. However, we are talking about the world's best team here - 1.738/11 for team with a 91.78% win record since 2009 (played 73, won 66, lost 5, drawn 2) defies logic. On that reason alone, the recommendation has to be to back the New Zealanders. You can more than justifiably add to that reasoning the fact that the All Blacks are quite simply a better and more complete side. And travel won't be a disadvantage for the visiting team as the All Blacks and the Springboks shared the flight from Australia. It should be close though. We'll take the All Blacks straight up at 1.738/11, to win by under 12.5 points at 2.6813/8, and, finally, in a multi with the Wallabies for 2.59.
Back Australia to beat Argentina by under 12.5 points @ 2.68/5
Back New Zealand to beat South Africa @ 1.738/11
Back New Zealand to beat South Africa by under 12.5 points at 2.6813/8
Back a New Zealand/Australia double @ 2.59