New Zealand capable of covering the Handicap against Australia
October 23, 2018
The game is officially a dead-rubber, with the All Blacks already 2-0 up in the series after a 38-12 victory at the ANZ Stadium in mid-August and a 40-12 win in Eden Park a week later. However, no game between the All Blacks and the Wallabies is ever going to be anything other than a competitive affair.
Both teams come into the game on the back of away wins against teams that had recently beaten each of them just weeks previously on home soil, with New Zealand winning 32-20 away to South Africa and Australia securing a 45-34 win in Argentina.
All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick is in contention to play after recovering from a shoulder injury, although coach Steve Hansen said the 27-year-old would have to get through a week’s training before being considered.
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A fractured ankle for Reece Hodge is likely force Israel Folau to fill in at outside centre for the Wallabies on Saturday. Hodge himself has only worn the No 13 in Australia’s past six Tests in the absence of injured regulars Tevita Kuridrani and Samu Kerevi, with the latter only making his comeback from a biceps tear during Saturday’s Byron Bay Sevens in two matches for Brisbane Fiji. He may well be rushed back into an international return at least via the bench against the All Blacks.
Back-up flanker Angus Cottrell (knee ligaments) will miss the game in Japan, but has some chance of touring Europe. Canberra Vikings backrower Pete Samu will fly to Japan to cover the loss of Cottrell.
Given the results in recent meetings between the two teams, injury news and their respective form, it’s little surprise that the All Blacks are red hot favourites to win this game at 1/7 with Unibet. Australia backers can get 11/2 with bet365*, while the draw is 55/1 with Topbetta. With New Zealand looking a class above Australia, the bet to be with here could be on the Handicap market where the All Blacks -16 are 10/11 with bet365*.
* Odds correct at the time of writing