The Rugby Championship: Australia worth backing +11 on the Handicap in Bledisloe Cup opener against New Zealand
August 01, 2018
Handicap – Australia +11 @ 10/11 (1.91) with bet365*
Australia face New Zealand in the first game of the Rugby Championship at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday 18th August (with South Africa and Argentina to come for both teams).
The game also doubles as the opener in the three-match Test series of the Bledisloe Cup against the All Blacks, with the return game in New Zealand and a potential decider on neutral territory in Japan.
The Wallabies will be desperate to make a winning start, having failed to win the Bledisloe Cup in 16 years (the All Blacks have won the trophy 46 times in total, compared to the Wallabies tally of just 12). In 2017 the Wallabies started the series by losing 54-34 in Sydney, in a game where they trailed 54-6 at one stage.
There’s a belief in some quarters that the Wallabies were ill-prepared going into last year’s first game, so Australia coach Michael Cheika has organised a trial game against a side featuring Wallabies squad members, Super Rugby players and Western Force players ahead of this year’s opener.
NSW Waratahs’ players won’t feature in the trial match as they were on Super Rugby semi-final duty against South Africa’s Lions at the weekend (losing 44-26 in Johannesburg).
Even so, the fact that an Australian team reached the semi-final stage of the competition this year should bode well in terms of match fitness for the Bledisloe Cup, the lack of which is often seen as a factor with most Australian players out of action for a month prior to the first game of the series.
The Rugby Championship: Australia vs New Zealand Betting Tips
The trial match will also give halfback Will Genia (broken arm) and lock Adam Coleman (adductor strain) valuable game time after both were injured in June’s 2-1 Test series defeat at home to Ireland. That series defeat means that the Wallabies go into the Rugby Championship on the back of four defeats in their last five matches – not exactly ideal preparation.
Australia are 4.5 with Centrebet to win the opening game against New Zealand, with the All Blacks 1.24 with Unibet. Given their preparation looks better this year, backing Australia +11 on the Handicap at 1.91 with bet365* could be the sensible bet.
* Odds correct at the time of writing