RUGBY guru Russ Petty (@RPetty80) shares his expert opinion on the best bets for Pool A at the Rugby World Cup.
Rugby World Cup | Pool A | 18th September – 10th October 2015 | ITV
The ‘Pool of Death’ sees hosts England, Australia, Wales and Fiji pitted against each other and then the less threatening presence of Uruguay in the shallow end. The runner-up will most likely have to beat South Africa and then New Zealand to reach the final so there is an obvious incentive to top the group.
Wales have lost 13 of their previous 15 trips to Twickenham and 10 in a row against the Wallabies (22 of 25 going back to 1991) so their early placing of third favourites in the group was understandable. One of their main strengths was going to being able to name a settled and experienced team but injuries have changed that.
Beating England and Australia away from Cardiff was already a tough prospect and they will now have to do so without at least three of their preferred starters including gun goal-kicker Leigh Halfpenny.
The Tri-Nations (latterly Rugby Championship) winners in 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 didn’t progress further than the semi-final stage at the World Cup that year. Can Australia buck that trend? With Michael Cheika in charge and the addition of Mario Ledesma to the coaching team, a perceived weakness in the pack has been addressed.
A change to the selection policy has seen the return of experienced players like Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell to the squad while they have two of the very best in their respective positions in Israel Folau and David Pocock.
Having beaten New Zealand recently, I would expect there to be plenty of interest in both the 17/2 (SkyBet) for the Wallabies to win the tournament and the Australia/England Straight Forecast in the group at 3/1 (Ladbrokes).
They will have to play three games in 11 days though, and while that can be mitigated by a tactic of fielding completely different teams in the opening two matches, it is still a tougher schedule than England’s.
Australia have lost four of the last five games against the hosts and while their 2012 away victory did come with Romain Poite in charge, he wouldn’t have been near the top of their list of preferred officials for this year’s Twickenham encounter.
The Dual Forecast of England and Australia at even-money was going to be the pick for this pool but that sadly didn’t last long with Stan James. Instead, I will have a look at Australia to Score The Most Points in Pool A at 4/3 888 Sport and the England/Australia Straight Forecast at 19/10 (888 Sport).
Anthony Watson has scored four tries in his previous three games at Twickenham and is 5/1 (Coral) to be Top England Tryscorer.
Rugby World Cup – England/Australia Pool A straight forecast (19/10 888 Sport)
Rugby World Cup – Australia to score the most points in Pool A (4/3 888 Sport)
Rugby World Cup – Anthony Watson to be Top England Tryscorer (5/1 Coral)
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