EXPERT rugby stats man Russ Petty (@RPetty80) is 3/3 at the Rugby World Cup. Here he shares his views on the bets bets for the Pool C clash between tournament favourites New Zealand and Argentina from Wembley.
New Zealand v Argentina | Sunday 16.45 | ITV1
Tournament favourites New Zealand have a familiar opening opponent in Argentina. The teams have met eight times since 2011 with the matches all following a similar enough pattern.
Los Pumas have usually proved tough to break down in the first-half and been within a converted try at the interval in five of the eight meetings in that period. The average score in those opening 40 minutes has been 16-7 with Argentina conceding a try in the 40th minute in two of the previous three games. New Zealand have then won the second-half by an average score of 18-5.
The All Blacks victories have come by 15, 18, 19, 21 and 21 points in the previous five games. Were this a usual Rugby Championship fixture, I would probably be looking at both the +22 handicap and the 11-20 winning margin.
However, in better conditions and with a chance to make an impression at Wembley, I prefer the -10 on the second-half handicap for Richie McCaw’s men. Argentina have scored seven points or less in the second-half in 13 of their previous 15 matches against the All Blacks.
A settled Argentinian front row has been disrupted recently by an injury to Ramiro Herrera and while he is on the bench, it means a start for Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro. Nicolás Sánchez has not been at his best in 2015 and there is a lot of faith being put in youngsters Tomas Lavanini (22), Pablo Matera (22), Santiago Cordero (21) and Guido Petti (20).
Those players will likely form the spine of the 2019 team but are they ready now to knock over the most experienced starting XV in test history?
Steve Hansen didn’t pick Waisake Naholo and Nehe Milner-Skudder in his World Cup squad with a view to grinding out victories in the pool stage. With the exception of Jerome Kaino for Victor Vito, this is the same team that put 41 points on the Wallabies in their last match and contains eight starters from the 2011 final.
New Zealand v Argentina – New Zealand -10 second-half handicap (22/23 888)