International Rugby Predictions – Tips For The Weekend’s Key Clashes

Following a Southern Hemisphere clean sweep, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina will seek to seal the deal in their respective series against their Northern rivals on Saturday, writes Quintin van Jaarsveld.

South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina all drew first blood on home soil last weekend and will be determined to complete the mission with a match to spare. 

Wales, Ireland, England, and Scotland, on the other hand, will be desperate to bounce back and turn next weekend’s final battles into winners take all wars. 

Starting the day’s action is the second of two Tests between Japan and France in Tokyo. From there, it’s off to Dunedin, Brisbane, and Bloemfontein before the Test rugby party plane makes a final stop in Salta.  

Japan v France

Saturday, 9 July – 07:50

There’s not too much to say about this one. As anticipated, Six Nations winners France coasted to a big win (42-23) last weekend despite their star players skipping the two-Test tour of the Land of the Rising Sun. 

It won’t be quite as hot as it was in Toyota, but it’ll still be around 30° in Tokyo with a possibility of scattered showers. While the location and conditions will be different, the depth of Les Bleus will ensure the sequel has a similar ending to the original.

Prediction: France by 21.

Suggested Bet: France -19.5 at 1.82.

New Zealand v Ireland

Saturday, 9 July 09:05

The All Blacks made the most emphatic opening statement of all with their comprehensive 42-19 win last weekend. Considering the Covid chaos that disrupted their preparations and the fact that Ireland defeated them in Dublin in November, the clash at Eden Park was expected to be tight but New Zealand had other ideas. 

Their sharpness on attack out of the blocks to run in six tries was impressive, but it was superseded by the defensive masterclass they delivered. They lived up to their promise to bring the physicality and demonstrated greater desire to save three tries, which is what ultimately allowed them to overcome the 11.5-point handicap. 

What was established is that the Kiwis are better equipped to handle the structural, multi-phase style of the visitors than Ireland are to contain the individual brilliance of the hosts. Having said that, Ireland were in the fight up until Johnny Sexton’s injury and gifted the All Blacks points with poor execution. 

With general Sexton cleared to play, the Irish should have more direction and they’re sure to be more clinical. As a result, the men in black will triumph but Andy Farrell’s charges should cover the spread. 

Prediction: New Zealand by 12

Suggested Bet: Ireland +14.5 at 1.86.

Australia v England

Saturday, 9 July – 11:55

After desperation and drama coincided and led to England losing to a 14-man Wallabies side in Perth, surely Eddie Jones’ nine lives are all but up at this stage. 

That he went full Eddie “Moans” at the post-match press conference and put the 30-28 defeat down to the ref “helping” the outmanned hosts highlighted one of the key issues in the England set-up – a lack of accountability. They’re not a happy camp, with Owen Farrell spitting the dummy after not being named captain, and it translated onto the field. 

To that end, Australia’s win was built on character, from losing Quade Cooper in the warm-up to Tom Banks and prop Allan Alaalatoa to injuries and Darcy Swain to a red card, all by the 34th minute. Such a courageous victory is the ultimate boost in belief, especially as it snapped an eight-match losing streak against the English.

On top of out-willing England, the Wallabies also out-smarted and out-skilled them. Those advantages will carry over in a 15 against 15 situation and should lead to a series-clinching win..  

Prediction: Australia by 5.

Suggested bets: Australia -2.5 at 1.85.

Value Bet: Australia by 1-12 at 2.70.

South Africa v Wales

Saturday, 9 July – 17:05

After the great escape at Loftus Versfeld, the Springboks are bullish to set the record straight in Bloemfontein. The series was always going to get tougher by the week for Wales and after landing all of their biggest proverbial punches and still not being able to knockout the hosts, they’re staring down the barrel. 

There was plenty to like about the Dragons’ fiery performance. Fundamentally, taking the fight to the overwhelming favourites is what took them to the brink of a first-ever win over the men in green and gold on South African soil. They took both opportunities to score off mistakes and their maul defence was excellent up until the bomb squad showed up. Credit must also go to the character they showed when they were down to 13 men and scored to level the scores.

However, they overstepped the boundaries throughout and got away with a few more wily tricks than the four yellow cards they ultimately conceded. At the same time, the Springboks endured their worst half of rugby since last year’s balls up in Brisbane. That they were still able to avoid a historic upset is a mental edge they’ll have for the remainder of the tour.

Dove-tailing off that, Jacques Nienaber showed the confidence he has in his wider squad by making sweeping changes. No one expected such a complete overhaul, with six uncapped players included in the new-look matchday 23. Led by Handre Pollard, they’ll be fresh and hungry to perform and are bursting with talent. However, they’re the epitome of a group of individuals as opposed to a team. 

The explosive power and skill of the Springboks will be too much for Wales, but with new combinations across the board, it’s a big ask of the thrown-together bunch to gel and with a likely lack of synergy, I don’t see them covering the spread.

Prediction: South Africa by 9.

Suggested Bet: Wales +10.5 at 1.86.

Value Bet: South Africa by 1-12 at 2.40

Argentina v Scotland

Saturday, 9 July – 21:10

After celebrating a triumphant homecoming almost three years in the making, staying grounded and replicating the performance they put forth last weekend will be the Pumas’ challenge. In their first Test under new coach Michael Cheika, they outscored the Scots by three tries to two to secure a 26-18 win. 

They coped well with the loss of Nicolas Sanchez in the 20th minute, staying composed with Santiago Carreras stepping up and ensuring continuity. They missed the veteran flyhalf’s ace goal-kicking, though, with Emiliano Boffelli missing three out of four.

Understrength Scotland, who are sans playmakers Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg, should be sharper after an especially disjointed first half meant they had to chase the game. They did well to wipe out the 12-point halftime deficit and level the scores, but Argentina were always in control and immediately regained the lead.

I mention this as that seems to be the story of these two sides. Argentina appears to be one step ahead and with improved accuracy off the tee, they should clear the line and seal an important series win.  

Prediction: Argentina by 9.

Suggested Bet: Scotland +7.5 at 1.81.

Value Bet: Argentina by 1-12 at 2.50.

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