Be Wary Of Big Score For Boys In Green
Ireland v Canada
Ireland’s northern hemisphere dominance was underlined by their Six Nations triumph and a kind draw in Group D encouraged many pundits to tip them as semi-final certainties.
Although, they will need to improve on their pre-tournament form which saw them lose to Wales and England. If you fancy backing them at 9/1 to win the World Cup, remember that BoyleSports will give you money back as a free bet on your pre-tournament outright bet if Australia lift the Webb Ellis Trophy.
Canada’s form this year has been poor. Defeats to Japan, Tonga and Samoa in the Pacific Nations Cup were followed by consecutive defeats to the USA, which made it seven Test losses in a row for the Canucks. That run ended with a narrow one point win over Georgia in their first World Cup warm-up game, before normal service was resumed with a 47-16 thrashing by Fiji a fortnight ago.
Simon Zebo struggled at full-back against England so Rob Kearney, having recovered from a bruised knee, may be back for this game. Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton have both been injury doubts but coach Joe Schmidt will be keen to start with his key half-back pairing. Prop Cian Healy is also fit again, although he may be rested for the bigger challenges to come against Italy and France.
Canada have a young side that is light on World Cup veterans, but the likes of wingers DTH van der Merwe and Jeff Hassler provide some pace and flair, and the hefty presence of second row Jamie Cudmore will provide much needed experience.
These two teams have met on seven occasions and not surprisingly, the head to head record looks a little one-sided.
Ireland have won six of the seven matches, by an average margin of 25 points, including their last meeting two years ago in Toronto, when they ran in six tries in a 40-14 victory.
But Canada have had their moments in this fixture. They kept the margin of defeat to just three points against an Ireland XV in 1989 and in the summer of 2000, they pulled off a surprise draw against an Ireland touring team, holding them to a 27-27 draw.
Based on the warm-up games, Ireland have a number of problems, including a porous defence, a ponderous safety-first attacking game-plan and a lack of dynamism amongst the backs.
Those performances can probably be overlooked, given that they are probably being prepared to peak for the last two Group D matches against Six Nations opposition, but we should be wary of expecting them to run up a huge score against their first opponents. Back Canada +38 in the Match Handicap market and as a bonus, BoyleSports will give you your money back as a free bet if the first try of the game is not converted.
*Prices correct at time of publication