One Sided Affair On The Cards For All Blacks
New Zealand v Argentina
After a clean sweep in last year’s autumn internationals, New Zealand haven’t had it all their own way in 2015.
They won three games in this year’s truncated Rugby Championship but defeat to Australia in Sydney meant they finished second in that competition for the first time. Inevitably, they are the pre-tournament favourites and if you want to back them at 6/5, remember BoyleSports will give you your money back as a free bet on your outright bet if Australia lift the Webb Ellis Trophy.
Argentina’s warm up for the World Cup consisted of four tough matches in the Rugby Championship, and as usual, they struggled to consistently match their southern hemisphere rivals, losing three games by wide margins. But they did manage a notable success in Durban, where they shocked South Africa 37-25, a result that meant they didn’t finish the competition in their customary fourth place.
New Zealand have some minor selection issues to resolve, but their starting fifteen pretty much picks itself. There are only three specialist locks in the squad, so Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano will be rotated, with Retallick and Whitelock likely to start against Argentina, and with Waisake Naholo still out injured, Nehe Milner-Skudder is likely to continue on the right wing.
Argentina have a couple of exciting wingers in Juan Imhoff, who bagged a hat-trick of tries against South Africa, and Horacio Agulla, but their strength is undoubtedly amongst the forwards. They are missing first choice tight-head props Juan Figallo and Matias Diaz, but loose-head prop Marcos Ayerza and hooker Agustin Creery will give the New Zealand front row plenty to think about.
The head-to-head record between these two sides is almost entirely one-sided with New Zealand winning twenty of their twenty-one encounters.
Argentina’s sole success came in 1985 when they held a touring All-Black side to a 21-21 draw in Buenos Aires, one of only three occasions when they have managed to get within ten points of the All Blacks. Their last World Cup meeting came at the quarter-final stage in 2011, when New Zealand recovered from the loss of Dan Carter to win 33-10.
In the 2007 tournament, New Zealand rotated their squad extensively early on, and were beaten by a more battle-hardened French side in the quarter-finals. They are unlikely to repeat that strategy this time and will be at full-strength for what is their toughest Group D assignment.
Argentina’s familiarity with the All Blacks, having played them twice a year since the Rugby Championship began, hasn’t helped the South Americans get any closer to beating them, and a comfortable victory is on the cards for the world champions. Back New Zealand -21 at 10/11 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