2012 Rugby Championship Tipping And Betting Guide

It's a brave sports administration that purports its championship to be THE championship. But that's what SANZAR have done by naming their newly minted four-way international competition THE Rugby Championship. SANZAR may be setting themselves up for a fall. Argentina could prove to be a pack of duds incapable of lifting themselves above the four-yearly World Cup cycle. And on the flip side, New Zealand could dominate so massively that the competition could effectively be over after a couple of weeks.

But whatever happens, there are tipping competitions and betting agencies that need satisfying. It doesn't matter who wins or loses off the field, it's how predictable it all is that really counts when it comes to wagering some hard-earned or just gaining some kudos.

So a new championship and more opportunities to stake the redundancy payout or a week's rent, or just get one up on the missus.

Here's how The Rugby Championship participants shape up:
ARGENTINA
Los Pumas are a regular feature at the pointy end of World Cups and have scored some memorable victories, especially against France for some odd reason nobody can work out. As a regular touring side though they have tended to underperform, but at home they always lift and have scored some stunning upsets especially against Australia who they've beaten four times which explains why for a while there we kept stealing their props to, err, prop up the Wallabies. They've never beaten New Zealand or South Africa though. The Argentinians are renowned for their forward play and for kicking, so they're not exactly easy on the eye. Think of the them as the Waratahs of world Rugby.
Odds and value  Even at $81.00 there's no point. At best they might scrape a lucky win at home.
Prediction  The novelty value will last for about 35 minutes of the first match they play.

AUSTRALIA
Los Wallabies are also a feature at the pointy end of World Cups but lately that hasn't been enough to satisfy their critics. Despite being the number two team in the world, the team has more critics than the Cannes Film Festival and Robbie Deans is less popular than Mel Gibson amongst certain sections of the media (fortunately not the same sections that don't like Mel Gibson). The Rugby Championship is yet another opportunity for Deans and the Wallabies to claim a stake in the sporting consciousness of the community at large, something which hasn't happened for quite a few years. The Wallabies won the Tri-Nations last year but that was in a World Cup year, so this is arguably a much tougher assignment. They also beat Wales 3-0 a month or so ago but that's as relevant as Super Rugby is to the international version of the game.
Odds and Value  $4.50 is pretty good odds for the reigning title holders (sort-of) and the conquerors of Wales. So the form guide is reasonable. A good outside chance.
Prediction  Good wins at home. Shocking losses away. This could have been any of the last 7 or so years. Enough for the true believers, a shrug of the shoulders for everyone else.

NEW ZEALAND
Whoever said Super Rugby is no pointer to international Rugby form should get their head (or at least their blog) checked. The Chiefs have been awesome, the Crusaders have been stoic and effective, the Highlanders have performed, the Hurricanes have been brilliant in patches and even the Blues finally came good. What Australia wouldn't give for that sort of depth. You could put an All Black third XV into The Rugby Championship and they'd still probably win it. Brilliance across the park and a counter-attacking ability to ruin any game plan. Rather than a World Cup hangover, the All Blacks seem merely to be just getting stuck into the after-dinner mints to keep the breath fresh for when the Random Breath Testers loom up on the horizon. They don't need them though. "I'm an All Black" is enough to divert the attention of any potential party-pooping cop.
Odds and Value  Only $1.25 but it may as well be a two-horse race between The ABs and daylight. Bet the mortgage.
Prediction  The Rolling Maul comes up with even more obscure and barely related mixed metaphors to describe All Black brilliance.

SOUTH AFRICA
It's been a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde sort of year for South African Rugby. Their Super Rugby teams have either been excellent or garbage (even when playing each other) and the Springboks only defeated England 2-0 plus a draw during the June internationals. It was hardly convincing or inspiring stuff. New coach Heyneke Meyer is yet to determine anything yet, from his starting line-up, to the style of play he'd like the team to play or what balance he wants between old and new players. And all this from a team that failed to perform under Peter de Villiers no matter how hard he tried to take the pressure off the players by concentrating all the media attention on himself as a result of his wacky utterings. If the team continues to fail to perform the calls for De Villiers' return will only grow louder (well, one can dream).
Odds and Value  Somehow the bookies have South Africa placed as equal second favourites at $4.50. Whether this means they are as good or as bad as the Wallabies time will tell, but in the meantime you're probably better off putting your cash on red.
Prediction  Peter de Villiers won't go away. Which is a good thing. For us.

Comments

I'm hoping Argentina will be more competitive than mnost presume.

One win would probably be a good result for them in all honesty.

Argentina vs Australia at home seems the most likely option, but even that will be difficult.
Mike @ RugbyFix said…
I think everyone's been impressed with Argentina's adaption to the tournament. A draw against South Africa and a 4 point loss to Aus is a great start. Hopefully they don't get their first win this weekend tho...

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