Wallabies Northern Hemisphere Tour 2013 Tipping and Betting Guide

Yet another spring European tour for the Wallabies (well, where else are they going to go? Vegas?) and this time it's even more "important for the future of Rugby in Australia" than the last tour which was also really "important for the future of Rugby in Australia".

This time the ARU is serious when it says it's broke. Even the kiddies that wear the jersies have smashed open their piggy banks for the cause. They'll still be flying business class of course, but they've promised to take it easy on the duty free.

So while Bill Pulver and the rest of the ARU head honchos search the back of the couch for loose change to pay the power bills, over in Europe Ewen McKenzie and his charges will be looking to cash in on some end of season 'form'. A win over Argentina and an honourable thrashing (as opposed to the usual shellacking) by the All Blacks has led some to believe things may be on the up in Wallaby-land. History, statistics, and this tipping and betting* guide may suggest otherwise...
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Saturday 2 November (1:30am Sunday AEST)
The traditional powerhouse of European Rugby, England have been largely travelling in Wales' shadow ever since the Lions team that won the third test against the Wallabies was composed of largely Welsh players. That perceived slight was fair enough; Wales won the two most recent Six Nations after all. But what's largely forgotten is that in 2013 they only won on points difference from England. England still possess a powerful scrum and love to kick and their grounds are soft and slow. Meanwhile, the only thing that's been working consistently well (as in the last 2 matches) for the Wallabies is their back line which won't appreciate the conditions. Well as least Israel Folau is good under the high ball because he'll be getting plenty of practice. Historically, there's little between these teams when it comes to matches in England, indeed a Wallaby win will make it 11 wins apiece.
Prediction: Wallabies by 7
Man of the Match: Matt Toomua
Next Day Headline: Wallabies Scrum Still Going Backwards But Backs Look Forwards
Injury Ward: Tatafu Polata-Nau lasts 5 minutes after his first match in 6 months
Put your hard earned on: England with the start at $1.90

Saturday 9 November (1:00am Sunday AEST)
For all their supposed improvement and promise, the fact of the matter is that Italy are a second-rate team. At least they used to be third-rate. But European Rugby-wise, they still struggle in the Six Nations having only ever won one match away from home. They came last last year despite beating Scotland and the year before beat France. So while Italy are a tough-ish proposition at home (in 2012 in Italy the Italians only lost by 3 points, their best ever result against the Wallabies), the best they can hope for is to bore the Wallabies into submission. Scoring tries isn't their strong point, they're even worse at it than Argentina and Australia did alright against them.
Prediction: Wallabies by 7
Man of the Match: Quade Cooper
Next Day Headline: Pasta Ball - Cooper Finds His Runners
Injury Ward: Folau limps off, ARU accountants shiver.
Put your hard-earned on: Will Genia first try scorer

Saturday 16 November (4:45am Sunday AEST)
Ireland were comfortable winners over Australia the last time they played, but that was during the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Indeed Ireland have only defeated the Wallabies 3 times since 1979. Since the RWC, a certain Brian O'Driscoll announced his retirement, then unannounced it. Irish fans would certainly be relieved because there hasn't been much to celebrate in Irish Rugby recently; 2009 was the last time they won the Six/Five Nations and that was after a 24-year wait. So Ireland will be fueled on sentiment and goodwill (and Guinness). The Wallabies shouldn't give a toss.
Prediction: Wallabies by 7
Man of the Match: Brian O'Driscoll (yawn)
Next Day Headline: BOD OMG
Injury Ward: Ben Alexander has a career-threatening injury even more serious that his career-threatening form.
Put your hard-earned on: Wallaby win with short odds so go large

Saturday 23 November (5:00am AEST)
Here's some surprising Rugby trivia for you. The Wallabies haven't beaten Scotland since 2006. Admittedly they've only played twice and both games were in atrocious Arctic (ie Scottish) conditions and neither team scored 10 points. Prior to that, the Wallabies went 16 straight victories over 24 years, rarely won by less than 20 and only failed to score 29 points or more once (they got 27). So expect Scotland to turn the sprinklers on for a week pre-match and maybe strip the grass down to bare mud. No surprises that the match is scheduled for the evening, don't want any of that pesky sun encouraging try-scoring movements.
Prediction: Wallabies by 7
Man of the Match: Stephen Moore (who scored the only try of the match)
Next Day Headline: First Frostbite of the Cherry
Injury Ward: A rare busted somethinglage for Adam Ashley-Cooper sees him miss his first Wallabies test for 15 years (or thereabouts)
Put your hard earned on: It raining

Saturday 30 November (4:00am Sunday AEST)
It's been 8 on the trot for the Wallabies over the Welsh and 5 of those were in Cardiff. Indeed the Wallabies are considered to be a bit of a bogey team for the Welsh and this was thought to be a bit of a motivating factor for the Lions, most of whom had never beaten the Wallabies (bar the lone Scot and a couple of Englishmen). But now that the majority of the team have discarded their red Lions jersey for the, err, red Wales jersey, it's quite likely that all the old phobias will return. It will also be the last match of the year for the Wallabies (bar those who get the traditional salary bonus / Mad Monday that is the Barbarians) so it's a toss-up whether they'll be extra motivated or just buggered.
Prediction: Wallabies by 7
Man of the Match: Michael Hooper (last man standing)
Next Day Headline: Wallabies Looking Forward to Poorly Earned Rest
Injury Ward: All of them fall over
Put your hard earned on: Number 7 in race 6 at Randwick.