|Sshh, no one say the dreaded "C" word.|
To Win (80 Min)
New Zealand 1/100
All the build up for this clash has revolved around the loss has revolved around the loss of the Prince of New Zealand rugby, Dan Carter, and whether his understudy, Colin Slade, can fill his mighty boots. First indications are that New Zealand are in for a world of pain. This was always the risk they took. Having failed to develop an understudy for their kingpin that possesses enough experience to depend upon, Graham Henry and co may just have shot themselves in the foot. With lingering injury problems surrounding captain McCawesomeness, there could just be another World Cup meltdown brewing. They do however welcome back Kieran Reid who will be key for them as the World Cup nears the business end.
Argentina have had their own injury problems that could prove to be as damning to their World Cup hopes as the ones suffered by their hosts. Having already lost Juan Martin Hernandez prior to the tournament, they suffered another hammer blow to their ambitions with the news that Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe would be ruled out for the tournament. Although they have performed admirably so far in the tournament, their forward based approach has seemed a little one dimensional at times and they were lucky to escape with the victory over the Scots, thanks to a moment of magic from Amorosino. They will need 80 minutes of magic, the bounce of the ball, the blow of the whistle and the help of the rugby gods if they are to stop the All Blacks at fortress Eden Park.
2006 Argentina 19 New Zealand 25
2004 New Zealand 41 Argentina 7
2001 Argentina 20 New Zealand 24
Argentina have not won any of the previous 13 meetings between these two sides, the last of which was over 5 years ago. One cannot doubt that this Argentina side is a very different proposition to the one that lost that day. Both these sides are somewhat of an unknown entity to each other, which makes this match an exciting prospect.
New Zealand (-26.5) 9/10
Argentina (+26.5) 9/10
New Zealand: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Sonny Bill Williams, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Brad Thorn, 4 Samuel Whitelock, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Isaia Toeava.
Argentina: 15 Martín Rodríguez, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Felipe Contepomi (capt), 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Santiago Fernández, 9 Nicolás Vergallo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Mario Ledesma, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Martín Scelzo, 18 Marcos Ayerza, 19 Alejandro Campos, 20 Alfredo Lalanne, 21 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 22 Juan Jose Imhoff.
Taking into account that the HT handicap is set at (+11.5) for New Zealand, the HT Margin, New Zealand by 8-12 at 5/2 seems way too good to pass up. I expect New Zealand to give the ball a bit of air, in a bid to keep it away from Argentina’s big forward pack, so the 14/10 for 11,14 or 15 to score the first try seems a solid bet as well.
VERDICT: ARGENTINA (+26.5) 9/10
It will be interesting to see how Graham Henry approaches his first knock-out game since that quarter-final defeat to France in 2007. Argentina should be all fire and brimstone from the start, as they often are but I expect them to tire as the match progresses. If the game is safe, expect Henry to pull off a couple of his stars with an eye on next week. Throw in the pressure of knock-out rugby and Argentina should be able to cover the generous handicap of (+26.5)
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Written by @CommodoreVegas for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!