Rugby Championship 2018: Outright Preview

The 2018 Rugby Championship will get underway on Saturday the 18th of August. Darry Worthington takes a look at the outright betting, below.

The 2018 Rugby Championship will soon be upon us and rugby fans will be forgiven for feeling that they've seen it all before as the All Blacks head into this one as strong favourites to secure their third successive title. The reigning champions were a class apart last season winning all six of their games on their way to claiming yet another title.

Things may be a bit tougher for Steve Hansen's bunch this time around as they face two relatively unknown quantities in the form of a Springbok side under new management as well as an Argentine outfit who have also swept the deck and brought in a new coaching team.

The Kiwi's will also have to be wary of an Australian side packed full of in-form Waratahs' players.

To Win Outright
New Zealand 1/7
Australia 6/1
South Africa 9/1
Argentina 80/1

Saturday 18 August
Australia v New Zealand | ANZ Stadium | 12:05
South Africa v Argentina | Jonsson Kings Park | 17:05

Saturday 25 August
New Zealand v Australia | Eden Park | 09:35
Argentina v South Africa | Estadio Malvinas | 21:10

Saturday 8 September
New Zealand v Argentina | Trafalgar Park | 09:35
Australia v South Africa | Suncorp Stadium | 12:05

Saturday 15 September
New Zealand v South Africa | Westpac Stadium | 09:35
Australia v Argentina | cBus Super Stadium | 12:05

Saturday 29 September
South Africa v Australia | Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium | 17:05

Sunday 30 September
Argentina v New Zealand | Estadio Jose Amalfitani | 00:40

Saturday 6 October
South Africa v New Zealand | Loftus Versfeld | 17:05

Sunday 7 October
Argentina v Australia | Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena | 00:40

The Bookie's Choice
The All Blacks head into this one as strong favourites with the bookmakers. The men from the 'Land of the Long White Cloud' have won five of the six tournaments since the competition was expanded to include Argentina back in 2012.

 The New Zealanders enjoyed a clean sweep of it last year winning all six of their games while securing four-try scoring bonus points. They are currently on a 12-match Rugby Championship unbeaten streak, with their last defeat coming at the hands of Australia during their final fixture of the 2015 tournament.

With a hugely talented squad, this New Zealand side are strong favourites to take the title.

The Blue and Gold
While the annexing of the Western Force has annoyed a hell of a lot of Western Australian Rugby fans, one cannot argue that Australian rugby has been better served by only fielding four teams in this year's Super Rugby tournament. Their franchises have looked a lot better, as Waratahs, Brumbies and the Rebels managed to register wins over New Zealand opposition, while ridding Australia of their long-running losing streak to teams from their neighbouring country.

Speaking of the Waratahs, the men in blue were Australia's shining light in this year's Super Rugby tournament making it all the way to the semi-final stage. Key to their deep progress in the tournament was the form of their Wallaby backs Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale, and Israel Folau. The trio will need to produce the same sort of magic for the national team if the Australians are to lift their second Rugby Championship title.

Rassie Resurgence
The Springboks will be quietly confident about their chances this season after seeing off an admittedly weak English side 2-1 in their home June series. The 'Boks looked a revitalized outfit under Rassie Erasmus' guidance and played a far more attractive and clinical brand of rugby than they produced under Allister Coetzee.

The South Africans will face a lot tougher opposition than the English in this tournament, however, and will need to up their defensive game if they are to finally break their Rugby Championship duck. This will necessitate them finding a competent centre pairing as the 'Boks midfield was about as rigid as a twig during their June series.

Pumped up Pumas
The 2018 Rugby Championship will mark a new dawn for Argentina's Rugby with Jaguares coach Mario Ledesma taking over the national reigns from the long-serving Daniel Hourcade, who stepped down after Argentina's home June series defeat to a second-string Welsh outfit.

There are high hopes for the new man in charge, who guided the Jaguares to their first-ever appearance in the Super Rugby play-offs, this season. Ledesma is likely to have the full support of his dressing room, something Hourcade seemed to have lost during the Autumn of his tenure, which will be key as he will need his veterans to step up to the mark and atone for their horrendous 2017 campaign that saw the Argentine's lose all six of their fixtures.

Verdict: New Zealand 1/7
There's not much value here but I simply cannot see the Kiwis failing to make it three on the trot. While I do think they'll have a tougher time of it this year - they may even lose a game - their home form and ability to grind out wins when their backs are against the wall makes them my choice for the title.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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