Rugby World Cup quarter-finals: Springboks too strong for Wales
Steph Mallinson | October 15, 2015
South Africa v Wales
Rugby World Cup 2015 quarter-final
Saturday, October 17th
Kick-off: 16:00 BST
Twickenham Stadium, London
Live on ITV
History makes South Africa strong favourites
Wales may have beaten Rugby World Cup quarter-final opponents South Africa the last time these teams met, but there have only been two occasions in history when the Springboks have lost this fixture.
Coral thus make the Pool B winners from the Southern Hemisphere odds-on 1/3 favourites for victory at Twickenham, where Warren Gatland’s men were bested by Australia in their previous outing.
Morgan at centre, so North back on Welsh wing
Following that loss, which came courtesy of in-form Wallabies fly half Bernard Foley, Warren Gatland has made three changes to the Wales XV with inexperienced centre Tyler Morgan picked over James Hook.
“We thought Tyler played very well against Fiji for a young 20-year-old and we’re putting that faith in him to back him again,” said Gatland, who is 11/4 to steer the Welsh to victory in 80 minutes.
George North, deployed in midfield last time out, reverts to the wing, and is 2/1 to grab a try anytime against South Africa. He is covering for Liam Williams, as yet another tournament-ending injury struck the Welsh camp.
Gatland’s other alterations are in the front row, with Gethin Jenkins coming in at loose head prop, while Dan Lydiate, now complete with metal plate in his eye socket, is favoured over fellow flanker Justin Tipuric.
Scrum half Gareth Davies has also really impressed at this Rugby World Cup, averaging a try per match, and when he scores Wales have won. That makes 7/2 odds in the anytime market worth a wager, but there’s a bolder bet on offer in a 10/1 wincast featuring Davies going over and a Welsh victory.
Springbok dangers are Habana and Pietersen
While Wales’ defending has been by and large excellent at the tournament to date, they are now contending with some real specimens in South African wing wonders Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen.
Habana, now 32, will want to take himself past Jonah Lomu, who jointly holds the Rugby World Cup tryscoring record alongside him. Crossing once against the Welsh will be enough but, fresh from a hat-trick last time out, he is a superb 6/1 for two or more here. The 2/1 wincast featuring Springbok scoring hero Habana also appeals.
Add 2/1 anytime chance Pietersen’s haul of four to the five from Habana at this tournament so far, and that makes it very hard to see how Gatland’s guards will keep South Africa out. It will be attempts by Wales to shackle this deadly duo that determine the outcome this fascinating match.
Because of the resolute nature of the Welsh defence, and five of the Springboks’ last eight victories have been as narrow as it gets in international rugby, backing South Africa for a small margin of victory – namely the 1-5 points bracket – rewards punters with a fabulous 5/1 price.
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