Ireland and New Zealand will meet at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday in a match the rugby world have been looking forward to for some time.
Ireland are the second favourites behind New Zealand to win the World Cup at 17/4 – click here for outright betting and this match should give us a good indication of just how big a threat they are to the All Blacks.
Ireland have only lost one test match in 2018 and that was in Australia, where they still won the series 2-1 and last week they were too strong for Argentina, winning 28-17 in a match in which they never really played to their potential. They won all 3 of their home Six Nations matches earlier this year with a 10 point victory at Wales being the narrowest margin of victory.
The All Blacks have also only lost once in 2018 and that was at home to South Africa. They had to come from behind to beat England 16-15 at Twickenham last week, a match which clearly shows that the gap between the Northern and Southern hemispheres has closed considerably.
Ireland have a terrible record at home against New Zealand and you have to go back to 1973 for the last time they avoided defeat in a 10-10 draw. The sides met here in 2016 with the All Blacks winning 21-9 and in 2013 Ireland just failed to beat the All Blacks, losing 24-22. Ireland did beat New Zealand in 2016 winning 40-29 in Chicago, a result that announced them as major contenders for the World Cup.
Betting – click here to bet
New Zealand 9/20
Ireland +5.5 at 9/10
New Zealand -5.5 at 9/10
Suggested bet: Handicap, Ireland (+5.5) at 9/10.
I am very impressed with Irish rugby at the moment and while New Zealand remain the team to beat, I am not convinced they will have things all their own way and reckon we are in for another tight one in Dublin.
Note: Prices correct at the time of posting but are subject to change