The group stages are behind us and on Tuesday the playoff for positions begins. We take a look at all 6 matches and highlight a few bets.
There are now only 4 teams that can win the title and defending champions, New Zealand remain firm favourites at 9/10. 2016 champions, England, are next in the betting at 16/10 with hosts France 6/1 and South Africa the rank outsiders at 16/1. – click here for outright betting.
9th PLACED SEMI-FINALS
The 12 teams have now been divided up into groups of 4 and the winner of Ireland v Scotland will take on the winner of Georgia v Japan for 9th placed with the two losing teams battling it out for 11th.
Ireland finished bottom of Pool C after a disappointing loss to Georgia in their final game prior to that they looked quite impressive against South Africa and France but despite the late comeback they could only get with 4 points of Georgia. Scotland never recovered from a late defeat to Italy in their opening match and they were then well beaten by England and Argentina. These sides met in the 6 Nations back in March with Ireland winning 30-25 at home. While I was disappointed in Ireland’s last game they have looked impressive at times in the tournament and I cannot say the same for Scotland. I think Ireland will be at this handicap and win by 7 points or more.
Georgia finished 3rd in Pool C after beating the handicap against France and South Africa before upsetting Ireland. They face Japan who were beaten 67-0 by New Zealand in their opener and were also given a 54-19 hiding by Australia in their second match. They did impress in their final game against Wales though going down by 18-17. The Japanese have been given a 16.5 points start by the bookmakers who I think may be under-estimating them. If this was Georgia against Wales the handicap would be much closer and given Japan nearly beat Wales I am happy to take them on the plus.
5th PLACED SEMI-FINALS
Wales finished runner-up to New Zealand in Pool A having beaten Japan and Australia by a single point and 5 points respectively but going down by 32 points to New Zealand. Their opponents Argentina have showed flashes of brilliance throughout the tournament and although they lost their opening match by 21 points to England, they gave the impression that they were capable of pushing the top sides. They beat Scotland comfortably but then were very disappointing in being getting beaten by Italy 30-26 in their final match. This looks a tricky game from a betting perspective and the handicap of Argentina (-3.5) looks about right for that reason it is just going to be a small interest on Argentina on the handicap as I do feel that if they played to potential they will win this comfortably.
Italy finished runners-up to England in Pool B after victories over Argentina and Scotland, they face Australia who were shocked by Wales in Matchday 1 but beat Japan comfortably and then gave New Zealand a real scare last time out before losing 27-18. Italy have shown that they are no mugs but if Australia can reproduce the sort of form they showed against New Zealand then they should beat this handicap of 7.5 points.
England topped Pool B with 3 bonus point victories and the 21 point win over Argentina was their narrowest winning margin. They face a South Africa side which snuck in through the back door after a 29-46 loss to France, a game in which the 17 point winning margin does not do the French justice as they stepped off the gas in the second-half. The baby Boks had previously edged past Georgia and beaten Ireland a bit more convincingly with a late flurry of points. It is hard to know what to make of that performance against France but based on what I saw against Ireland this Boks side should be capable of pushing England close and I like the (+9.5) on offer.
France turned in perhaps the most impressive half of the tournament against South Africa and they had very much put the game to bed by the time the second 40 minutes kicked off but they were less impressive against Georgia and Ireland and they certainly face a tougher task against tournament favourites, New Zealand. New Zealand were stretched for the first time in beating Australia 27-18 in Matchday 3, prior to that they had beaten the handicap against both Wales and Japan, winning by 32 and 67 points respectively. Bookmakers are giving France a 1 score start in this game and based on what I have seen I think they have an excellent chance of winning it. They have talent and skill across the park and while the same can be said for New Zealand I have a feeling that home ground advantage might edge things in their favour and I am going to back France straight up to win the game.
Ireland v Scotland – click here to bet
Handicap, Ireland (-6.5) at 9/10
Georgia v Japan – click here to bet
Handicap, Japan (+16.5) at 19/10
Wales v Argentina – click here to bet
Handicap, Argentina (-3.5) at 9/10
Italy v Australia – click here to bet
Handicap, Australia (-7.5) at 9/10
England v South Africa – click here to bet
Handicap, South Africa (+9.5) at 9/10
New Zealand v France – click here to bet
France win at 22/10
Note: Prices correct at the time of posting but are subject to change