England take on world champions New Zealand this Saturday in a blockbuster clash for the first time in four years. The two nations have not met at Twickenham since All Blacks won 30-22 in 2013.
New Zealand are the current World Cup holders, winners in both 2015 and 2011, and are ranked number one in the world. Under Steve Hansen they became even better, clinical and efficient.
England were ranked number two last year, but have since slipped down to fourth after a terrible Six Nations campaign and two losses while on tour to South Africa.
But they have bounced back to beat the Springboks twice in a row, defeating them last weekend at Twickenham.
With Australian Eddie Jones at the helm, an old opponent of the Kiwis for decades, England have been waiting for the chance to meet the All Blacks and test their mettle for some time.
England and New Zealand are old rivals and have played against each other 40 times since 1905. But of those games the All Blacks have won 32, lost seven and drawn one, with a winning percentage of 80%.
Amazingly, they have a 91% winning rate against all nations since the 2015 Rugby World Cup. They appear to go from strength to strength, rarely missing a beat.
As such, they go into this weekend’s game as clear favourites, despite playing away from home.
William Hill has them as short-priced as 1/6, while Unibet have them at 1/5 and Betway 2/11, offering no real value.
England are priced at a respectable 4/1 by William Hill, 9/2 by Betway and 18/5 by Unibet.
While an England win is unlikely, it not entirely impossible in a one-off Test on home soil as their clash six years ago in south-west London proved.
With 80,000 fans behind them, Eddie Jones’ side are worth a look for an upset win. The All Blacks, champions as they are, are not invincible and they did lose to a rebuilding South Africa earlier this year.
Cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams comes back into the New Zealand starting XV for this weekend. He will take his place in the centres alongside rookie Jack Goodhue.
The dangerous Damian McKenzie has also been named at fullback, giving the Kiwis more potency to their attack.
With a halves partnership of World Rugby Player of the Year favourite Beauden Barrett and Aaron Smith, locks of Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick, and captained by number 9 Kieran Read, this is a world-class team with no real weaknesses.
England are largely staying true to the side that beat the Springboks last weekend. Ben Te’o is in the centres with Owen Farrell expected back at fly-half.
Flanker Sam Underhill will move into the back-row for the injured Tom Curry. England are still missing some top-line performances such as Billy Vunipola, but they do welcome back veterans Courtney Lawes and Manu Tulagi.
If Brad Shields gets the nod to play it will be an emotional occasion as the 27-year-old is from New Zealand, played for New Zealand’s Under-20s, captained the Hurricanes and only qualifies for England through his parents.
A draw is a long shot, priced at 25/1 by William Hill. Draws in rugby union are rare and are not worth investing your money in. But there is better value in the other markets, such as the first scoring play.
England to score first by a penalty goal is 15/8 with Betway, and is definitely worth considering with Owen Farrell’s dead-eyed accuracy with the boot from across the field.
New Zealand to score first through a penalty is 7/4 with Betway while an All Blacks opening try is priced at 23/5 by Unibet.
Both options are worth a splash. England scoring first through a try is less likely at 7/1 with Betway, but also decent value.
There is little value with the handicaps and the odds for New Zealand to win both halves is very short at 10/13 with Unibet.
The best value for this game comes with choosing the winning margins. New Zealand to win by 1- 12 points is priced at 19/10 with Unibet, while an All Blacks victory by 11 to 20 points is lodged at 5/2 with Betway.
Both are good bets to place. A blowout New Zealand victory of 21 to 25 points is unlikely, though possible, and is priced at 7/1 by both William Hill and Betway.
Conversely if you are backing the upset, then England to win by 1-10 points is 11/2 with Betway, and to win by between 1 and 12 points is 19/4 with Unibet.
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