Ireland vs New Zealand Betting Tips, Best Odds and Analysis
For years, Ireland never knew how to beat the All Blacks. Now, after two wins in their last three attempts, suddenly New Zealand don’t seem quite as invincible as they once were.
What’s more, Joe Schmidt has already proved that there is more than one way to beat the All Blacks, emphasised by their 40-29 win in Soldier Field in 2016, followed by their one-try 16-9 win in Dublin last year.
The performance in Chicago proved their ability to limit the world’s best side to no tries, while at the Aviva Stadium they proved their ability to limit the world’s best side to zero tries.
Steve Hansen’s men don’t suffer back-to-back defeats to the same nation very often, and they love nothing more than to avenge a loss, but with the monkey finally off Ireland’s back, anything can happen on Saturday morning.
At 1/5 favourites to win this Rugby World Cup quarter-final, the onus is no doubt on the All Blacks, but Ireland will attract plenty of money at 9/2 and with good reason. A draw, incidentally, is a best price of 40/1 with Boylesports.
Can Ireland Beat New Zealand?
To beat New Zealand for a third time in four meetings, Ireland need a combination of themselves being at their best and the All Blacks being at their worst – it’s that simple. Ireland can force their opponents into a bad performance by being abrasive, getting in their faces and generally being the aggressor.
It’s much easier said than done, but they’ve got to plant some seeds of doubt into the New Zealanders early on. The All Blacks have huge respect for Ireland after being beaten not once but twice in recent years, so they could be mentally vulnerable, knowing that if they don’t perform to the best of their ability they could be looking at a shock early exit.
The fact that 12 of Ireland’s starting XV played in last year’s win over the All Blacks is a massive psychological boost for Schmidt’s side.
Ireland Team To Face New Zealand
I played the All Blacks five or six times and never experienced a win, and let me tell you that takes its toll as you go in to each encounter, it was always in the back of my mind and it always felt to me as though they were unbeatable, because we had never done it at that point.
But now Ireland have a group of players who don’t hold that mental handicap anymore because of what they have already achieved. When I was playing, we had a similar problem against France. For years, we could just never get the better of them, but once we finally did, we cracked on, banished the demons and gradually overtook them as a superpower.
Most of these players will be going out there backing themselves to get a result, knowing they have it in them – the experience of a win like that is huge.
Where The Game Will Be Won
The forward battle is going to be key in this game. However, Ireland must contain whatever level of fast ball that they get. New Zealand’s line-outs are functional, but they’ve never had the tallest players in the game, and that’s an area Schmidt will no doubt be doing his homework on.
New Zealand – who are 5/4 with Betfair to win a third consecutive World Cup – rely on getting the set-piece over and done with quickly and then move the ball on, relying on their handling skills.
New Zealand Team To Face Ireland
You don’t often see the All Blacks looking to go to a maul close to the line-out as you might expect with the likes of England and Ireland. New Zealand prefer to use the re-start to get the game flowing again, so set-pieces will be crucial.
Ireland need to be able to turn over some of their ball and starve New Zealand of possession as much as they can. That, coupled with the breakdown which is going to be huge, will be key to Ireland slowing things down and frustrating the favourites.
Should You Bet on Ireland?
All that being said, it’s very hard to bet against New Zealand, bearing in mind that we haven’t seen enough evidence at this World Cup that suggests Ireland can produce the type of performance worthy of beating the No.1 team in the world right now.
In fact, going back to the warm-up games and even as far back as the Six Nations, Ireland really haven’t produced anything like the type performance required, stretching all the way back to that win over New Zealand on home soil last November.
Many fans, pundits and bettors will have reservations about backing Ireland to win, and that’s just common sense rather than trying to be critical of the squad. But from the players’ point of view, you’d like to think they won’t be too concerned by that – they’ll be focussed on the fact that it’s a one-off game in a World Cup quarter-final and they’ll feel as though they have it in the tank to win.
As for New Zealand, we’re still waiting to see exactly what they have in their locker, because they haven’t actually had much of a test yet, considering South Africa underperformed against them in their opening pool game.
They’re quite rightly the match favourites (2/9 with William Hill), but how good are they exactly? I think we’ll find that out on Saturday. They’re clearly an excellent side – they always are – but what lingers for me is the fact there’s no imposing, stand-out player to be particularly fearful of.
With Beauden Barrett still adopting to a new role, I don’t see where the ‘wow’ factor is, the kind of player who makes you quake in your boots, Jonah Lomu in 1995 being the prime example.
To their credit, they’re more of a collective unit now, a well-oiled machine that work perfectly together in sync, with a carefully laid out plan that everybody involved is fully aware of. Perhaps that’s even more frightening than a star player.
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New Zealand vs Ireland: Best Bet?
I think the All Blacks are going to win it, it’s hard to suggest otherwise, but in terms of betting I think Ireland are good value in the handicap markets with +12 at even-money (1/1 with Paddy Power) looking particularly inviting to me.
If Ireland perform anywhere near to the standard they need to to win – and I think they will – then they won’t be too far off, but I think it's a step too far on the basis of current form.
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