New Zealand’s Rugby World Cup Odds Unmoved As Wallabies Drift
Back-to-back world champions New Zealand have consolidated their odds of 5/4 to win the Rugby World Cup as they prepare to face Ireland in Tokyo with a full-strength line-up.
Meanwhile southern hemisphere rivals Australia have seen their odds lengthen slightly from 25/1 to 28/1 after last eight opponents England were able to name a similarly intimidating starting XV.
Due to the disruption caused by Typhoon Hagabis, both New Zealand and England have only played three of their scheduled four group matches, yet each still qualified top of their respective pools.
That extra rest period has enabled All Blacks coach Steve Hansen to name influential second row Brodie Retallick in his team for Saturday’s clash with Ireland in Tokyo as he makes a rapid recovery from a shoulder dislocation.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, whose side suffered a shock defeat to hosts Japan in their opening match, has trusted in the old guard to derail the tournament favourites.
Ireland’s starting line-up includes 12 of the team that beat New Zealand for the second time in three years last November, with full-back Rob Kearney and flanker Peter O’Mahony returning.
Rugby World Cup 2019 Odds
Despite that impressive record, Ireland are still trying to rediscover the form that helped them climb to the top of the world rankings pre-tournament and as a result are best priced at 9/2 to advance to the last four while the All Blacks are heavy favourites at 2/9.
The victor will face the winner of bitter rivals Australia and England who play first in Oita on Saturday.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has put his faith in the precocious but untested 19-year-old Jordan Petaia at outside centre while England coach Eddie Jones is able to name the vastly experienced Mako Vunipola in his starting XV for the first time.
England, third favourites to lift the Well Ellis Trophy at 9/2 with Betfair, also retain Mako’s brother Billy Vunipola at number eight after the extra time off helped him recover from a twisted ankle sustained against Argentina.
It means one-time winners England head into the first quarter final of the tournament as 4/11 favourites for their tie while Australia are 11/4 underdogs.
With the odds stacked against them, the Wallabies will hope to spring an upset on par with the result that knocked England out of their home tournament four years ago in Twickenham and waltz into the semi-finals for a showdown with New Zealand in Yokohama.
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