Rugby Championship Betting Preview: Australia the handicap bet in South Africa

In round 5 of the Rugby Championship, Australia will meet South African in a game that will be deciding who eventually finishes second behind New Zealand.

Recommended bet: Australia +3.5 points handicap @ 9/10 (1.90) with Centrebet

It’s Round 5 of the Rugby Championship this weekend, with South Africa and Australia meeting at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria on Saturday evening in a game that will go a long way to deciding who eventually finishes (a distant) second behind New Zealand.

Following their 41-13 drubbing by the All Blacks at the AMI Stadium in Christchurch last time out, the Springboks have now lost three on the spin (all on the road) to slip to third in the standings and there is increasing criticism of head coach Allister Coetzee and his management team over a perceived lack of tactical acumen.

The Boks also come into this match looking to avenge a 23-17 defeat to the Wallabies in Brisbane in Round 3.  South Africa had been 14-3 ahead in that match, so will feel they should have held out for the win.

That victory ended a six-match losing streak for Australia and they have since gone on to beat Argentina 36-20 in Perth in Round 4 to move into second place behind the all-conquering All Blacks. The result in Perth against the Pumas was never really in serious doubt once the Wallabies flew into a 21-0 lead within the opening 14-minutes.

Australia’s record in South Africa is anything but great as it is and they are taking on the Boks at a venue in which they’ve never won previously.  However, there are some serious issues within South African rugby at present that leaves them looking vulnerable.

In terms of team news, the Boks included fly-half Patrick Lambie in their 31-man squad, although whether they select him to play after a lengthy concussion-related absence of over three months is questionable.  Willie le Roux also earns a recall.  The Wallabies have included hooker Tolu Latu and winger Sefa Naivalu in their squad and Nick Frisby returns.  David Pocock will miss the remainder of the Rugby Championship with a fractured hand, so Sean McMahon is his likely stand-in at No.8.

Neither team is in great shape at present, with both going through periods of transition.  Australia come into this game with a little momentum to build upon though after a couple of victories and they might just be worth backing on the Handicap.