Unbeatable All Blacks and powerful Pumas to advance with ease
Pool C has an inevitability about it. That is mainly because it contains New Zealand. The Rugby World Cup holders are joined by Argentina, Tonga, Georgia and Namibia. It shouldn’t be too strenuous a start for the All Blacks that’s for sure.
Quite simply the best team on the planet, there is no way that New Zealand will not top this pool, as their 1/40 price with Winner shows. They have a wide array of talent at their disposal and their strength in depth is the envy of all in the land. They averaged 60 points at this stage of the competition last year and have never lost to any of the teams in their pool. It’s as dead cert as they come.
Argentina arrived as 16/1 with Stan James to win this pool, but in all honesty that isn’t going to happen. What is most likely to occur is that they grab the second spot and qualify, which is available at 1/7 with Sky Bet. The Pumas have not progressed since a third place finish in 2007 but victories away at France and Italy in the autumn showed they can still mix it. They should qualify, and then the real work starts.
Tonga have constantly bettered themselves with their World Cup showings but they are an ageing side and may find that difficult this time round. They are 9/1 with Paddy Power to qualify from this pool but they arrive as the lowest ranked of the Pacific Island sides this time round. Their infamous win over France in 2011 means they are no longer a surprise package and they may struggle to make an impact on Argentina.
Georgia will serve-up a powerful pack of forwards that will hit hard and work even the biggest of sides. They are 45/1 with Paddy Power to grab second place here having won the Nations Cup for a fifth consecutive time last year. A lack of regular action against top opposition works against them, as a hammering by Ireland in November shows. A physical challenge for their pool-mates but one most should overcome with a lot of bumps and bruises.
Namibia’s World Cup record reads: played 15 lost 15. They are the unfortunate holders of the biggest ever loss – 142-0 to Australia – and their clash with New Zealand could well surpass that.
They are 500/1 to qualify with Stan James but that is extremely unlikely. Four losses awaits.
Bookies.com’s betting tip – Tonga qualify @ 9/1 with Paddy Power