A 38-31 win over Japan was far from convincing on the surface from New Zealand, though when considering Ian Foster put out something of a makeshift side, the fact they were away in Tokyo and that Brodie Retallick saw red with 15 minutes still left on the clock, it doesn’t look as bad. They’ll face a sterner test this weekend against the Welsh, though we’ll also see a more familiar All Blacks side take to the field in what ought to be a heated contest.
Many suggest this is Wales’ best chance to claim their first victory against New Zealand since 1953, a run that span 17 matches now, and they may not be wrong. The Kiwis look a lot more vulnerable than we’ve become accustomed to seeing over the years, with a record of just W6-L6 over the past 12 months, and while they come into this off the back of four successive victories, the win over Japan was far from convincing, despite the mitigating factors, while they were awarded a dubious 39-37 win over the Wallabies as referee Mathieu Raynal decided he wanted to steal the show.
All Blacks -12 Handicap
While the visitors do look somewhat exposed defensively, the Welsh haven’t exactly been at the top of their game under Wayne Pivac and despite carrying a newfound element of flair, results have fallen by the wayside. Indeed, the Red Dragons have now lost five of their last six matches, including a humbling defeat to Italy in Cardiff.
As mentioned, the All Blacks have won 17 on the bounce against Wales now, with the last 10 seeing them score a minimum of 33 points (average 39.1 per game), while the last nine have also seen them cover the 14-point handicap. The line currently sits at 12, and despite their relatively poor form over the past year, we’d expect them to pull through and cover it again.
Over 51.5 Points
While the gulf in class has been evident over the years, this game often produces some thrilling moments, and with both sides current approaches, points are very much on the cards.
New Zealand have shown some defensive frailties over the last 12 months, conceding at least two tries in each of their last six away outings, with their points against in that run sitting at an average of 31. Pivac plays an attacking brand of rugby, and we could see tries galore here so the overs line appeals.
NEW ZEALAND –12 HANDICAP
OVER 51.5 POINTS
Wales v All Blacks Teams
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