Graham Henry’s troops will be expected to overcome their repetitive World Cup nerves that have seen them cupless since 1987 and without a final appearence since 1995 and go all the way but a Tri Nations loss to Australia was not an ideal way to prepare.
Admittedly New Zealand have never done well in the Northern Hemisphere and have always finished in the medals in the Southern Hemisphere so Betfred’s 4/11 about them to reach the final is a cert but some eyes have now shifted to Australia after their stunning Tri Nations victory. make Robbie Deans and his Aussie team 4/1 2nd favs and if they can avoid the All Blacks, they have a real chance of upsetting the home crowds, especially when James O’Connor returns from his ban.
Australia must win their group (1/4, Stan James) and trust New Zealand do the same to ensure they can only meet in the final; Betdaq putting 2.1 (11/10) about Australia reaching the final, an excellent bet. Once there, it’s much more a ‘one off match’ environment where anything can happen.
Of the challengers, South Africa are next in the betting at 9/1 with Ladbrokes, France are 16/1 (Boylesports) and England weigh in at 18/1 with Sportingbet. England have an amazing record in recent Cups; runners up in 2007 and winners in 2005 despite much maligned squads and form. This time they may be out of their depth though. England will likely play France in the quarters and NZ in the semis and don’t look like repeating the heroics of recent times. France are 11/10 (Blue Square) to make the semi finals. The French are also 13/8 () to be the best of the Six-Nations teams.
The Southern Hemisphere are just 1/7 (Stan James) to keep the cup down under and Australia are a good bet in our eyes to edge out the Kiwis in the Auckland final (the two are 6/4 to meet with William Hill).