Rugby World Cup: Bet on wins for Wales and England
Now that Ireland have caused the first big shock of the Rugby World Cup with a victory over Australia, the onus is certainly on Wales and England to ensure that it is a perfect weekend in New Zealand for the home nations.
A dominant performance by the Irish packed was largely responsible for the 15-6 victory, with two late penalties from Ronan O’Gara confirming the win.
Ireland now only have to beat Russia and Italy to ensure finishing top of their group and avoid a likely quarter-final with South Africa, which is something that now looks a fixture that awaits the Aussies.
With one shock already completed, Wales and particularly England will need to make sure that they are not on the receiving ends of even bigger upsets.
Wales v Samoa (Sunday 4.30am)
Warren Gatland’s side should bounce back from their opening defeat against South Africa with a victory against Samoa.
Wales looked good for long periods against the defending champions, with lock Alun-Wyn Jones in particular impressing. The Welsh forwards will need to be at their best against the Samoan pack, who were dominant in their 49-12 crushing of Namibia.
The Welsh have won four of their previous seven games against Samoa and are on for a hat-trick after winning the last two meetings.
Wales should have enough to pick up a first victory but, with their largest winning margin in the past two years being a 33-10 victory over Italy and Samoa high in confidence, back Samoa to win with a nine-point head start at 10/11.
England v Georgia (Sunday, 7am)
The only time these sides have met previously was in the 2003 World Cup where Martin Johnson led his side to an 84-6 victory.
Their biggest victory since that World Cup though was their 70-0 win against Canada in 2007, while Georgia have shown they are not the walkover they once were by winning their previous eight games.
None of those defeated sides were in the same class as England though, so backing Georgia to win with a 38-point head start in the handicap market looks worth a punt at 10/11.