The Australia-France series has been a head-scratcher so far but we think we have finally worked it out for a busy weekend of international rugby union. They will square off in Game 3 on Saturday night from Suncorp Stadium and as always, Jim Tucker has you covered with a preview and betting tips below.
Sat, July 17, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane 8pm (AEST)
Confession. I’ve overrated the Wallabies in two Tests running and plenty of punters have too because they thought the Aussies would cover 9.5 points with some ease. OK, what to make of it all heading into a decider at Suncorp Stadium.
In terms of pure vibe, the French can down tools in a sense. They have won already against the odds because pinching the second Test in Melbourne was their first win on Aussie soil in 31 years. The Wallabies have it all still to prove after under-performing twice. Weirdly, the Wallabies played better when losing the second Test than they did when winning the first Test.
Les Bleus stole the Wallabies’ ball at the tackle area like they were picking strawberries in a French field at a picnic in Melbourne. The Wallabies can forget it if they don’t improve 100 per cent in this key area.
Protecting their own ball will give much more flow to the Wallabies’ attack. If either of those early Marika Koroibete no-tries had stuck in the second Test, the Wallabies might have been away. One big stat from this series is the poor start handbrake on the Wallabies...down 15-0 in the first Test and down 16-6 in the second. Get a flying start.
You have to like Tate McDermott at halfback. He’s a sniper and creator around the rucks. He’ll enjoy Hunter Paisami shifting in from outside to inside centre so he has a hard-running passing target to get the Wallabies rolling onto the front foot. McDermott’s pass is still not all it should be and he can’t suddenly decide to throw cutout passes. They’ll get picked off by the rushing French defenders. Big, direct runners like Paisami, Naisarani and Valetini need to be used in tight off shorter balls so the Wallabies can play on the front foot. Here we go again, talking up the Wallabies. Recalled winger Filipo Daugunu can be as big a handful as Koroibete.
Keep the faith and back the Wallabies to produce their best performance of the series. Wallabies to win at -11.5 pts at $3.25 if you want a precise tip. The more conservative should follow the formal tip below.
Sat, July 17, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, 5.05pm (AEST)
That was a fine effort by Fiji to keep the damage to 57-23 against the All Blacks a week ago and make a statement with some excellent play. The Fijians have lost inspirational centre and captain Levani Botia with a knee problem. He was the player who crunched Damian McKenzie in the first Test.
On the flip side, the Fijians have called in three Australian-based players including Melbourne Rebel Frank Lomani to start at halfback. Moses Sorovi, recently signed by the Rebels from the Reds, will be back-up halfback and is in line for a Test debut. Brisbane-based Teti Tela will be on the bench too.
The All Blacks have Richie Mo’unga back at flyhalf for a better all-round performance. A Codie Taylor Anytime Try from, say, a rolling maul off a lineout ($1.62) is giving money away.
Sun, July 18, Cape Town Stadium, 2am (AEST)
So disappointing that all the South African provinces have been stripped of current Springboks for the tour games. It makes the games glorified training runs. Put a top side against the Lions, like the midweek South Africa A side, and they get beaten.
Can see another big score here even with no great confidence in the Lions halves of Ali Price and Marcus Smith.
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