South Africa have been so powerful in three big wins since their shock first Saturday defeat by Japan that it is hard not to see them punishing Wales in this first quarter-final at Twickenham for blowing their lines against Australia last week in the Pool A decider.

Springbok wingers Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen are scoring tries for fun, hulking centre Damien de Allende is breaking the gainline relentlessly and hooker Bismarck du Plessis and flankers Francois Louw and Schalk Burger have shown on multiple occasions how well their rolling maul is now functioning.

However, the Dragons with a handicap start of nine still appeals as a bet.

The Boks have only given up this number of points four times in the teams' last ten meetings even though they have won nine of them. And while they have had a nine-day break, there is a suspicion that the way Pool B panned out may leave South Africa unprepared for the storm to follow. Wales have had their injury-disruptions but they look a battle-hardened outfit rather than a battle-fatigued one at the moment.

Yes, the Wallabies were wonderful against England a fortnight ago and it does seem churlish to downplay their defensive determination on going down to 13 men against Wales when a similar feat of strength by England against New Zealand in 2002 was seen as evidence that Clive Woodward's side were ready to rule the world. But Dragons head coach Warren Gatland laid out a gameplan for beating the Aussies last week and essentially it worked but for a couple of held-ups over the line and a couple of pieces of sloppy handling and poor decision-making. These things happen and Gatland and his brains trust have proved on many an occasion that they know exactly how to lift teams straight after a disappointment and adjust tactics to different opponents, and this includes South Africa.

Gatland is set to send out his first-choice pack, with veteran loosehead Gethin Jenkins returning after a rest and Dan Lydiate's extra bulk back at blindside, which is key to tackling the Boks.

Scrum-half Gareth Davies has the speed to harry Fourie du Preez. Fly-half Dan Biggar has the boot and brain to punish Bok indiscipline and there has been far more of that than the Samoa, Scotland and USA score columns suggest.

In midfield, Jamie Roberts and Tyler Morgan bear an uncanny resemblance to de Allende and Jesse Kriel as a large and lively centre-combination. On the flanks, George North and Alex Cuthbert should give Habana and Pietersen plenty of food for thought.

And at full-back, Gareth Anscombe could be more settled for his Wallabies run out and ready to show the range of skills regularly shown at Super rugby level for the Chiefs before his move to Cardiff Blues last year that started the process of integration into the Wales set-up.

In the build-up, Gatland has probably not be putting too much store in their Cardiff win over a much-weaker Bok lineup last November but he will have been reminding them of their narrow defeat the previous June in Nelspruit after a Durban drubbing the week before. And no doubt there will have been plenty of talk about how they matched the Boks in the pool stages of the last World Cup only for a contentious call on the conversion of a James Hook kick to be the difference. Memories of a foot-and-hand perfect performance against Ireland in horrible conditions at the 2011 World Cup quarter-finals will be invoked too. South Africa's inability to brush off Japan and summer Rugby Championship troubles against New Zealand, Australia and Argentina will have been analysed intensely.

Get on a drop goal in the game at 7-4. Biggar and Bok fly-half Handre Pollard have shown before they go for this option when the situation calls for it for club and country and it could well again here, whether it is to settle their team down, a free-attempt because of a penalty-advantage, to take a lead, extend one or narrow a gap before it gets alarming.

A record-breaking Habana try is sure to be popular and cases can be made for so many more on both sides, but the anytime tryscorer bet that looks a bit of value is South Africa full-back Willie le Roux at 3-1. Le Roux is a magnificent support runner of breaks and does not lose much in comparison with wingers for speed on the burst. He is yet to touch down at this tournament but has nine tries in 31 Tests including one in each match against Wales in June 2014.

Anytime tryscorer bets on Aaron Smith and Sonny Bill Williams are best in the second Saturday quarter-final in Cardiff in which France get a 13-point start from New Zealand.

The rambling, scrambling nature of All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen's Thursday press conference - when he harked back to the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior, kind of trash-talked the Top 14 and yet said he respected Les Bleus because of historical World Cup performances and expects them to conjure a magical effort out of nowhere - sums up the problem for punters.

These All Blacks are brilliant at their best and the best in the world by a sizeable margin but they haven't shown it yet at this tournament and they were seriously worried for an hour on the opening Sunday by Argentina.

France have a heavyweight pack like the Pumas and everyone also knows that in an instant they can create the space for backs like Wesley Fofana and Noa Nakaitaci to thrive. They also revel in their role of pantomime villain in the Kiwi conscience. Of course, they were reffed out of the title four years ago in Auckland and at the Millennium Stadium in their 2007 quarter-final of course they got lucky with the officiating and the All Blacks injuries, while in 1999 they somehow stopped Jonah Lomu and the Kiwi juggernaut. When the teams met in Paris two autumns ago, Les Bleus were battering the line late on in the hopes of a converted try to level the scores (finished 26-19).

However, France were well-beaten, especially up front, by Ireland on Sunday so there could be a physical hangover from the tough contest and the All Blacks took advantage of tired Tonga legs to push 50 points on Friday night.

These should be the most relevant matches for analysis and New Zealand scrum-half Aaron Smith loves to be a nuisance close to the line from the base of scrums and rucks. He also has a great dummy and sprint and supports breaks. He scored against Argentina and 7-2 is a tidy price about a 14th Test try.

Sonny Bill Williams has been the catalyst for plenty of what has been good on attack for the All Blacks, with his sidesteps and offloads, in the pool stages even when coming off the bench like in this encounter and 7-2 is fair value for him to claim a second try of the tournament.

Recommended Bets:

Wales +9 - 1pt @ 1/1
Drop goal 1pt 7-4 - 1pt @ 7/4
Willie Le Roux - Anytime Tryscorer - 1pt @ 3/1
Aaron Smith - Anytime Tryscorer - 1pt @ 7/2
Sonny Bill Wiliiams - Anytime Tryscorer - 1pt @ 7/2