20th Sep - RWC 2015 Best Bets

Steve Richardson
Sun, 20 Sep, 9:20 AM

I thought Japan had enough about them to prove a test for Samoa and Scotland in upcoming games but I certainly didn't think they would stay close let alone, topple the mighty Springboks yesterday!

Even Argentina beating the All Blacks at Wembley in the late afternoon game wouldn't be such a seismic shock.

Back in Brighton at lunchtime, Samoa should see off USA but they can't be backed to give up 17 points when they won the teams' summer Pacific Nations Cup clash in San Jose 21-16 and the Eagles pack now includes destructive ex-Northampton now Toulon number eight Samu Manoa.

Still-current Saints Kahn Fotuali'i and Ken Pisi will have warned their international teammates how hard it is to stop Manoa once he is on the move but aiming to deny him time on the ball and actually doing so are two different things. And Samoa give away a lot of penalties so lineout drives from kicks to touch should be a feature. USA also have strike-runners in Chris Wyles and Taku Ngwenya if they are given space/Samoa are reduced in numbers as they are prone to being.

Samoa were also missing players in the June meeting (when they took a 21-3 lead) and one of those, Tim Nanai-Williams, is the man to be on for a try. Nanai-Williams is a Super rugby winner with the Chiefs and starts at full-back but it will be no surprise to see him switch to the centres or wing as the game goes on. He was a shining light for Samoa in their warm-up defeat by the Barbarians at the Olympic Stadium with his mazy runs.

Wales will run up a cricket score (if not quite as many as we/the opposition managed yesterday in our final league game of the summer) against Uruguay in Cardiff and again the tryscorer markets are the place to head for bets, especially with all the bookmakers concessions. Wingers Alex Cuthbert and Hallam Amos should have fun but go for Wales full-back Liam Williams to score two or more tries at 15-8 with Paddy Power and it would be rude not to go for him getting the hat-trick at 13-2 with the same bookmaker. Like namesake centre Scott, a fellow Scarlet too, Williams runs great lines and while he is returning from injury and may not be at his sharpest, his ability to play wing and the need for game-time should keep him on the pitch.

I will be at Wembley with the eldest for what I think will be one of the games of the pool stages between New Zealand and Argentina. As said earlier I am not expecting an upset but nor do I think they will necessarily romp it. They know the Pumas, who beat hosts France on the opening night of 2007 and went all the way to the semi-finals. The rest of the pool stages will be about putting on a show, this will be about the ABs getting their knockout stage tactics in shape. Any All Black can be chosen to score a try because they are so good and they will have so much ball. Full back Ben Smith is my pick at 15-8 with Skybet. Smith can play on the wing or at full back.

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