23rd Sep - RWC 2015 Best Bets

Steve Richardson
Wed, 23 Sep, 7:48 AM

Japan are mighty tempting at 11-2 to add Scotland to the scalp of South Africa this afternoon in Gloucester.

This is not just hype after Saturday!

The Brave Blossoms will be supported passionately by every non-Scotsman at Kingsholm and I don't think it was a fluke what they did against the Boks in Brighton.

They have brought a strong pack to this Rugby World Cup, which will worry Scotland. Before the tournament, the Scotland camp talked about attacking with the ball in hand but they will have wanted to keep things tight against the lesser lights in the pool, gaining territory and making the scoreboard move with kicks. Neither tactic will be easy today with conditions underfoot likely to be testing even if rain is not forecast.

Vern Cotter and his team also know now that Japan will not let them dominate up front and that Japan can complete slick backline moves and score tries after sustained phases of play.

Decent efforts in warm-up matches are not solid proof that Scotland have got over their tryscoring troubles in big games either. This is a big game now because of Japan's heroics.

Japan with an 18-point start is the bet though.

Eddie Jones's six-change refreshment of the side may not be able to fully offset the four-day turnaround and Scotland are forewarned of Japan's skills and not complacent.

If it is a close contest as expected, and like the South Africa clash, then Japan skipper Michael Leitch will surely not be turning down instructions from the booth to take easy penalties in front of the posts to claim a draw today. Two points will do just nicely in helping Japan's now believable pre-tournament aim of reaching the quarter-finals. A losing bonus point would be acceptable too.

In Cardiff, Australia are certainly not being complacent about beating Fiji and claiming a try-bonus point to keep tabs on England and Wales.

Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika has picked his strongest side after the South Sea Islanders pushed England for 70 minutes at Twickenham.

Both breakdown aces Michael Hooper and David Pocock are included and Bernard Foley has been picked at fly-half, rather than the flamboyant Quade Cooper, to put Australia in the right place to strike and defend the channel from Fiji's heavyweight runners.

Australia should prevail and get their four tries at least but this bares all the hallmarks of being a classic clash beneath the Millennium Stadium roof.

Fiji certainly have the backline talent to dazzle and Friday shows they have the forwards to fight too so 10-3 about them staying within 14 points on one of the special handicaps looks value. A few more converted kicks and England nerves really would have jangled.

It is easy to make a case for so many players in the tryscoring markets in this game but one that seems to have slipped under the radar with Ladbrokes is Peceli Yato at 14-1. Yato comes into the Fiji side for banned flanker Dominic Waqaniburoto and has scored seven tries in his 11 outings for Clermont.

A second-string France side should be too strong for Romania tonight after a decent early contest at the breakdown and set-piece. However, rather than backing Les Bleus to give up 38 points, back scrum-half Morgan Parra to score a try at 2-1 with Betfair Sportsbook.

Le Petit General may not be able to resist scampering over himself after cajoling his pack into position and he has a point to prove to coach Philippe Saint-Andre.

Good luck and remember to look out for those bookmaker concessions.

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