Rugby Championship: Australia and South Africa repeat predicted

Australia’s 21-17 loss away to Argentina in last year’s Rugby Championship pretty much put paid to Ewen McKenzie’s spell in the Wallabies hotseat, but whether the ex-prop’s successor Michael Cheika will do any better in the world’s most poorly-named tournament remains to be seen.

Cheika’s men posted the worst set of Australian autumn internationals series results for almost a decade during the former Leinster and Stade Francais coach’s first few months in charge, going down 27-16 in their final match to an England side that found both New Zealand and South Africa a bit too good.

They face the Springboks in Brisbane after squeaking past Heyneke Meyer’s men by a point when hosting in this competition last term, before going down 28-10 in Cape Town a few weeks later.

Australia welcome back 92-cap centre Matt Giteau after the Toulon ace’s four-year sabbatical from international rugby, while maverick number 10 Quade Cooper and jinking scrum-half Will Genia get the chance to carry their in-form partnership with club side the Reds onto the main stage.

However, fielding the unpredictable duo against Meyer’s murderous Springbok outfit is risky, and Cheika suffered a blow when Glasgow-bound winger Taqele Naiyaravoro, who has been compared to a young Jonah Lomu, opted to go ahead with his move to Scotland over joining up with the Wallabies.

Last September we tipped up a draw between this pair at 18/1, with little to split Australia and South Africa bar the hosts’ home advantage, leaving the outright-betting markets in a toss-up state at 4/6 and 5/4 respectively.

There’s hardly any change in the win-draw-win stakes 10-and-a-half-months on; Cheika’s crowd attract an 8/11 favourites’ quote, while Meyer’s men are available at 11/8.

With that in mind, the advice is the same. Back the draw at 18/1, and hedge with a side wager on Australia to win by 1-5 points at 15/4.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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