New Zealand vs Australia: Hosts to reach final with tight victory

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New Zealand may look back on the last few Rugby World Cups with regret and thoughts of missed opportunities, but they should reach their first final since 1995 at the expense of trans-Tasman foes Australia.

Eden Park is a stadium where Australia have not triumphed in 25 years and this is not ideal as they prepare to meet the tournament favourites, with the winner progressing to face France in the final.

Home advantage will be a massive plus for New Zealand despite the added pressure that brings and they are 2/5 to triumph.

New Zealand have arguably been the most impressive of the southern hemisphere contingent thus far in the tournament and not only can they expose Australia readily in attack, but challenge continually through captain Richie McCaw at the breakdown.

His tussle in this area with opposite number David Pocock could virtually decide the outcome.

Australia are 9/4 in the Rugby World Cup odds to leave New Zealand disappointed again and their best hope may be in pressurising Aaron Cruden, who is the third scrum half the All Blacks have had to use at the tournament.

In three of the last four head-to-head meetings between the pair, the winning margin has been within five points. New Zealand to win by a margin of 1-5 points is 9/2.

Five-time try scorer Israel Dagg represents a good bet at 11/4 to score at any time; while the in-form Ma’a Nonu, arguably one of the players of the tournament, is 10/3.

The versatile Adam Ashley-Cooper is Australia’s leading try scorer and will fill in at full-back if the borderline Kurtley Beale pulls out with injury. He is 5/1 to score at any time.

Given most pundits are predicting a close game, 7/2 for a drop goal to be scored in the match seems a great option.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.