The Tri Nations has been one brilliant form guide for punters looking to bet on the Rugby World Cup, but that form was thrown out of the window with South Africa defeating New Zealand today.
South Africa had picked up just one win – over England – in their last five Tests before lining up against New Zealand today.
That included a defeat in Murrayfield to Scotland and following three straight defeats in the Tri Nations, there weren’t many punters prepared to back South Africa to victor in the World Cup.
But via the boot of Morne Steyn and some incredible forward play South Africa turned over a weakened, but still strong New Zealand side in Port Eliabeth 18-5.
New Zealand scored the only try of the game and South Africa made 104 tackles to New Zealand’s 81, but it was up front where South Africa sent out a marker to their World Cup rivals.
They won all of their nine scrums and turned over one All Black scrum, won seven of their eight lineouts and forced New Zealand to concede 12 penalties.
From a side who had seen their World Cup chances written off, it was a very efficient performance and Wales should be very worried about their opening game with the Springboks in Wellington on September 11.
South Africa are 9/1 to win the World Cup and on the basis of today’s form, that looks a huge price considering Australia are 4/1 and New Zealand are 8/15.
There is just the one game left in the Tri Nations and it will be the title decider between Australia and New Zealand in Brisbane next week, but while South Africa have no chance of winning the tournament, they will take a huge amount of confidence into the World Cup.
South Africa are 2/9 to win their pool and after such a dominant forward display today, coupled with a poor showing at the lineouts from Wales against Argentina, they look a shoe-in to win Group D.