Rugby 7's betting guru Sean Nicholas nails up his bets for matches 1 to 8 of the 2019 Cape Town 7's
Game 1 – Australia vs Ireland
The Aussies were sensational for the pool games in Dubai thrashing Scotland (43-14), Ireland (45-21) and the USA (24-12). They had a 2 minute brain fart against Samoa and that ultimately cost them a Cup semi-final spot. The Aussies have added Sean McMahon to their squad and that’s a big plus.
Ireland were excellent against Scotland last weekend but their loss to Spain showed their inexperience as a core team. The Spanish played ugly 7s rugby and starved the Irish of possession and although Jordan Conroy was phenomenal in Dubai, his late knock on against the Spanish proved costly
Looking at this match and there are varying opinions on the books
Playabets have Aussie -11.5 at 5/6
Hollywood have Ireland +14.5 at 17/20
The Aussies destroyed Ireland in Dubai but the Irish will take confidence in the fact that they managed to get 3 tries on the board. Quadzilla vs Conroy should be a great speed race if they are both on the pitch at the same time.
The Aussies went 3-1 on the handicaps in Dubai while Ireland went 2-2. I have to lean against Ireland +14.5 at Hollywood given the fact that the Irish beat Australia in Paris and London last series. Aussie to win by 8-14 points here
Game 2 – Samoa vs Kenya
Samoa were brilliant in Dubai but fell just short against England losing 19-17 in the Bronze Final. Kenya were handicap kings last weekend going 4-0! This is mainly due to the fact that their full side is back on the series having sorting out the contract issues that decimated their squad last year.
The handicap opened at Samoa -4.5 and has been pushed to -6.5 in places.
I think that this is a cracking time to back Kenya to win at 2/1 at WSB. I am not sure how the measles outbreak in Samoa has affected the team and expect a letdown from the Samoans this weekend. Kenya will flourish with the “African” support and are on the up and expect them to win this game. Kenya lead the all-time head to head 10-7 and beat Samoa 21-20 in London last season, with a weakened team! Come on you Kenyans!
Game 3 – France vs Spain
France were another flawless team on the handicap last weekend, covering all 4 matches with an impressive win against Argentina in the pool stages. They narrowly lost out to England in the Cup Quarter Finals and look to have a settled team for this season. The French have the ability to beat anyone on their day but they are French which means they can also lose to ANYONE on their off day! Spain must be the worst side to watch for entertainment value and their game against Ireland was just horrible on all levels. They kept possession in their own half for over 2 minutes in the first half and beat the new kids on the block 19-14 to take 11th spot. The Spanish are without Pol Pla this weekend and that is a massive loss to their squad as he is one of their best players.
I fancy France to beat the handicap here and suggest a medium stake on the France -11.5
Game 4 – England vs Scotland
England must be wondering how they let a 14-0 lead against South Africa slip in the last pool match in Dubai. That defeat put them in a tough draw as they lost out narrowly to New Zealand in the Cup Quarters. They did squeak past Samoa in the Bronze Final and that was without the services of Dan Norton who was rested for that match. Scotland are not the same side without Riddell and Farndale and struggled in Dubai finishing in 14th place and not registering a single victory over the weekend! The handicap here is England -14.5 and Scotland would have covered this in each of the last 4 matches between the sides! This is a British “derby” match so I would back the Scots on the handicap if forced to have a punt here but with minimal confidence.
Game 5 – Argentina vs Canada
Argentina were another team that went 4-0 on the handicap in Dubai which included a shock 24-21 win against Series Champions Fiji in pool play. The Argies lost by one try to the Blitzbokke in the Cup Quarters and did look well structured last weekend. Canada finished in 10th place in Dubai and got hammered 40-17 by an angry Fijian side on Finals day. The only win for the Canooks came against Wales in pool play where they won 31-14 as 6.5 point favourites.
Canada managed to beat Argentina in London last season but lost their other 3 Head to Heads in 2018/19 by an average of 22-16. This handicap opened at Argentina -4.5 which was pure gold! It has drifted out to -7.5 but I will still suggest a punt on the Argies here with some confidence!
Game 6 – New Zealand vs Wales
This was a one of the opening games in Dubai and was a great way to get the season started as we managed to clean up on the -20.5 on offer with New Zealand strolling to a 36-7 victory. The All Black 7s were sensational in Dubai and scored a whopping 152 points over the weekend. Wales have one of the youngest squads on the series and were poor in Dubai, finishing in 15th spot registering a single victory against Japan on Finals day.
This handicap was as low as NZ -24.5 early in the week but it has been on the move!
Hollywood have Wales +29.5 at 17/20 if you are in the Wales camp
Playabets have NZ -27.5 at 17/20
I would back the AB7s on the -27.5 but would not go higher than that, 28 points in 4 converted tries and interestingly even though New Zealand smashed Wales in Dubai, they only won by 29 points with the late Welsh try scored!
Game 7 – United States vs Fiji
The USA had a horrible weekend in Dubai and paid the price without the services of Ben Pickleman, Folau Niua and Martin Iosefo. The USA game plan was off with a high error rate and poor restarting stats and they finished in 8th spot over the weekend and did not cover one handicap. The USA are drawn in the “Pool of Death” in Cape Town which will be tough!
Fiji were well below par in Dubai and missed the Cup Quarter-Finals in the 21-year history of the Sevens Series! Fiji did not cover the handicap once in Pool play and the shock loss to Argentina sent them into the 9th place play-off with Canada were normal service resumed and they won 40-17.
There is absolutely no way that Fiji miss out on the Cup QF’s two weeks running and they will have trained harder than ever this week in order to get their Series Title defence back on track! The USA are rudderless with the trio mentioned and I expect Fiji to win this by 3 tries or more!
Fiji -7.5 is the BEST BET on Day 1.
Game 8 – South Africa vs Japan
The Blitzbokke started the Series in spectacular fashion clinching a record 7th title in Dubai! The manner of their win against New Zealand was particularly impressive due to the fact that NZ did not score one point in the Final! This was done with former IRB7s player of the year Werner Kok and Cecil Afrika in the Academy side!
Japan were abysmal in Dubai and even managed to make Wales look decent in the 15th place final. Japan are bottom on the Series standings and have only scored a measly 41 points last weekend.
Points differential could be critical in Pool A with SA, Fiji and USA playing for 2 spots in the Cup Quarters. The Blitzbokke kept New Zealand scoreless last weekend! I cannot see Japan scoring on Day 1 on the final game in a full stadium in Cape Town and expect the Blitzbokke to run riot. The handicap is SA -31.5 which is effectively 5 tries! The last times the teams met was in London last season where SA ran out 49-0 winners.
South Africa -31.5 at 5/6 at Sunbet – medium to high confidence!