Summer Internationals First Test Best Bets & Predictions

Andy

Saturday 2nd July – 8:05AM KO

Ireland +12 and Garry Ringrose to Score a Try

An 8:05am kick off at Eden Park could well be the game of the day. Not many go into New Zealand with a +11 handicap, and at only 7/2 for the victory. The market isn’t expecting a thumping of the opposition so often handed down by the All Blacks side in Eden Park, and that’s with good reason. Ireland have won 3 of their last 5 games v New Zealand, no side in world rugby has a better record against NZ, over the same time period, than Andy Farrell’s men. 

The hosts have also faced major disruption in the build up to Ireland’s tour, with the entire coaching team standing down from their duties due to an outbreak of Covid, that has wound up in former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt taking on the responsibility of overseeing the All Blacks on Saturday. The lack of ideal preparation will be a concern, New Zealand haven’t played a test match since Nov 2021, and haven’t played a top 6 ranked side since October, which saw them fall to defeat against World Champions South Africa. With almost 8 months since their last fixture & a hugely disruptive lead up to the game, it will take time for the All Blacks to find their rhythm, with Saturday sure to be more of an abrasive battle. 

The All Blacks don’t have a habit of conceding many tries, but out of the last 5 conceded, 3 have come from the midfield, Henshaw will be an effective carrier for Ireland all afternoon, which will allow Sexton to exploit a narrow defensive channel which Ringrose looking to add to his 2 tries already this year in an Ireland shirt. A tight contest should be the order of the day.


Saturday 2nd July – 10:55AM KO

51+ Total Points and Freddie Steward & Danny Care Both to Score a Try

It’s hard to know what you’re going to get with England these days, beginning with selection & ending in a finely tuned performance such as that v New Zealand in the World Cup semi-final, or a drab serving of ill-discipline and lack of attacking rhythm. 

The last time these teams met in October 2021, England thumped the Wallabies by 32 points to 15, without conceding a try. This however, is a very different England side. Less than a year on only 8 of those players to feature remain, a possible indicator of just how inconsistent England have been. For the wallabies, there’s real concern over the size and strength of their pack competing with what is arguably, give or take a Kyle Sinkler, England’s strongest front 8. If Australia can’t compete in the arm wrestle, it could be a very long afternoon.

The real story, however, is in the backs. Superstar playmaker Quade Cooper is back, and faces off against another sensational talent in Marcus Smith, both back lines could really put on a show if those two are on their game. The ball will travel wide frequently, and Freddie Steward will look to be a beneficiary of that after scoring in Novembers test v Australia. Another big game player, Danny Care is back in the mix. Fresh from his impressive return against the Barbarians, the Harlequins 9 has a great understanding with Smith, which should give England a great platform to cause Australia all sorts of problems. It’s been a while since we’ve seen one of those trademark Danny Care smiles in an England shirt, as he rises from a pile of bodies having touched down on the edge of a breakdown, I suspect we might not have to wait that much longer.

With the clear distance between size & ability in England’s pack to Australia’s, it’s hard to see England not finding a way to win, but with Cooper & Smith on the same field, one thing is for sure, points!


Saturday 2nd July – 4:05PM KO

South Africa to Win by 18+, Score Over 2.5 Tries and Score Last 

This one doesn’t need a great deal of analysis. Quite frankly, recent history tells us South Africa have been quite good, Wales have not. The World Champion Springboks travelled to Wales and defeated the hosts as recently as November last year, whilst Wales last taste of test action was a humiliating defeat at home to Italy. 

Wales aren’t as bad as that result suggests, but they certainly aren’t as good as the side that won the same competition one year earlier, which was the team they were heading into last year’s 18 – 23 defeat to South Africa. A lot has changed since then in Welsh rugby, both on an international level and regionally, resulting in the gap between these sides widening. A summer of discontent likely awaits. Wales are starting with a back line that includes Josh Adams, George North, Rees-Zammit & Liam Williams, exciting selections that suggest that Wayne Pivac sees opportunity in spreading the ball around and keeping it away from South Africa’s heavy pack. It’s a tactic Scotland deployed to good effect in 2021, until Rassie Erasmus changed his entire front row in the first half, which nullified that tactic completely. 

It’s very difficult to see Wales keeping the game close into the second half, some questions have to be asked of that back line coping with the physicality the Springboks bring. Two men in the tackle to halt powerful South African runners will allow space for Mapimpi and Kolbe to make ground and likely add to the score. Furthermore, South Africa have an embarrassment of riches in reserve who will make an impact, Jantjies & La Roux will be a tremendous threat on the counter late one, being able to bring on that sort of quality late in a game gives a good opportunity for late chances. Simply put, this is a World Champion starting XV, Wales are coming off a defeat at home to Italy. This could be a very tough day to be a Welshman. 


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How to watch the Summer Internationals First Test Games?

📅   When are the Summer Internationals First Test Games? / Saturday, 2nd July 2022 from 8:05am
🏟   Where are the Summer Internationals First Test Games/ Eden Park (Auckland), Optus Stadium (Perth) and Loftus Versfeld (Pretoria)
📺   What TV channel are the Summer Internationals First Test Games? / Sky Sports Action