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New Zealand Massive -2000 Favorites Over Banged-Up Wales in RWC Third-Place Game

Robert Duff

by Robert Duff in Rugby

Oct 31, 2019 · 4:27 PM PDT

New Zealand All Blacks performing haka
New Zealand are massive -2000 favorites in sportsbooks to defeat Wales in the Rugby World Cup third-place game. Photo by: Sonya & Jason Hills [CC BY-SA 2.0].
  • New Zealand is a prohibitive -2000 favorite to topple Wales in the Rugby World Cup third-place game
  • Semifinal losers to England, New Zealand haven’t lost back-to-back RWC games since 1999
  • Wales finished third in the first RWC in 1987

The last time New Zealand suffered defeat in consecutive Rugby World Cup games, Bill Clinton was residing in the White House. The last time Wales finished as high as third in a RWC was during the Ronald Reagan administration.

Something that hasn’t happened in a very long time must unfold this Friday (Nov. 1, 5 AM ET) in order for Wales to finish third in the tournament. One sports book finds this development to be an extremely unlikely.

The sportsbook lists the All Blacks as massive -2000 favorites to defeat the Welsh.

Wales vs New Zealand RWC Third-Place Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total Odds
New Zealand -19 (-135) -2000 52.5 (-120)
Wales +19 (EVEN) +750 52.5 (-115)
Draw N/A +4000 N/A

Odds taken Oct. 30.

Wales haven’t beaten New Zealand in a rugby test match since 1953.

All Blacks Take Detour

New Zealand were favored in the 2019 Rugby World Cup odds to win a third straight world title right from the start of this tournament. However, England had other ideas. The English shocked the All Blacks 19-7 in the first of two semifinal matches.

Wales met South Africa in the other semifinal. It was a rematch of their meeting four years ago in the RWC quarterfinals, and the outcome remained the same. The Springboks took a tight 19-16 victory.

History With New Zealand

Total dominance is the best way to describe the all-time series between New Zealand and Wales.

On Dec 1, 1953 in Cardiff, Wales beat the All Blacks 13-8, improving to 3-1 in head-to-head matches. Two days later, also in Cardiff, New Zealand blanked the Welsh 6-0, launching a 30-match win streak that continues to this day.

That includes a 4-0 New Zealand advantage in games played at neutral sites, three of which were in RWC matches. The All Blacks dumped the Welsh 49-6 in the semifinals at the first RWC 1987.

They also won 34-9 in 1995 and 53-37 in 2003 in group stage play.

New Zealand have scored at least 33 points in each of the last seven meetings with Wales. The most recent clash between these two nations came in Cardiff on Nov. 25, 2017. The All Blacks were 33-18 winners.

Injury-Riddled Wales

Wales coach Warren Gatland has announced nine changes to his injury-ravaged side from the 15 that started the semifinal against South Africa.

The absentees include fulback Liam Williams, out three months and facing ankle surgery. Owen Lane, just  parachuted in from Wales a week ago as an emergency replacement, will get a start.

Winger George North (hamstring) and second-string fullback Leigh Halfpenny (concussion) are also out, as are flanker Aaron Wainwright (hamstring) and tight head prop Tomas Francis (shoulder).

Gatland, a native New Zealander who’s been in charge for 12 years, will coach Wales for the final time. He’s 0-11 against the All Blacks.

All All Blacks, All The Time

Even with their full side at 100 percent, Wales was going to be in tough against New Zealand. It’s been 66 years since the Welsh got the better of the All Blacks after all.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen is also stepping down after this game. He’s named captain Kieran Read, Ben Smith and Sonny Bill Williams, all veterans of the 2011 and 2015 RWC championship wins, to play their final matches as All Blacks before retiring from international rugby.

New Zealand hasn’t lost back-to-back RWC matches since 1999. Wales has finished as high as third just once, at the inaugural RWC in 1987.

Play the All Blacks but stay away from the moneyline. Give the 19 points.

Pick: New Zealand -19 (-135).

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