2011 Rugby World Cup Bronze Final – Wales vs Australia – Preview and Betting Tips

After losing in last week’s semi-finals, Wales and Australia now play in the match you never want to be in: the Rugby World Cup Bronze final. The game will be played on Friday at 6:30 PM AEDT at Eden Park in Auckland. This is a tricky fixture for punters because both sides will be devastated by their losses last weekend. Both will have one eye on a flight home after a long campaign in New Zealand.

World Cup Form

Wales qualified as the runner up in Pool D. They then defeated Ireland in the quarter-finals and lost to France in the semi-finals.
Pool: Wales 16-17 South Africa
Pool: Wales 17-10 Samoa
Pool: Wales 81-7 Namibia
Pool: Wales 66-0 Fiji
QF: Wales 22-10 Ireland
SF: Wales 8-9 France

Australia qualified as the runner up in Pool C. They then defeated South Africa in the quarter-finals and lost to New Zealand in the semi-finals.
Pool: Australia 32-6 Italy
Pool: Australia 6-15 Ireland
Pool: Australia 67-5 USA
Pool: Australia 68-22 Russia
QF: Australia 11-9 South Africa
SF: Australia 6-20 New Zealand

Below are the knock-out stage results.

Recent Head to Head History

Nov 2010 Test Match Wales 16 – 25 Australia
Nov 2009 Test Match Wales 12 – 33 Australia
Nov 2008 Test Match Wales 21 – 18 Australia
Sep 2007 Rugby World Cup Wales 20 – 32 Australia (played in Wales)
Jun 2007 Test Match Australia 31 – 0 Wales
Jun 2007 Test Match Australia 29 – 23 Wales

Australia have certainly had the better of Wales of late, recording numerous victories in Cardiff.


Wales: Leigh Halfpenny; George North, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams; James Hook, Mike Phillips; Ryan Jones, Toby Faletau, Dan Lydiate; Luke Charteris, Bradley Davies; Paul James, Huw Bennett, Gethin Jenkins (captain).
Bench: Lloyd Burns, Ryan Bevington, Alun Wyn Jones, Andy Powell, Lloyd Williams, Stephen Jones, Scott Williams

Australia: Kurtley Beale, James O’Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Digby Ioane, Quade Cooper, Will Genia, Ben McCalman, David Pocock, Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill (captain), Salesi Ma’afu, Tatafu Polota Nau, James Slipper.
Bench: Saia Fainga’a, Ben Alexander, Rob Simmons, Radike Samo, Luke Burgess, Anthony Fainga’a, Rob Horne

Game Preview

This is a difficult game to get excited about. After their disappointments last week, playing another game is the last thing these players want to do, but it’s a good money spinner for the Rugby World Cup. Wales will be haunted by all the “what ifs” after losing by a solitary point to France and playing sixty minutes of rugby with fourteen men. Australia, on the other hand, enter this game knowing full well they were beaten by a better team last weekend.

Australia’s recent dominance over Wales justifies their favourites tag, although Wales have arguably played the better rugby this tournament. It is worth noting that both sides played South Africa during the tournament. Wales were arguably unlucky to lose 16-17, while Australia was arguably lucky to win 11-9.

With no pressure on either side, I expect an open, flowing game of rugby here. Hopefully for the neutral we will see numerous tries and not a kicking dominated match that most of the knock-out games so far have offered. With little to play for this game may go to the side simply that wants it the most.


Sportsbet odds    Wales   Australia 
Head to head    2.32   1.59  
Line   (+3) 1.90     (-3) 1.90  

I think the bookmaker odds are pretty much spot on. The fact that there isn’t much to play for makes things tricky for punters, because a lot of the result will come down to the effort and intensity of each side, and you can’t be assured of 100% from both teams here.

I presume the New Zealand crowd will be predominantly behind Wales, so this is almost an away game rather than a neutral venue for Australia. Having said that, the Wallabies boast a strong record against Wales in Cardiff. Also in Australia’s favour is the fact that Kurtley Beale returns to Wallabies the squad while Wales will be without their inspirational captain Sam Warburton. Warburton received a three-game suspension after his red card last week. Wales and Australia have both been competitive in recent fixtures, so I expect the winner to prevail by 1-12 on Friday.

Personally, I won’t be touching this game, but if you were to twist my arm, below are some bets that spring to mind.

  • Conservative: back both Wales 1-12 (3.20) and Australia 1-12 (2.60)
  • Moderate: back Australia (-3.0) (1.90)
  • Aggressive: back Australia to win by 1-12 (2.60)
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