After a day off on Tuesday, the Rugby World Cup is back with a bang with a pair of matches to enjoy on Wednesday. New Zealand looks to continue their strong start to the tournament against Canada, while the USA would love to upset a French team that you never quite know what to expect from.
France vs. USA – Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka City
The French did a very French thing on Sunday morning when they tried to call an already injured player up into their World Cup squad. Prop Demba Bamba has been ruled out of the tournament with a thigh injury, so the call was made to bring La Rochelle tighthead Uini Atonio into the traveling party. Unfortunately for the French, Atonio suffered a neck injury in his game on Saturday and is also unavailable.
This mistake apart, France looked good for large spells against Argentina before hanging on late. They have made 12 changes in all to their starting lineup to face the athletic, but underpowered, USA Eagles, with only flanker Arthur Iturria, centre Gael Fickou, and wing Yohan Huget retaining their starting spots. Camille Lopez gets his chance at fly-half after winning the game against the Pumas with his drop goal.
The USA have also made a number of changes to face France. John Quill was suspended for the rest of the tournament following his high/no-wrap shoulder shot on England’s Owen Farrell and he will be replaced on the flank by Hanco Germishuys. Mike T’eo comes into the team at fullback, while sevens stars Martin Iosefo and Ben Pinkelman retain their spots.
Best Bet – It is always dangerous to make as many changes as France have here. It is going to take some time for the players to work together and implement their systems in a game setting. The key will be the play of veteran No. 8 Louis Picamoles and the strike running of Fickou. Don’t be shocked if the USA cover here with +23.5 points being given at 0.90 with BetXChange.
New Zealand vs. Canada – Ota Stadium, Ota
The Barrett brothers will make All Blacks history in this game as the three are all set to start against Canada. Scott, Beauden, and Jordie, will become the first set of three New Zealand brothers to start a World Cup game together and they will be just the second trio ever to do so after the Vunipola brothers played for Tonga against Scotland back in 1995.
Ardie Savea will also mark a World Cup first if he comes off of the bench for the All Blacks as he will be the first player in World Cup history to be playing wearing goggles to protect his eyes. In all, Steve Hansen has made 11 changes to his starting lineup, retaining the partnership of Richie Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett as playmakers, but adding the likes of Jack Goodhue and Sonny Bill Williams to the team.
The Canadians make six changes to a team that would be causing easily the biggest upset in the history of the World Cup if they pull off the unthinkable in Ota. They have also gone for a new pairing in midfield, with Ciaran Hearn and Conor Trainor looking to take on their might of the All Blacks in the collision. The other four changes are in the back with Matt Heaton claiming a back-row start after playing well off of the bench against Italy.
Best Bet – The fact that the points spread here is an almost unbelievable 66.5 says everything you need to know. New Zealand could win by nine converted tries and not cover, such is the gulf in class between the two teams. Even with that massive spread, the lean here is on New Zealand as the players they have brought into the starting lineup will be looking to prove they are worthy of more action than mop-up duty against a Tier 2 nation. As always the best odds are available on BetXChange.