THE MONEY MAN says betting enthusiasts should avoid the Italy versus Boks game, but he is placing a R2,000 wager on France to beat the Wallabies in Paris.

At no point in Springbok history, including Rudolf Streauli’s reign, have I encountered such negativity and pessimism about what should be something celebrated.

Being Welsh, I feel your pain. For years, we’ve wandered the rugby field looking for respectability and often we’ve fallen short. I feel for the South African fans and realise that when they say they hope the Springboks lose to Italy, it’s an obvious cry for help. Unfortunately, help is a long way from coming.

What should happen is this: Jurie Roux should stop being complacent and selling out an iconic Springbok brand. Mark Alexander needs to be bold and paint a clear picture of the plan for Bok rugby going forward; Fikile Mbalula should stop making outrageous comments along the lines that ‘Allister Coetzee is the right man for the job’. It merely highlights his ignorance around the sport in general. Coetzee himself – for heaven’s sake – should negotiate a package to resign and take with him the incompetent staff he has surrounded himself with. And finally, the neo-liberal fans that keep burying their heads in the sand, should wake up and stop asking me to not be so negative about the Springboks.

On Saturday, unlike New Zealand’s second XV, a full-strength Springbok side will run on to the field to play a sub-par Italy team. Coetzee said they are one win away from turning things around, which I find incredibly convenient, given the lowly quality of opponent they are facing.

The Boks will win, of that there’s no doubt. But they will win because Coetzee is treating it like a World Cup final.

The bookies favoured South Africa by 16.5 at the start of the week, but money has been pouring in on a Bok win, so much so that they now favoured by 19.5.

I won’t be betting on this game, because I’m not sure Coetzee’s charges can beat any team by 20-plus points at the moment.

For those hoping the Boks will lose and a regime change comes into effect, I feel for you. It’s not going to happen. South Africa will win and all will be all right again in Springbok dreamland.

The game that interests me from a betting perspective is the one between France and Australia. At 9/10, a French victory is good value. I’ll be putting down R2,000 on Les Bleus to beat what is still a very poor Wallabies side.

Ireland against the All Blacks in Dublin should be a cracker of a game. If you’re not into watching a train wreck, but more into quality rugby, this is the game to tune in to. Everybody knows Ireland beat New Zealand by 11 points a fortnight ago, so for the bookies to insert the All Blacks at 16.5 favourites, is asking a little too much of the Kiwis. The bookies are expecting a 27-point turnaround. At 9/10 odds, I’m placing a R2,000 bet on Ireland to not lose by 16 or more.

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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