The Hunter’s Weekend of Sports – 25 Oct

Tips, Tricks, Picks and Odds.

It’s time for the weekend of sports.

Over the past week, we’ve seen the NBA grace our screens once more, the NBL get truly underway, the NFL show us why it’s America’s game, and the MLB give us one of the best Cinderella stories in recent sporting memory. This weekend promises to be just as good.

As always in this column, I’ll explore what Australians can look forward to in this weekend of sports – focusing on a different sport for each day – and provide the tips that I feel most confident in based on my research, analysis and expert intuition.

FRIDAY – Rugby League Test

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The NRL may have just ended, but that doesn’t mean rugby league is going anywhere. The most important test outside of the world cup is taking place again, as the Kangaroos host the Kiwis this Friday in a game that’s guaranteed to have it all.

Australia v New Zealand

The Aussies come into this game as clear favourites, and it’s easy to understand why. As the champions of eight of the nine past world cups, the Kangaroos have dominated this code for the best part of 50 years and remain a formidable opponent on the world rugby stage.

The Kiwis are one of the only teams who’ve been able to consistently compete against the Kangaroos, so will be looking to set the tone with a big win away from home; and with players like RTS and Watene-Zelezniak the Kiwis are primed now, more than ever, to do just that.

Of course, it won’t be an easy task. Fresh off an inaugural World Cup 9’s win, the Aussies are a side full of pacey young-guns desperate to prove themselves at a test level. Names like Ado-Carr and Mitchell are right up there with veterans like DCE and Ben Hunt. This is shaping up to be a deadly side.

So who’ll take home the bacon? As much as I would love for the Kiwis to cause an upset here, I think the Australian side is just too relentless and much more clean. I expect them to have a better completion rate, play a tidier game, and walk away with the win.

The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Australia to Win

SATURDAY – Rugby World Cup

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We’re in the dying stages of the World Cup, and with just four teams remaining it’s do or die for all involved. The All Blacks look like the team to beat, and I honestly doubt whether anyone can.

New Zealand v England

The first semi-final of the cup takes place between the All Blacks and their eternal-rivals the English Rugby Team. With everything on the line, and the All Blacks looking to become the first team to win back-to-back-to-back World Cups, this is bound to be an absolute thriller.

The English have looked decent this tournament. They’re yet to lose a game and have won all their matches by at least 24 points or more, so to say they haven’t struggled to get here would be fair. Along the way, they’ve faced Australia and Argentina – two decent southern-hemisphere sides – and walked away triumphant, so they’ll be confident they can make it 3/3 on Saturday.

Of course, to do that, they’ll have to beat one of the most dominant national teams in the history of sports. The All-Blacks have strolled into these semis, winning their group stages with a total score of 157-22, and demolished their hoodoo team, Ireland, in the quarter-finals. The All Blacks have always been a wrecking-ball of world rugby, and I think they won’t slow down on Saturday.

It’ll be a close game, but the All Blacks should win.

The Hunter’s Hot Tip: All Blacks to Win

SUNDAY – Rugby World Cup

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The second of our RWC semis sees the Springboks take on the Welsh in another Northern-hemisphere v Southern-hemisphere game that’s sure to have repercussions that echo through world rugby.

Wales v South Africa

South Africa come into this match hoping to be the first-ever team to win the Web Ellis trophy after losing in the group stages. A loss to the All Blacks at the start of the tournament would spell doom for most other teams, but it’s the Boks who have shown courage and backed it up with a good run that’s lead them to this point. I think if anyone’s going to beat the All-Blacks it’ll be South Africa. But first, they’ve got to get through Wales.

Now, if I had to pick a team that didn’t belong in the semis it’d have to be Wales. They barely scraped past a crisis-mode Wallabies team in the group stages, and we’re lucky to beat France in the quarter-final. If it wasn’t for a stupid elbow and a dodgy ‘Not-forward’ call, it’d be Les Blues I’d be writing about right now. But, whether or not the Welsh played like a semi-final team is ultimately irrelevant, because they’re here anyway and could turn it around with a huge win over the Saffas.

So, do I think they’ll do it? Unlikely. The Springboks have pacey backs and staunch forwards. They’re a better team with a better coach and should claim the win come Sunday.

The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Springboks to Win

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