Back the south to shine

Where you should put your money on this weekend's international matches, according to MARK KEOHANE.

New Zealand vs England
England came close to becoming the first team to beat New Zealand at Eden Park in more than 30 matches last weekend, but ultimately the world champions got over the line to win a match they were in danger of losing. The upshot is that the English media have jumped on the soapbox. They reckon the All Blacks have lost their aura of invincibility and are ripe for the taking. They were quiet in the build-up to the first Test but now have plenty to say. The All Blacks may indeed be ripe for the taking, but that side isn't England, it's the Springboks. The bookies have priced up New Zealand as favourites and agree with me in feeling that the margin of victory will be wider than last week, when they showed a fair amount of rust. I've got the All Blacks to win by 12-plus. On you can get 12/10 on New Zealand winning by 17 or more and 8/10 on New Zealand winning by 14 or more. This could be the way to approach this match. Should you fancy England to win, they're available at 5/1, while you can get decent odds of 12/10 for them to beat the 'cap (lose by 10 or less points).

South Africa vs Wales
Somewhat bizarrely given their atrocious record against the Springboks over the years, Wales are at the same odds (5/1) to beat the Boks as England are to beat New Zealand. Of course it won't happen in Durban, where Heyneke Meyer's men will win untroubled, putting at least 15 points of daylight between themselves and the Welshmen. I would be tempted to back the Springboks to win by 17 points or more, available at 12/10.

Australia vs France
Australia had the match against an under-performing French under lock and key a long way from home last week and I've got them winning this week comfortably as well, despite the visitors having a slightly stronger team on paper this time round. You can get 11/10 on them winning by at least 19 points, but possibly the safer bet would be to take the 9/10 for the Wallabies to win by at least 16 points.

Argentina vs Ireland
The hosts were humbled at home last week and the Irish are overwhelming favourites to repeat the dose again this weekend. If you fancy the Argentineans to rebound and come away with the victory, you can get as much as 66/10 on them doing just that. That in itself is far better value than taking the Flash Pot which offers 5/1 for wins for the following teams: New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Samoa.

Photo: Scott Heavey/Getty Images