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Pool A reaches its climax this weekend with the mighty All Blacks still to ensure their safe passage into the quarter-finals. France too are not yet assured with Italy still in touching distance of the two juggernauts.
Uruguay have been the habitual party-killers at Rugby World Cup, having Italy on the ropes in the first half of their fixture and denying France a bonus point in a unexpectantly tense and tight affair in Lille. Have Uruguay peaked at the tournament or has all of their form been leading to their final masterpiece, the most unlikely of wins over New Zealand.
New Zealand vs Uruguay match predictions
New Zealand will no doubt have one eye on their potential approaching quarter-final, however, they will know not to underestimate a brave and heroic Uruguay outfit who, although their tournament may be over after this game, will be dreaming of achieving one of the Rugby World Cup’s greatest upsets.
Uruguay to win with a + 66 handicap @ 10/11 (1.90)
When I read these odds my jaw physically dropped. Clearly the bookies haven’t watched Uruguay this tournament as a New Zealand blow-out is next-to-impossible. Despite their incredible 96-17 scoreline against Italy last week it is unlikely that a rotated All Blacks side will be able to re-create those numbers against a resolute Uruguay defence who, as they did versus France, won’t allow an embarrassing defeat, unlike Italy against New Zealand who, frankly, gave up.
A Uruguay victory is far-fetched, however, a New Zealand win by more than 40-points is even more unlikely.
Leicester Fainga’anuku to score the first try @ 11/2 (6.5)
The man who is named after venues at which his father played for Tonga at the 1999 Rugby World Cup, owing to his name, Leicester and his middle-names, Wales and Twickenham, was born to rip up Rugby World Cup’s and has made a great start in his debut tournament.
The electric winger scored in his first start against Namibia after playing just nine minutes against France and has since been waiting for his next opportunity to show the world why he is one of the best finishers in the sport. If New Zealand rack up a big scoreline, which they might, then Leicester could very easily go for three or four tries.
New Zealand vs Uruguay preview – All Blacks should be wary of tricky Teros
Even after their stunning upset victory over Fiji at Rugby World Cup 2019, Uruguay have travelled France collecting new supporters in each city they visit, immersing themselves in their new-found role as everyone’s second-favourite team. The neutrals will be cheering for a upset on Thursday.
After their unexpected dismantling of a help-less Italy, New Zealand have re-gained some much needed confidences and reminded fans around the world how devastating they are when they click. However, their qualification still hangs in the balance as they are tied on points with the Italians. They will hope that France can do them a favour by beating Italy but realistically, a New Zealand win versus Uruguay should see them through.
Ian Foster is building a strong team who believe they can win but their disappointing performance against France on the opening night proposes a question of whether they are a true threat to the other three sides in the top four.
Uruguay simply don’t know how to play boring rugby. After testing France and Italy to their limits they even refused to beat Namibia easily like everyone expected them to, trailing for about an hour of the match before kicking into life.
Los Teros play with passion and joy and are no doubt bursting at the seams with excitement at the prospect of facing the All Blacks and more so by the idea of beating them. Furthermore, a Uruguay win and an Italian loss to France would see Uruguay finish third, above the Italians and automatically qualify for Rugby World Cup 2027 for the first time ever.
New Zealand v Uruguay match details
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