Irish rugby is arguably now at its pinnacle, with the national team having secured a second consecutive victory against the All Blacks last night in a tense encounter at the Aviva stadium in Dublin.
New Zealand were not at their best, having conceded an astonishing nine penalties in the first half alone. Nor, however, were Ireland who demonstrated too much sloppy ball handling to take any real advantage into the break.
In the second half, on the other hand, both sides improved, and Ireland were able to capitalise finally on their domination of possession – thanks to a brilliant chip over the top from fullback Jacob Stockdale who then met his own pass to score the only try of the game.
Talk Turns to World Cup
As a result – and perhaps predictably – Sunday’s sports pages turned their attention to next year’s world cup in Japan. “Can Ireland really win the World Cup? It is fast becoming a case of who can stop them,” wrote the Guardian’s Robert Kitson.
But as Sunday’s back pages ruminated on Ireland’s prospects for next summer, bookies were already revising their odds for an Irish World Cup victory, which have now dropped from an average 4/1 [implied probability: 20%] to 3/1 [25%].
The All Blacks, however, remain outright favourites – with some bookmakers [William Hill, Ladbrokes] pricing them as low as evens.
This is now the third game in a row where the two sides have met, with the Irish having played the better rugby in all three games.
For bookmakers still offering 4/1 [Skybet, Betfair], there may be an argument that, after yesterday’s performance, we have now entered into value bet territory.