Anyone remotely familiar with the NFL & American Football will know about the iconic Soldier Field Park, located in downtown Chicago, Illinois — Soldier Field is home to the Chicago Bears NFL (Am Football) team, however on Sunday 06 November Soldier Field will have a new home team, albeit just for the day, with the 1st of the 2 New-Zealand vs Ireland fixtures scheduled to take place in the USA — at Soldier Field.
New Zealand vs Ireland Soldier Park 2nd Home For Kiwis
The New Zealand rugby union does such a great job in promoting the NZ, All Black brand, that you can expect the majority of the 61’000 seater to be covered in black. It is well known that rugby is the fastest growing sport in America so expect to see a lot of locals dressed up in their All Black jerseys (since that is the team who most support when they are neutral…right?) Thus, we believe it is fair to say that New-Zealand can be considered the home team in the American encounter.
New Zealand Rugby Union Doing Wonders To Promote Rugby in America
Before we dive into the Ireland vs New Zealand prediction and betting preview, we would like to touch on the significance of this match in terms of growing rugby as a sport in America. New Zealand is now starting to include yearly rugby fixtures, to America, as part of their year-end tour. The last time the All Blacks visited America, they played the American national side — as was to be expected, the match was a walkover (AB’s winning with 50+ points). Yet, the stadium was packed to capacity by locals relishing the opportunity to see the world-renowned All Blacks in action. This time though locals will be treated to a much closer, and physical contest, in what has the potential to be a great game. Ireland vs New Zealand fixtures (usually), tend to be close affairs. So hopefully a rugby deprived, American community can be treated to some high quality action.
It is brilliant to see what the New Zealand Rugby Union is doing to grow the game in the US, and hopefully, other big 10 nations, can follow in their steps, and start touring the US more regularly as well. The last time the All Blacks visited America, The New York Times did a full front page cover spread of them (the All Blacks), a pretty impressive feat for a foreign, sports team, let alone, a rugby team. If rugby can catch on in America it has the potential to spread like a wildfire, and everyone will benefit, from the players all the way up to the administrators, and the game itself, but for that to happen (much) more exposure from quality teams are needed. So now that we got that bit of our chest let us dive straight into our analysis for the New Zealand vs Ireland betting preview.
Ireland vs New Zealand Prediction and Betting Preview
As all should know by now, New Zealand’s last fixture saw them officially break the world record, which they previously shared with South Africa, for the most consecutive rugby test match victories, an unbelievable streak of 18 victories on the trot. Can New Zealand improve their own record to 19 victories or can Ireland pull of a huge upset, with a victory against New Zealand? This is The Sport Freak’s full New Zealand vs Ireland preview and predictions.
Ireland vs New Zealand Odds & Handicap – What The Bookmakers Are Saying?
Few people are giving Ireland any chance for a victory, despite the match being played on neutral turf. The bookmakers have completely written off Ireland, with most online sportsbooks offering odds of @12.00 for a straight up Irish win, the handicap is set at a whopping +23 points for Ireland. So, the question rugby punters are asking — “is the odds and handicap for Ireland vs New Zealand an accurate reflection of what can be expected from the match, or did the bookmakers get it wrong, simply because of New Zealand’s record and reputation?”
Analysis & Statistics
There has been 28 matches played between Ireland and New Zealand, Ireland has never managed to beat the All Blacks in any of those 28 fixtures, with the closest they have come — a draw decades back in 1973.
The above image doesn’t make for pretty reading if you are an Irish supporter, as pointed out by the red score sheet.
The Last Encounter / The 2013 Dublin Nail Bitter
The last time these two teams met was in 2013 where Ireland was also labelled as @12.00 underdogs by the bookies, given now chance for a victory, yet they (Ireland) were leading 17-22 after the hooter had gone! New Zealand had one last chance deep inside their own territory with a penalty advantage, with time up on the clock, they took a tap kick, going 70-meteres up the field to score an unbelievable try, like only New Zealand can. Time was up on the clock and the flyhalf, Aaron Cruden, was pinned in the corner for the conversion kick, which he knocked over as if it was in front of the posts. Ireland got robbed of their first ever victory against New Zealand! In fact, Ireland was so unlucky to lose their last match against New Zealand, that Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, famously decided to refund all losing bets, to users who made a straight bet made on Ireland for a victory, at the time.
You might think the above is old news, and wonder what it has to do with the current All Blacks vs Ireland prediction in 2016? What we are trying to illustrate and get across in the above paragraph is that Ireland is a much improved team, and they have made steady progress in building up their national team since 2013.
Prediction – Betting On Ireland
We believe the Bookmakers are starting New Zealand to high, possible reasons for this might be because of their reputation, and seemingly unbreakable winning streak. With closer inspection one will find there’s much value to be found on placing a bet on Ireland.
Ireland Advantages – Why Ireland will cover the spread:
- Average Score vs Handicap: The handicap has been set at +23 points for Ireland, yet the average score difference over the last 10 matches between Ireland & New Zealand is 20.5-points
- Allowing For Score Adjustments / Deviation: When you take an even closer look at the scores, you will notice that both the 66-28, and 60-0, hammering in 2012 (the former which was the start of the Irish rugby “revolution”) both happened in New Zealand. When you discard the latter 2 results, you come up with an average score difference of only 9.8-points over the course of 8 matches, certainly a long way of the 23-point handicap set by the bookmakers.
- Motivation Can Be A Factor: For Southern Hemisphere teams it is the end of a long and brutal rugby season, while the Northern Hemisphere season is only just starting. If nothing else the Irish will certainly be the more motivated of the two teams, and will see this fixture as vital preparation for their six nations campaign, which is around the corner. We believe motivation can play a small, but not insignificant, part in the final score of the American hosted fixture. If you are the New Zealand, All Blacks — you have achieved everything possible over the past couple of months. You have finally broken that coveted 18 consecutive test match victory’s record, and have proven yourself time and time again. While we are not suggesting the All Blacks will take this match lightly, we are rather suggesting that, teams playing New-Zealand usually lift their game to the next level, using their New Zealand fixtures as a measuring stick to see how far they have progressed as a team — it is a tough ask for New Zealand to continually fend of that onslaughts, regardless of how good and skillful they might be.
- Experienced Ireland Team: Ireland has selected an experienced team for their Chicago fixture against the All Blacks, with the majority of the squad who toured South Africa, earlier in the year, healthy and ready to go. The fact that Ireland had managed to come within minutes of a series victory in South Africa, and managed to beat South Africa for the first time (on SA turf) in Irish rugby history — is further prove how far this Irish team has come since 2013. While we are by no means suggesting Ireland has a better team compared to New Zealand, we are suggesting that they are certainly better than what a 23-point handicap suggests.
Conclusion Ireland vs New Zealand Final Score Prediction
While we are not suggesting Ireland will win this match, we do expect the Irish to come out swinging and stay in touch with New Zealand for the most part of 60-minutes, at which point the All Blacks will start to pull away as they always do and ultimately win the match! However, do NOT expect New Zealand to cover a 23-point handicap against a fighting Irish team. Profit on this tip with rugby union betting at William Hill and thank us Monday morning for your nice little profit…Again we will re-emphasize a minus(-)23 point handicap is just too much for the All Blacks to cover, especially on a neutral venue at the end of a long season. Don’t be surprised if the Irish steals one over the Kiwis here, although we won’t put that in our final score.
Final Score Prediction:
New Zealand 30 Ireland 18