Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Wales look like better bet

Hopes remain high for Ireland's prospects of killing off the Welsh Dragon in Wellington, although it should prove to be as tight as the betting suggests.

The Irish are slight favourites at 5-6 in the match-betting with Wales (11-10) while the handicap — a good pointer to the merits of both sides — gives the Welsh a three-point start where Paddy Power are concerned but rival firms are only prepared to concede two points and in some cases, one in favour of Wales.

A price of 10-11 with a three-point advantage looks generous from PP and punters who bet with the head not the heart, have to take a good look at that offer.

Ireland produced the result of the World Cup in defeating Australia and topping Group C which meant avoiding a repeat clash or taking on South Africa and New Zealand until the final.

Wales, unlucky not to defeat the Springboks, had little trouble in qualifying and are enjoying a World Cup run that many would not have predicted.

They'll not be lacking in confidence and coach Warren Gatland has got his young brigade, headed by talented teenager George North, in the right frame of mind for this clash with the more experienced Irish outfit.

Let's hope that experience rules but from a betting point of view, take Wales +3.

Whoever comes through, can go all the way to the final.

England and France are beset with problems. The French are more involved with internal rows while England have created more talking points by the ‘ballgate' scandal against the Romanians and the behaviour of players off the field.

France have yet to fire but they're always likely to shine at least once and it could come against England, as it did with the Kiwis in 2007. On the handicap, France are worth backing at 10-11 with a four-points start.

New Zealand have eased out to 8-11 to lift the trophy now, with Dan Carter sidelined, but they'll still overpower Argentina.

The other tie featuring Australia and South Africa, sees the latter getting the handicap advantage of two points and that's surely too good to miss.

Quarter-final handicaps: Ireland v Wales (+3) Ireland 10-11; Wales 10-11; Draw 16-1

Match-betting: Ireland 5-6; Wales 11-10. Draw 20-1.

England v France (+4): England 10-11; France 10-11. Draw 16-1

Match-betting: England 4-7; France 11-8. Draw 20-1

Australia v South Africa (+2) Australia evens; S Africa evens. Draw 16-1

Match-betting: Australia 10-11; S Africa 10-11; Draw 20-1

New Zealand v Argentina (+25): New Zealand 10-11; Argentina 10-11; Draw 16-1

Match-betting: New Zealand 1-80; Argentina 22-1; Draw 50-1

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