Â Odds stacked in favour of southern hemisphere teams
Reuters: England, Wales and Ireland will face the unfamiliar feeling of being underdogs in their own backyards when host southern hemisphere opposition in test matches on Saturday.
The home countries will have their credentials for next yearâ€™s World Cup seriously tested when England face world champions New Zealand, Wales play Australia and South Africa visit Ireland â€“ and the odds are stacked against them.
Since taking the England job in 2012, coach Stuart Lancaster has mustered just two wins over the southern hemisphereâ€™s big three in 11 matches and adding a third against the All Blacks at Twickenham looks unlikely, with British bookmakers making the visitors 1/3 favourites.
Wales have not beaten Australia in nearly six years, losing their last nine meetings against the Wallabies, but they are seen as the most likely host victors at 13/10, with Six Nations champions Ireland 2/1 to beat South Africa.
The trip to Europe will be a marker for the touring sides ahead of the 2015 World Cup in England and Wales, with a team from the southern hemisphere 2/1 favourites to lift the trophy and a European winner an outside 4/11 bet.