Rugby World Cup Betting Preview


Rugby World Cup Betting Preview


Friday 8th September 2023 marks one of the biggest dates of the sporting calendar year, as the latest edition of the Rugby World Cup kicks off. Whether you are a Rugby diehard or need a little help from a Rugby Union Betting Guide, the next seven weeks promise to provide a steady stream of all-action sporting and punting entertainment.

Here, we run through the main contenders to lift the Webb Ellis Cup and pick out our best bets for the event, which begins in spectacular style with the huge clash between hosts France and the legendary All Blacks at the Stade de France.

Big Four Clear at the head of the Market

The odds compilers are struggling to separate France, New Zealand, and South Africa at the head of the betting, with many firms making the three nations co-favourites of three at around the 3/1 mark. Overall, it’s hard to disagree with that assessment.

New Zealand and South Africa have proven tournament pedigree on their sides, having each won the tournament three times in the past. France has made three finals and lost them all, but has the significant advantage of playing on home turf.

France were the team to beat in World Rugby twelve months ago but have fallen a little short of those standards this year – losing out to Ireland in the Six Nations and being beaten by Scotland in one of their warm-up games. Les Bleus must also go into battle without Romain Ntamack and Paul Willemse due to injury, but they do still have the best player in the world in their ranks in the shape of Scrum Half Antoine Dupont.

New Zealand may not be quite the force of old, but they remain a team to fear in any major international Rugby Tournament. Recent performances have been a little underwhelming – most notably a 35-7 battering at the hands of South Africa - but they can generally be relied upon to turn up when it matters most and have won the tough Rugby Championship competition (New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, and Argentina) in each of the past four seasons.

Defending Champions South Africa will have high hopes of retaining their crown, and there is plenty of cause for optimism. Few – if any – teams can live with the bludgeoning forward pack of the Springboks, but there are weapons all over the pitch, including the power-packed duo of Chesslin Kolbe and Makazole Mapimpi. That recent rout of the All-Blacks won't have done their confidence any harm, but they have suffered a huge blow with the injury to fly half Handre Pollard.

Lurking just behind the Southern Hemisphere trio is the current top-ranked side in the global game – Andy Farell’s Ireland (5/1 with Betfred). No one could stop the team in green on their way to a Six Nations Grand Slam, and they haven’t stopped winning since. Arriving at the event on the back of 13 consecutive victories, they look well-placed to go close to becoming only the second Northern Hemisphere nation to lift the famous trophy.

Australia Favoured by the Draw

There’s a big gap back to the next side in the betting market, with two-time winners Australia available at 14/1 with William Hill. The man in the Aussie hot seat will be familiar to English Rugby fans, with Eddie Jones handed the reins ahead of this event. Jones seems unreasonably confident heading into the tournament, considering Australia have lost each of their last five matches – including heavy defeats to South Africa and France. However, the Wallabies have been handed an enormous favour by the draw in landing in the opposite half to the four market leaders. Wins over Wales, Fiji, and Argentina would likely be enough to see them through to the Semi-Finals.

The Other Home Nations

Of the other three home nations, Scotland are playing the best Rugby and have risen to number 5 in the world. On form, they are easy to fancy to go well. However, the draw has been brutal, placing Scotland in Pool B alongside South Africa and Ireland.

Wales will be hoping that Warren Gatland can once again inspire the side to a big performance, with the head coach having led the Dragons to the semi-finals twice in the past. A fifth-place finish in the Six Nations, and hit-and-miss form since suggests he may have a job on his hands.

England finished as runners-up in Japan four years ago, but few are tipping the side to go as close this time. Only fourth in a near-disastrous Six Nations campaign, they recently lost to Fiji for the first time in their history and have been brushed aside by Wales, Ireland, and France in their three most recent fixtures. However, the draw has at least been kind, with Argentina their only realistic rival in Pool D before a potential Quarter-final clash with Wales or Australia.

Best Bets

South Africa are easy to fancy on current form, but that loss of Pollard may prove pivotal, with kicking being such a key facet of the game. Australia’s young squad, under the expert guidance of Jones, could prove the surprise package of the tournament, but overall, we see the trophy heading to New Zealand. That defeat to the Springboks grabbed the headlines, but they were undone by sin bin penalties and had to play the second half a man down in that game. Having consistently proven themselves superior to their major rivals in The Rugby Championship, they can do so once again.

Given the injury concerns for France and South Africa, we also predict a deep run from the world number 1 outfit, Ireland. Arriving with their tails up, they haven’t been done any favours by the draw, but are just about the most consistent side in the tournament. If they get past South Africa and France, Ireland could find themselves as strong favourites in a semi-final vs. Wales or Argentina.

  • To Win the Tournament - New Zealand @ 3/1 with BetVictor
  • Name the Finalists - New Zealand vs Ireland @ 12/1 with Coral

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