Rugby World Cup Betting Preview & Tips

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Last Updated on: 23.02.2023

The Rugby World Cup is a men's Rugby Union tournament that was initially staged in 1987 when New Zealand and Australia co-hosted the event, the former of whom won it. The tournament is held every four years, involving 20 teams from all over the world. The winning team are handed the Webb Ellis Cup, which is named in honour of William Webb Ellis. You can read more about him, and our Rugby World Cup betting tips, below in our World Cup betting preview.

Tournament Structure for Rugby World Cup

  • The Rugby World Cup is contested by 20 teams and lasts a fortnight. Each team starts off in the first round as one of five teams in a group. There are four of these groups, and each nation plays the other four teams once to accumulate points for a mini table. Of said table, the highest finishing three teams will progress to the next round.
  • Four points are on offer for teams that win, and two for a tie. Bonus points are on offer during pool play for teams that score at least four tries in a game and a losing bonus point is awarded for losing by seven or less points. The bottom side will be eliminated from the competition, while the remaining 16 teams will play out the remainder of the tournament in the knockout phases. These consist of the quarter and semi-finals, before the final.
  • The teams that will contest the Rugby Union World Cup are made up of the 12 teams that have automatically qualified on account of their past World Cup performances, plus eight qualifiers. These nations are drawn according to their regions. There are eight teams from Europe, five from Oceania, three from the Americas, two from Africa and one from Asia. The final spot is decided by an intercontinental play-off match.
  • The team that wins the Rugby World Cup are presented with the Webb Ellis Cup, which is named in honour of William Webb Ellis. Ellis is credited with inventing rugby after he picked up a ball and ran with it during a football match in 1823 at rugby school.

Best Betting Sites for the Rugby World Cup

  • Major rugby sponsor
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William Hill
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Rugby World Cup Betting Odds, Promotions, Tips & Predictions

The next men’s Rugby World Cup will take place in France in 2023. 20 teams will fly in to try and stake their claim to the Webb Ellis trophy, currently in the possession of the 2019 champions South Africa. The latter won the previous tournament by beating England in the final in Tokyo, marking their second victory, having first lifted the trophy before in Johannesburg in 1995. That particular tournament was also their first post-apartheid mega event.

But what will happen in France in two years’ time?

Rugby World Cup Betting Odds

As the event is not scheduled to get underway until 2023, we will publish the latest Rugby World Cup odds closer to the start date of the tournament, including those for the final. While we wait, there is still a huge amount of international rugby to play before then, such as the Six Nations Championships, which will begin next February.

Rugby World Cup Betting Tips

As with the odds, our rugby betting tips for this tournament will be added here later on. Watch this space!

Rugby World Cup Betting Promotions

If you are looking to bet on the Rugby World Cup, then a very nice welcome offer you might want to know about can be found at Betfair, where newcomers can enjoy up to £100 in free bets.
There is another very good welcome offer over at Unibet, where new customers can enjoy £40 money back plus a £10 casino bonus on top.

5 Reasons to Bet on the Rugby World Cup

  • It is the most prestigious international rugby competition.
  • All the best rugby players in the world will be there.
  • The best international teams will be taking part.
  • Memories will be made.
  • History will be made too!

Rugby World Cup Betting Sites With Live Streaming

  • Ladbrokes
  • Betfred
  • William Hill
  • BoyleSports
  • Unibet

Popular Rugby World Cup Betting Markets

With all of the top rugby nations in action, the World Cup is the biggest event in international rugby. Because of this, and the fact that it is only held every four years, World Cup rugby betting has become very popular. Of the home nations – England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales – only England have ever won the World Cup. In fact, England, who have lost in the final three times, are the only European nation to ever win the tournament; all of the other winning nations have come from the southern hemisphere. However, in all of the home nations, including England, Rugby World Cup betting markets are plentiful.

To Win the Tournament Outright Betting

The purpose of this bet is for punters to predict the team or nation that they believe will win the World Cup. For the cost of two stakes, you can, if you wish, make the bet each-way. This will allow your pick to make it all the way to the final, lose the match yet still pay out as runner-up. Either way, bettors are able to make a wager on the side that they believe stands the best chance of going home with the Webb Ellis trophy after the tournament has concluded.

Best Rugby World Cup betting site for winning the tournament: Betfair

Match Winner Betting

With a Match Winner bet, punters attempt to predict which team will win an individual match of rugby. During a World Cup, there will inevitably be some mismatched games where there will be a big gulf in the quality of the two competing teams. In this case, games are easier to predict, but the odds will be smaller. As the tournament progresses, however, the better teams will start to clash in the latter stages where games are tougher to predict, and the odds will provide much better value. Technically, there are three outcomes to a rugby match, which are win, lose or draw, although the latter is not a very common outcome in rugby.

Best Rugby World Cup betting site for Match Winner rugby bets: William Hill

Top Try Scorer Betting

With a Top Try Scorer bet, the aim is to predict the player who will finish the tournament as the leading try scorer – not just within his team, but across the whole competition. It is very similar to having a bet on the leading goal scorer in the football World Cup. Tries are the main ways of scoring in rugby, and award five points before conversion after a player has carried the ball over the line and touched it down on the ground. There are other ways to score in rugby, such as kicking a goal or a penalty. Bettors are able to bet on the leading points scorer too; however, this falls under a different wager.

Best Rugby World Cup betting site for Top Try Scorer: bwin

Group Winner Betting

The Rugby World Cup’s first round is a group stage where the teams are divided into pools or groups of five. These groups are normally seeded to keep the best teams apart until the following rounds. Here, you'll be required to place a bet on who you think will top each little table of these groups. So, if you believe New Zealand will win a group that also contains Argentina, Romania and Namibia, for example, then you would place a wager expressing so.

Best Rugby World Cup betting site for Group Winner: bet365

History of the Rugby World Cup

The first ever Rugby World Cup was staged in 1987 during the months of May and June and was jointly hosted by New Zealand and Australia. There were only 16 teams in the competition, which did not require any qualifying process. One of the host nations, New Zealand, won the first ever Rugby World Cup after they beat France 29–9 in the first final. England were the next official hosts in 1991, although matches were also held in neighbouring France and Ireland.

Following eight years without international rugby participation, in 1992 South Africa resumed international rugby after the collapse of the apartheid system in the country. This led to the Springboks, as the South African team is known, being selected to be the hosts of the Rugby World Cup in 1995. South Africa would go on to win the final by beating New Zealand, which led to the historic and iconic images of the President at the time, Nelson Mandela, dressed in a Springbok shirt when handing over the Webb Ellis Cup to Francois Pienaar, the captain of South Africa.

The 1999 event saw the amount of competing nations being raised from 16 to 20. The only time a team from the northern hemisphere won the Rugby World Cup was in 2003, when England beat hosting nation Australia in extra time in the final. The 2019 renewal was held in Japan which marks the first Asian hosts and also the first time that the Rugby World Cup had been staged outside one of the traditional rugby playing nations.

Recent Rugby World Cup Winners

YearHostsWinning TeamRunners-Up
2019JapanSouth AfricaEngland
2015EnglandNew ZealandAustralia
2011New ZealandNew ZealandFrance
2007FranceSouth AfricaEngland
1995South AfricaSouth AfricaNew Zealand
1987Australia and New ZealandNew ZealandFrance

Rugby World Cup Key Stats

  • No team in Rugby World Cup history has been more successful than New Zealand. They have won the competition three times including the inaugural event, which they also co-hosted with Australia.
  • New Zealand’s Simon Culhane has the record for most points in a match with 45, and also the record for the highest amount of conversions in a single match with 20.
  • In 1995, when the All Blacks faced Japan, New Zealand’s Marc Ellis broke the record for the most tries scored in one match with six, a record that still stands today.
  • The most points scored record in the history of the Rugby World Cup is 277, a total amassed by England’s Jonny Wilkinson, which includes his last-minute World Cup final winning kick in 2003.
  • With 22 Rugby World Cup games under his belt from 1991 through 2003, Jason Leonard of England has made more Rugby World Cup appearances than anyone else.

Similar Tournaments to the Rugby World Cup

  • 5th February – 19th March 2022, Six Nations: This event features the four home nations of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, along with France and Italy, and is held each February and March.
  • 28th May 2022, Challenge Cup Final: Sponsored by Betfred, the Challenge Cup Final will be held at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London next spring.
  • 8th September – 28th October 2023, Rugby Autumn Internationals: A ranking series of test matches played out in the Northern Hemisphere that includes touring teams from the southern half of the planet.

Rugby World Cup Betting FAQs

According to our research, the best Rugby World Cup betting sites are Betfred, William Hill and Coral.
Every fixture of the Rugby World Cup will be shown live on ITV.
The Rugby World Cup is held every four years, usually rotating from Europe to a southern hemisphere host every other year – with the exception of the tournament’s first Asian hosts, Japan, who held the event in 2019.
New Zealand have won the tournament on three occasions, which is the most any team has won it.
Yes, live betting will be available for all Rugby World Cup matches.

ThePuntersPage Final Say

With New Zealand, Australia and current world champions South Africa, as well as the emerging tier two nations who seem to be closing the gulf in quality all the time, the Rugby Union World Cup is the biggest and most prestigious competition in the entire sport. Add in the European teams, and it is easy to see why rugby fans and bettors alike look forward to this highly popular tournament so much.

The Rugby World Cup promises two weeks of top-class international rugby of the highest quality, where all the best professionals in the game will be in competition. With so much top-tier international rugby action on offer, it is no wonder why Rugby World Cup betting, and in particular Rugby World Cup final betting, has become so popular.