As the pinnacle of international rugby approaches, we decided to see how the odds are shaping up. Whether you’re looking to take a punt on a longshot or get some reassurance of your nation’s chances, we have you covered.
Tier One: Favourites
New Zealand’s All Blacks are the clear favourites, paying $1.90 at the TAB for a tournament win. They are listed as 11/10 favourites by UK services Unibet and William Hill, and are at 6/5 odds with Skybet.
Despite a shock home loss to South Africa in the Rugby Championship, it’s hard to overlook the fact that New Zealand have won the last two World Cups and are the only country to have won three. They’re also ranked first in the world.
Ireland have seen a massive resurgence in the last couple of years, rising up the rankings to second in the world. Their first victory over the All Blacks in 2016, a record victory over South Africa in 2017 and a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2018 have given Irish fans plenty of confidence in their side heading into the World Cup.
Ireland are paying $5.50 at the TAB and listed at 5/1, 4/1 and 9/2 with Unibet, William Hill and Skybet respectively.
Joe Schmidt’s men will have history against them in Japan. They have never advanced past the quarter finals of a World Cup and will likely have to play either New Zealand or South Africa in next year’s iteration.
Despite a disastrous Six Nations and a series loss against South Africa in 2018, Eddie Jones’ men are still right up there in terms of World Cup favourites.
Paying $8 at the TAB and listed at either 6/1 or 7/1, England have the third best odds to take home the William Webb Ellis Cup. Their chances will become clearer – for better or worse – as we enter the infancy of the John Mitchell experience with England.
After a dream run with Eddie Jones in 2016 and 2017, it’s possible that this England group peaked at the wrong time. At the last World Cup – which they hosted – they failed to make it out of their pool, and with Argentina and France joining them next year it won’t be a walk in the park.
Tier Two: Close, but no cigar
Australia and South Africa
Australia and South Africa are inseparable at the TAB, both listed at $8 for a World Cup win. With English bookmakers things get a little tricky. Unibet have Australia at 15/2 and Skybet have Australia at 8/1, while William Hill have South Africa at 8/1 and Australia at 12/1.
Of the two, it would appear as if South Africa have the form advantage after defeating the All Blacks in Wellington, but they went down to Australia just one week earlier. Australia have had their own ups and downs, beating South Africa before going down to Argentina at home.
Both nations have won a pair of World Cups, and Australia appeared in the last final. South Africa have recently shot up to fifth in the world while Australia have slumped to an all-time worst of seventh.
Tier Three: Middle of the pack
Wales and France
Wales and France are paying $18 with the TAB and hover between 18/1 and 22/1 elsewhere. The only outlier is William Hill, who have Wales at 12/1.
France have a history of relative World Cup success. Despite never winning the Cup, they have made three appearances in the final – a northern hemisphere record shared with England. Their value hit a snag after they notched two Six Nations wins and were outscored 127- 38 in their three-game series against New Zealand earlier this year.
Wales are good value as they are currently ranked third in the world. They have won their last five matches and lost just twice during the Six Nations. Current head coach Warren Gatland will be hoping for one last effort from his men before he steps down after the World Cup.
Scotland and Argentina
Rounding out the real contenders are Scotland and Argentina who come in at $31 and $41 respectively. Elsewhere they are generally listed between 25/1 and 33/1. Argentina are good value at 40/1 with William Hill.
Mario Ledesma’s Argentina have found a rich vein of form after a tumultuous run under Daniel Hourcade. During this year’s Rugby Championship they have knocked off South Africa and beaten Australia on the Gold Coast. They also tested the All Blacks in Nelson before falling off in the final quarter.
They have a stronger World Cup pedigree than Scotland, finishing third in 2007 and reaching the semi-finals in 2015. They were eliminated by New Zealand in the quarterfinals of the 2015 competition. Scotland are yet to make it past the quarterfinal stage of the competition. Argentina’s odds may have taken a hit because of their pool, where they will have to beat out either England or France to advance.
Scotland should be a shoo-in for a quarterfinal berth with Ireland their only real threat in the pool, but will likely meet South Africa or New Zealand next should they advance.
Tier Four: The longshots
Japan and Fiji
Hosts Japan and Island nation Fiji are both listed at $251 with the TAB and range between 100/1 and 500/1 elsewhere.
Japan have home advantage and are capable of shocking, evidenced by their stunning upset victory over South Africa in the 2015 iteration of the competition.
Fiji are two-time quarterfinalists and will likely feature a star-studded backline and be led by reigning European Player of the Year Leone Nakarawa. They are currently ranked tenth in the world, the highest standing in their history.
Samoa, Tonga and Italy
Samoa haven’t made the quarterfinals since 1999 and finished fourth in their pool in 2015. Tonga and Italy are yet to make it past the pool stages, though Italy have the distinction of the most pool wins without a quarterfinal appearance.
Georgia, Uruguay, Russia, USA, Namibia, Repechage Team
With odds ranging from 1000/1 to 5000/1, these sides don’t have much of a shot at winning, let alone making it out of the pool. Most of these sides will be happy to escape with a few competition points.
Georgia have the best shot at making some noise, but their tough pool featuring Australia, Wales and Fiji won’t make things any easier.
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