2019 Rugby World Cup Preview

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Rugby Union’s premier event heads to Japan for the first time with the All Blacks as clear favourites to win their third straight Rugby World Cup.

The next big challengers in the market are England and South Africa, both of whom are looking to add to their trophy cabinets after last winning in 2003 and 2007 respectively.

On the home front, the Wallabies haven’t had a great build up but will be counting on a pre-tournament training camp from coach Michael Cheika to get them into shape.

In our 2019 Rugby World Cup Tournament Preview, we’ll run through all 20 teams and look at the best betting strategies to take for each team.

POOL A

IRELAND

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $11

It’s a match made in heaven, Ireland and a quarter final exit at the Rugby World Cup.

Of the eight World Cups, the Irish have been eliminated at that stage seven times, the one exception being a pool stage exit in 2007.

In 2015 they were upset by Argentina after winning their pool, but they head into this tournament as the surprise top ranked team, although those should be taken more as an approximation instead of a reliable guide.

Ireland is the clear top side in Pool A and the market reflects that, instead of going all in on a pre-tournament bet back them to win & cover in each game until we hit the knockout stages.

Back Ireland on a game by game basis

SCOTLAND

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $81

Out of all the sides taking part in the Rugby World Cup, Scotland is the side that there isn’t really a whole lot of value in any of the betting markets.

They won’t finish ahead of Ireland to win Pool A, their form is pretty poor at the moment and the most likely scenario of finishing runner up and then losing in the quarter final stage both has odds under even money.

In that case, look to back Scotland on a game by game basis and keep a particular eye on their clash with Japan which could be pivotal for both sides.

Back Scotland on a game by game basis

JAPAN

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $251

The tournament hosts will undoubtedly want to put on a show and have a chance at building some early momentum with a cakewalk opener against Russia.

They are the clear third favourites in this group but could capitalise on an Irish or Scottish (the latter seeming more likely) slip up.

On the side, expect a lot of “look how much we love rugby” in response to the Sunwolves being axed from Super Rugby.

They should finish third in the group but you hope they can put on a show for their fans but it will be over after four games when the big boys take centre stage.

Back Japan to Cover the Line Against Russia

RUSSIA

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $1001

Russia probably had the most interesting path to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, only qualifying thanks to mass points deductions applied to Romania, Spain and Belgium in the Rugby Europe Championship.

So consider this: Russia wasn’t good enough to qualify ahead of Romania, Spain and Belgium based solely on results, and now they’re at the Rugby World Cup.

This should be a team that goes five for five… in the losses department.

Back against Russia to Cover the Line in Every Game

SAMOA

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $501

It’s a long time gone since the days of Brian Lima getting Samoa to the quarter finals in their first two Rugby World Cup appearances.

Since then it’s been four straight pool stage exits but they have never gone through a tournament without winning a single game.

That one chance should come against Russia where the Samoans should win that game by a lot.

Back Samoa to cover the line against Russia

POOL B

NEW ZEALAND

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $2.38

The two-time defending champions enter the 2019 tournament as clear favourites to complete a hat-trick of titles and claim their nation’s fourth World Cup.

While New Zealand rugby’s 2019 can be described as disjointed at times, it has been at least in part deliberately done with one eye on emerging victorious in Yokohama in about six weeks from now.

Yes the Crusaders still won the Super Rugby and they retained the Bledisloe Cup (again) but there were moments where they looked… almost human and perhaps vulnerable.

Then you remember that back in 2011 and 2015 they had those “wake up call” losses in the build up to the World Cup and that had them firing come the end of the year.

Of course even then, it’s too hard to back against them and if world rugby’s dominant force is going to look like a dominant force again, you may as well profit off it.

Back New Zealand to Win the World Cup @ $2.38

SOUTH AFRICA

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $5.00

The Springboks are coming off winning the Rugby Championship which should be a good sign for their form heading into the World Cup.

Except for the fact no team has been able to complete the Southern Hemisphere/Rugby World Cup double in a single year, the closest side was Australia four years ago which lost the World Cup Final.

The draw hasn’t been kind to the Springboks either, pairing them with the All Blacks in Pool B but on the plus side for them, that does mean that they won’t face them in the knockout stages until a possible rematch in the final.

Assuming the draw plays out as expected, their path to that final could also shield them from England in the knockout stages as well and their path to the final could have them trying to get by Ireland followed by Australia, France or Argentina.

For that reason, the value play for the Springboks is to back them to make the final against the All Blacks, which could be the two best sides in the tournament.

Back New Zealand/South Africa as the World Cup Finalists @ $3.75

ITALY

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $501

Italian rugby’s growth has been somewhat stunted in the last few years as they struggled to compete in the Six Nations, losing every match in that tournament since the last Rugby World Cup.

The Azzuri’s only win in 2019 came against Russia in a warm up match, by a huge 85-15 margin but all that shows is they can beat the smaller nations and will struggle against the big sides.

Don’t be at all surprised if they finish with two wins and two losses but a hugely negative points differential after being on the receiving end of some huge scorelines from New Zealand and South Africa.

Back against Italy against New Zealand and South Africa

NAMIBIA

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $1001

Namibia has made six straight World Cups and their record in the previous five… Played: 19 games, Lost: 19 games.

Good on them for making it but we definitely won’t be backing them to pick up its first win in this tournament.

Back Against Namibia to Cover the Line in Every Game

CANADA

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $1001

Canada has made every single World Cup to this stage and even managed a quarter final appearance in 1991.

It’s highly unlikely that will be repeated here considering they have won just four World Cup matches since then and have been drawn in a pool with New Zealand and South Africa.

Maybe they beat Namibia in their final Pool match, but by that stage that side will probably just want to be heading home.  

Back Canada to Beat Namibia

POOL C

ENGLAND

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $5.00

England go into this tournament as the Northern Hemisphere’s best chance of winning the Webb Ellis Cup.

After their embarrassing early exit in 2015, they have turned themselves around, thanks in large part to the hiring of Eddie Jones and a much more disciplined approach.

As equal second favourites with South Africa, the English are at a very short price to win Pool C which might actually be the worst case scenario for them.

It would book them in for a quarter final against the Pool D runner up which will most likely be Wales (who beat them 21-13 in the Six Nations) or Australia, who knocked them out of the 2015 tournament.

Should they survive that, New Zealand will be waiting for them in the semi final which, in all honesty, is probably where their tournament ends.

Whoever wins that match would be favoured to take out the final so if you have confidence in the English, then consider backing them as your second World Cup winner value bet knowing that if the All Blacks do win it, you’ll be covered in that market.

Back England to Win the World Cup @ $5.00

FRANCE

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $26

If you want to find the vulnerable “big” rugby nation, it’s got to be the French, after a poor Six Nations campaign, they have a tough pool to navigate here.

They finished fourth in the European tournament including blowing a 16-0 halftime lead at home to Wales.

If they manage to beat Argentina first up, that should get them over the line although a loss isn’t the end of the world if they can then come back and beat the English later on, like they did in February.

You have to back the history of the French here though, they have never failed to make the knockout stages and they should be able to survive the challenge of Argentina.

If they do though, it will be a quarter final exit as the Pool D winner should be able to account for them.

Back France to be Eliminated in the Quarter Final @ $2.38

ARGENTINA

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $41

Argentina is in the midst of its best ever year of rugby union with the bulk of their Rugby World Cup squad making the Super Rugby Final with the Jaguares and a near upset of the All Blacks in The Rugby Championship.

There are two big concerns about this side though and the first is around the possibility of player burnout, it’s been a long season and they have travelled a lot of kilometres already and put a lot of emotion into their games so far.

Even after (kind of) punting on their two away games in The Rugby Championship in an attempt to rest some of their squad, you have to wonder how much they have left in the tank.

The draw has not been kind to them either, placing them with European powerhouses England and France.

If the French continue their uneven form though from the Six Nations though, Argentina has shown significant growth in the last few years to give you some confidence that they can take advantage of a side that is below par.

Because of that, it’s worth a bet on them to qualify through Pool C as the runner up since it’s going to be them or France so the return is there.

Back Argentina as the Pool C Runner Up @ $2.75

USA

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $1001

The US might dominate at a lot of sports, gridiron, baseball, basketball, occasionally ice hocky and a few Winter Olympics events but that doesn’t extend into rugby union.

After defeating Canada in the North American playoff, the US qualified for its sixth straight World Cup and eighth tournament all up.

In their World Cup history, they have lost 22 of 25 matches and never made it out of pool play.

In terms of competition their only chance of a win might be against Tonga, otherwise the Americans will be an afterthought here.

Avoid backing the USA

TONGA

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $1001

Every so often Tonga springs an upset against a top flight nation but it’s hard to see them being overly competitive in this tournament.

As we just said for the USA, their only chance of a win will be when they play the Americans, otherwise Tonga will probably be used as a points differential booster, even though they are coached by Wallabies legend Toutai Kefu.

Back against Tonga to cover the line against England, France & Argentina

POOL D

AUSTRALIA

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $13

It’s been an uneven build up for the Wallabies over the last couple of years, 2018 saw their worst year of results in a long time and 2019 has seen more off field headlines for the sacking of Israel Folau as for their on-field play.

We did see reason for optimism in Perth when they not only beat but beat by a lot the (14-man) All Blacks team.

That was bookended by bad losses in South Africa and Perth which shows why you won’t see this side in the Final.

They’ll have no trouble beating lower ranked teams like Georgia and Uruguay in the pool stage but may not cover the 50-odd point line due to a lack of attacking firepower, especially if

When you look at this team, there is one painful question you just can’t answer, “what’s the one thing they do well?”

If they do go deep in the tournament, it will be because they overachieve by grinding out results and just having more effort than their opponent.

Their September 29 clash with Wales will be the make or break for their campaign as that will be to decide who wins the group and who gets the (slightly) easier knockout stage draw.

In a bit of a show of blind faith, I’ll back Michael Chieka to have this side ready to roll in Tokyo and come away Pool winners and then let that ride into the knockouts.

Back Australia to Win Pool D @ $2.10

WALES

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $11

Which Welsh side are we going to get this tournament?

Is it the side that went 14 games undefeated to briefly hold the world number one ranking earlier this year?

Or perhaps it’s the one that lost three of its four warm up matches against England and Ireland.

There’s also disruption in the coaching ranks with an assistant coach sent home before the tournament kicked off.

For this tournament they are favoured to win Pool D but there are too many red flags to consider them worthy of being such a short price.

Plus they haven’t got a great recent record against Australia with their win last November ending a 13 game losing streak against the Wallabies which included two World Cup matches.

Wales might be the better team on paper but the Wallabies have had their number so take the value of the Welsh to finish as runners up.

Back Wales to be Pool C Runners Up @ $2.38

GEORGIA

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $501

Georgia qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup thanks to a third place finish in its group in 2015 after beating Tonga and Namibia.

It will be their fifth straight appearance and the first time they have qualified automatically for the World Cup.

Unfortunately for them though, they will be in for a rough time here going down to Australia, Wales and Fiji, their only real chance for a win will be when they take on Uruguay on September 29.

Bet Against Georgia on the Line Against Australia, Wales and Fiji

FIJI

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $251

Fiji is probably the strongest of the Pacific Island nations in the Rugby World Cup but they have not received any favours from the draw.

It seems very likely they will finish in third place in the group, well clear of Georgia and Uruguay and they should be able to play Australia close in Game 1 if the Wallabies aren’t completely at the races.

It will be a case of four games and out for the Fijians so enjoy watching them while you can, but look to back them game to game.

Back Fiji Game to Game

URUGUAY

WORLD CUP WINNER ODDS: $1001

Uruguay qualified for its fourth Rugby World Cup appearance and will serve as glorified training runs for the games against Australia and Wales.

They qualified after going winning all eight games in Americas qualifying including a two legged playoff against Canada.

For them, this tournament will be about losing by not a lot of points.

Bet Against Uruguay on the Line Against Australia, Wales and Fiji

Tips, recommendations and commentary are for entertainment only. We provide no warranty about accuracy or completeness. You should make your own assessment before placing a bet.