The wait is over, and the 2023 Rugby World Cup has arrived. France invited the rugby-playing world round for a party, with the opening game played on Friday. The host nation brought the curtain up with a thrilling match against New Zealand. Two giants of the international rugby union scene meeting in Paris set the tone for what lies ahead for rugby fans, and we’re already looking forward to the next game.
Which team will win the trophy, and which nation has the potential to be a dark horse? Our team of sports writers brings you up to speed on the competition, arming readers with all the information needed to enjoy the show. We provide the all-important dates for your diary, our pick of the group games, predictions, and more. There’s even an update on the current World Cup betting odds available at the world’s leading apps.
The leading bookies in Wales and the United Kingdom offer odds, specials, and bonuses. Fans eager to make predictions and gamble on the tournament find plenty to choose from, and it’s a global affair. UK bookies join the best worldwide apps, from rugby apps in Australia to firms more often associated with Nascar betting online in the US. The World Cup attracts both dedicated and casual rugby fans.
World Cup dates for your diary
The tenth edition of the men’s Rugby World Cup is underway, but you’re still in time to enjoy the game and catch international rugby fever. We’re just starting as the competition progresses through the early group stages. The curtain lifted on Friday and drops following the final on Saturday, 28th October. What happens between is seven weeks of fast-paced, unpredictable, and intense action.
No fewer than 20 teams play a part in the World Cup, and we begin with a round-robin format in the groups before the best-performing teams progress to the knockout stages. Other than Les Bleus and the All Blacks, participants include South Africa, England, Australia, Ireland, and Scotland. But which nation will lift the trophy aloft following the final? That’s yet to be seen, but we can’t wait to find out.
If you wish to add extra heat to the occasion, you can make predictions and place bets on the outright winner or one of the many specials. There are group winners, to qualify, top point scorer, player of the tournament, and more. Traders roll out the red carpet for international rugby’s flagship tournament, offering bonuses and free bets to all new customers. It’s enough to target a profit while cheering your favorite teams and players.
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The groups are set in stone and give fans some eye-catching tussles. The winner of each pool progresses to the next round, where they face the runner-up in the next bracket. Choose one team to win their group, or add a few selections to create an exciting multiple. Below is a list of the confirmed 2023 Rugby World Cup groups.
Group A: France, Italy, Namibia, New Zealand, Uruguay.
Group B: Ireland, Romania, Scotland, South Africa, Tonga.
Group C: Australia, Fiji, Georgia, Portugal, Wales.
Group D: Argentina, Chile, England, Japan, Samoa.
As you can imagine from the above list and the opening game between France and New Zealand, the group campaign boasts mouthwatering fixtures. Wales v Portugal could decide the Three Feathers’ fate on Saturday, 16th September, with Warren Gartland’s team chasing a solid win and bonus point. England vs. Japan has the ingredients to be explosive, while fans will want to see Wales against Australia.
Favorites and underdogs
The top gambling apps have seized on the interest generated by France 2023 and offer their views on the most likely winner, challengers, and the pick of the underdogs. The outright market has no massive surprises, with the usual suspects in prominent positions. Whether you follow the bookies’ lead and back a favorite or take an underdog with a severe bite, you’re guaranteed great odds.
New Zealand is the favorite, standing head and shoulders above the chasing pack as the bookies’ pick. The All Blacks are the competition’s shortest price, meaning anything other than a NZ victory would shock those working on the trading floors across the UK and beyond. It’s plain to see why bookies are backing New Zealand, as they have experience, a talented squad, and great support.
Which team will take the crown if traders are wide of the mark and the All Blacks don’t win? The hosts have been extremely popular in the early exchanges, which explains why they’ve climbed to second on the list, just ahead of South Africa. But all the top teams are on the same side of the draw, so it may be worth taking a team at decent odds. Most professional gamblers and rugby pundits pick one favorite to follow, and a dark horse they hope will perform better than expected.
England is further down the list than expected, the sixth most likely team to lift the trophy. That looks like value, especially if Team England is near its best. And let’s remember Ireland enters as the number one team in the world rugby rankings.
It’s not the first time the Irish have been on top ahead of a World Cup, and the nation has never made it past the quarter-finals. Will history repeat itself in France, or will the Irish show why officials rate them above all others?
The draw has been tough on certain teams, including Ireland. If a team wins the trophy from Ireland’s half, they’ll deserve it, but injuries and suspensions could decide their fate.
It’ll likely come as no surprise to learn we’re backing Wales, and make no apologies for that blind faith. Gartland’s team hammered England by 20 points to nine last month, but there’s more to come. When they hit their stride and grow into the tournament, we expect the Welsh to repay our faith by progressing from Pool C alongside Australia.