Rugby World Cup 2019 Winner Odds & Predictions

RWC 2019 Preview

The ninth Rugby World Cup starts on September 20th and will play through to its conclusion on November 2nd. The tournament is being hosted in Japan and naturally, as hosts, Japan will be involved in the curtain-raiser match. They will be taking on Russia on Friday, September 20th in the tournament opener.

Heading to Asia as the reigning World Champions are New Zealand. But the All Blacks looked a little bit rusty through their Rugby Championship 2019 campaign. Other front runners in the tournament include South Africa and England. But there is also the likes of Ireland, Wales and Australia there as big threats as well.

Rugby World Cup Outright Winner Odds*

New Zealand 5/4
South Africa 4/1
England 4/1
Ireland 9/1
Wales 9/1
Australia 12/1
France 33/1
Argentina 40/1
Scotland 40/1
Japan 150/1
350/1 bar
* (betting odds taken from bet356 on September 16th, 2019 at 7.20 pm)

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Tournament Format

The 2019 Rugby World Cup has twenty nations taking part. Those nations are split into four groups of five teams. It is a single round-robin format in each of the groups. The top two finishers in each of the pools will go through to the quarter-finals, it is as simple as that. There are no second chances. That having been said, the four teams which finish in the third place spots in the group stage, will automatically qualify for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

SA – NZ Name the Finalists
5/2

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Points

A win in the group stage will return four points, with a draw rewarding two points each to the teams involved. A team can pick up a bonus point for scoring at least four tries in a fixture, while a losing bonus point will go to a team if they are defeated by fewer than eight points. A team can score four tries in a match and lose fewer than eight points and pick up both bonus points.

Tie Breakers

If teams are level in the group on points then the main head to head factor that comes into play is the winner of the match between the two teams. If those two happened to draw their meeting then it will come down to points difference +/- across all pool matches. Further criteria apply if the two teams can’t be split after that, which is highly unlikely.

2015 Review

It was a nightmare for hosts England. That is one of the big things that the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be remembered for. Major things were expected of them on home in what was the first World Cup ever not have a debutante nation take part. But England bowed out in the group stage after damaging losses against Wales and Australia.

The four pool winners were Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and Ireland. The only one of the pool winners not to make it through their quarter-final tie was Ireland, who were upset by Argentina. In the semi-finals, New Zealand narrowly held off South Africa 20-18 while Australia cruised past Argentina 29-15.

That left a massive showdown in the final between old rivals New Zealand and Australia. The All Blacks took it 34-17 to defend their title. In doing so they became the first nation to successfully retain a World Cup title and the first-ever to win it for the third time. South Africa, incidentally, won the third-place playoff against Argentina.

2019 Outright Favourites

New Zealand are the 5/4 odds-on favourites to win the 2019 Rugby World Cup* (betting odds taken from bet356 on September 16th, 2019 at 7.20 pm). The All Blacks will be looking to create even more history by becoming the first nation to win the crown three times in a row. Their second title earned in 2011, was their first since the inaugural edition of the Rugby World Cup back in 1987 when they beat France in the Final.

They are the ones to beat again and just once have they finished outside of the top four at a World Cup. The interesting thing is that their Rugby Championship 2019 form wasn’t good recently. They narrowly held on to beat Argentina in Buenos Aires, were denied a win against South Africa who scored late against them to earn a draw, and then the Kiwis were blown away in their joint-record margin of defeat against Australia 47-26.

New Zealand played the entire second half with a man down after Scott Barrett had seen red just before the break. As well as being part of the Rugby Championship, it was also the first leg of this year’s Bledisloe Cup. In typical All Blacks style, they respond to their loss against old rivals Australia in the Rugby Championship by beating Wallabies 36-0 in the second leg of tier Bledisloe Cup meeting.

It’s been a strange year for all of the southern hemisphere teams because there was no June tests for them as there usually are. Also, the Rugby Championship was cut down from six games each to just three because of the World Cup. So there hasn’t been much playing time by the Kiwis and the other leading contenders for the southern hemisphere.

Pool A

Ireland 1/4, Scotland 10/3, Japan 16/1, Samoa 250/1, Russia 500/1
* (betting odds taken from bet356 on September 16th, 2019 at 7.20 pm)

Ireland will head into Pool A action as the outright favourites to top their section. That’s a fair shout considering that the Irish took a win at Murrayfield against the Scots in this year’s Six Nations and they are going to take some stopping here. Veteran Rory Best will be leading them at the tournament. Ireland have never been past the quarter-finals in a World Cup.

The key match in this group comes on September 22nd when Ireland and Scotland meet. That is going to be the early group decider. The Irish are 4/11 odds-on favourites to win that fixture* (betting odds taken from bet356 on September 16th, 2019 at 7.20 pm). Scotland have a porous defence and won only two of seven matches before beating Georgia twice in their World Cup warm-up matches.

The wildcard here are Japan. Their last win against a Tier 1 nation was against Italy back in June last year. At the last World Cup Japan picked up a famous victory, arguably their biggest of their history. They took a 34-32 victory over South Africa in Brighton in a stunning fixture in which Japan just never gave up. A last-minute try got them their famous victory. Japan are 5/2 to qualify which would mean likely beating Scotland* (betting odds taken from bet356 on September 16th, 2019 at 7.20 pm).

Pool B

New Zealand 1/3, South Africa 23/10, Italy 200/1, Canada 500/1, Namibia 1000/1
* (betting odds taken from bet356 on September 16th, 2019 at 7.20 pm)

Anyone who is not New Zealand or South Africa have received a horrible draw by landing in this group. There is little chance that there is going to be a major upset in that it won’t be the All Blacks and Springboks who get through to the quarter-finals from Pool B. The simple question remains, which one of them tops the group?

In this year’s Rugby Championship, New Zealand looked on course to beat the Springboks at Eden Park, before a mixture of fortune and skill saw South Africa touch down in the final minute. The try was converted by Hadnre Pollard to tie the game up at 16-16. That was the first draw between the two nations since 1994.

Is the gap between the All Blacks and the rest of the main contenders as big as it has been in previous years? Absolutely not and we won’t have to wait long to see who tops Pool B. That is because we get the New Zealand v South Africa match up on September 21st. The All Blacks are 1/2 odds on favourites and we would have to just lean on that* (betting odds taken from bet356 on September 16th, 2019 at 7.20 pm).

Come the big stage they usually do deliver. Despite their indifferent Rugby Championship campaign, their response to beat Australia in the second leg of the Bledisloe Cup was massive.  They had woken up. Basically, this opener in Pool B is going to be the group decider. South Africa are close and will get close to the Kiwis. What about the rest of the Pool B participants? Italy should get third but neither they nor Canada or Namibia are going to get close to qualification

Pool C

England 4/11, France 9/2, Argentina 5/1, Tonga 500/1, USA 500/1
* (betting odds taken from bet356 on September 16th, 2019 at 7.20 pm)

England are 4/11 odds-on favourites* (betting odds taken from bet356 on September 16th, 2019 at 7.20 pm) to collect the group win here. Group C has been dubbed the Group of Death. But it doesn’t look that stiff of a challenge for England on paper. There’s a couple of reasons which it has gotten the name. Firstly because of England’s misfire four years ago in a group which contained Wales and Australia.

The other is that they are facing two of bigger dark horses in the tournament, in this group. But it’s by name only and England shouldn’t be troubled. Argentina had a good Rugby Championship, playing some good stuff. But they still came away empty-handed not winning a fixture.

Then there is France, who have been out of sorts for such a long time. They have a very good crop of younger players, but it’s highly unlikely that they are going to put everything together and beat England to top spot. They don’t have the power and the depth that the Red Rose do. It’s also unlikely that the French, over 80 minutes are going to grind down even a nervous England. The setup of the fixtures is notable in Pool C as well.

England get all of their easier games out of the way first before meeting Argentina and then rounding off against France. It means that head coach Eddie Jones should easily have a settled side by then, and the Red Rose should be in a rhythm. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top in the France v Argentina match though.

When they are on song, the Pumas are so good up front that they can disrupt the French. The French do have a good pack, they have some fantastic runners in the back. However, as always with the French, they are unpredictable. We saw in this season’s Six Nations that they blow extremely hot and cold. France are at 4/7 and Argentina at 10/11 To Qualify from Pool C* (betting odds taken from bet356 on September 16th, 2019 at 7.20 pm).

We’ll get an early indication of how that qualification race is going to go. It’s France v Argentina on September 21st. The bookies are expecting a tight game with France at 5/6 and Argentina at 11/10 in the match outright* (betting odds taken from bet356 on September 16th, 2019 at 7.20 pm). We would favour the French because they are stacked with potential, if not consistency.

Pool D

Wales 8/11, Australia 11/10, Fiji 40/1, Georgia 250/1, Uruguay 500/1
* (betting odds taken from bet356 on September 16th, 2019 at 7.20 pm)

This looks to be another of the groups in which no surprise is going to happen. It is going to be a straight shoot out between Wales and Australia for the top spot. But regardless of the final positions, both are highly likely to land themselves in the quarter-final draw. Which way would we lean in the race for that top spot?

The Welsh are, once again, likely to be a team which none of the other front runners are going to want to meet in the competition. They can raise their game and you will expect a lot more from Warren Gatland’s men than what they showed during a less than stellar run of warm-up fixtures.

They will go to the World Cup action and be alright. The key here may simply be form in the head to head. In the last decade, Wales have won just one game against the Wallabies. Granted that was in their meeting in November last year, and it was only by a three-point margin. Australia look behind New Zealand and South Africa really in terms of quality.

But just as they showed in their group stage meeting in 2015, the Australians can make it count when it matters. Australia beat Wales 15-6 at Twickenham in the last World Cup and are 11/8 to top Pool D in this campaign* (betting odds taken from bet356 on September 16th, 2019 at 7.20 pm).  Australia and Wales will meet on September 29th. The bookies are expecting a tight clash with the Wallabies at 11/10 and Wales 4/5 odds on in the match outright* (betting odds taken from bet356 on September 16th, 2019 at 7.20 pm)

Predictions

This is a really difficult tournament to call. There really doesn’t look to be much between New Zealand, South Africa and England. Each of them on their day, playing at their best, are capable of beating the others. We are not, therefore, going to look for a winner beyond the leading three. New Zealand will show up and be a threat and easy group stage fixtures will help them get further gelled together. They will make the semi’s at least.

England have what it takes to go all the way in terms of depth and personnel. But the worry would be about them putting together a complete 80-minute performance. That’s something which seems to pass them by time and time again. Dealing with the humid conditions will put them at a disadvantage against the southern hemisphere teams as well. They will do a lot better than they did four years ago. Th Group of Death isn’t a thing. England should easily claim the top spot there.

But it is South Africa who we are going to look at for the value. They have slowly been building under Rassie Erasmus. Regardless of whether they beat the All Blacks in their group opener or not, the Boks look a good option. They are a very well balanced unit. They, have a tremendously powerful pack. Plus with Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard in the backs, there is no-one else in the Rugby World Cup 2019 field that South Africa have to fear.


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