<![CDATA[There is little under 5 weeks to go until the world’s premier international rugby tournament begins again, showcasing the talents of 20 teams who will hope to be battling it out for the Webb Ellis Cup at Twickenham on Saturday October 31st. Supporters, professional rugby tipsters and bookmakers alike will be rubbing their hands together at the prospect of 48 matches to bet on. Rugby offers many possibilities to the punter, with total points over/unders and handicap betting particularly popular. Ahead of the tournament, we assess the likely candidates and those teams to look out for when following the professional rugby tipsters.
England have a fine recent history in this competition, having won it with one swing of Jonny Wilkinson’s boot in Australia in 2003, and then unexpectedly reaching the final four years later, where they missed out to South Africa. Last time out, in 2011, however, they lost disappointingly to eventual finalists France, and haven’t claimed a 6 Nations championship since that same year. Hopes are rather higher this time after some promising recent results, although the weight of home expectation may just prove too much.
New Zealand overcame a 24-year hoodoo by triumphing last time out, albeit extremely narrowly in their 8-7 defeat of France, to claim their second world crown. However, the fact still remains that the All Blacks – the more-often-that-not invincibles of global rugby – have never claimed the title of World Champions outside of their home country (although admittedly the 1987 semi—final against Wales was played in Sydney!). The Kiwis go into every tournament as the favourites, but only last week they were beaten in the deciding game of the Rugby Championship (27-19 by Australia), so they are fallible. They do still possess the class, experience and guile to go all the way , and will be many professional rugby tipsters’ tip to do so.
The Perennial Challengers
Of the seven editions of the World Cup played to date, 6 of those tournaments have been claimed by Southern Hemisphere teams. Australia and South Africa have each bagged honours twice, and will be hoping to make it a hat-trick of wins on October 31st
. Australia go into the tournament with a bounce in their step after their unexpected victory over the All Blacks in Sydney last week, although their optimism will no doubt be tapered by the proposition of facing both hosts England and the attacking flair of Wales in the groups stages. This particular group has already been daubed ‘The Group of Death’ and will result in one of these aforementioned teams taking an early flight home (or stroll as the case may be for the English). South Africa, on the other hand, were beaten at home by Argentina and finished bottom of the truncated annual competition amongst the southern teams. The Springboks will be smartingbut face the comfort of a relatively simple pool stage, something the professional rugby tipsters will bear in mind for later rounds.
The Best of the Rest
Europe’s bid for glory will be headed by this year’s 6 Nations champions Ireland, who possess the skill, power and coaching nous (of Joe Schmidt) to go a long way in the competition – certainly no team will look forward to facing them. Wales always have the flair but sometimes lack the control to finish off games, although will be buoyed by their performances in their near miss four years ago, when they The Rugby World Cup – R should have beaten France in their semi-final. The French themselves remain a threat, although they could just as easily get knocked out in the group stage in a pool composed of Ireland and Italy, as reach the final in London. Argentina could cause an upset on their day, something professional rugby tipsters will be wary of, but are unlikely to replicate their third place finish of 8 years ago.
Betting: To Win Outright
New Zealand 2.30
South Africa 6.00
Betting: To Win Money
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By: Steve Paget]]>