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When Rassie Erasmus took charge of the Springboks in March 2018, 18 months out from the Rugby World Cup, no one could have foreseen that he would lift the World Cup trophy in Yokohama.
The Boks had just lost to Wales and, before that, 38-3 to Ireland, a dire spell of form which all but wrote off their hopes at the World Cup. However, for a lucky few who lumped a sum on South Africa to win it all, either through blind stupidity or downright loyalty, a huge pay-out was awarded.
Whether it be Leicester winning the Premier League or Japan beating South Africa in 2015, for those who dare to dream and gamble on the impossible lies incredible rewards.
And so comes one of the most competitive World Cups of all time, with seemingly nothing to separate France, New Zealand, Ireland and reigning champions, South Africa, the four top ranked sides splitting the pundit’s vote of confidence. But what if there was an outside bet, a dark horse of monumental proportions whose run to trophy would shake the rugby world to its core. Scotland? Fiji? Argentina?
Here is out comprehensive betting guide on who to back for outrights.
To win outright – France or bust?
First we will take a look at the odds for the most exciting outright betting market and that is to win the World Cup. New Zealand is the biggest favourite, followed by France and South Africa:
To win outright odds and analysis
- New Zealand – 11/4 (3.75)
- France – 3/1 (4.00)
- South Africa – 10/3 (4.33)
- Ireland – 5/1 (6.00)
- Australia – 11/1 (12.00)
- England – 14/1 (15.00)
- Argentina – 22/1 (23.00)
- Wales – 40/1 (41.00)
- Scotland – 50/1 (51.00)
- Fiji – 80/1 (81.00)
There was a time, after their 2022 Six Nations Grand Slam, when France NOT winning their home World Cup seemed incomprehensible. They had all the necessary ingredients, with the baying home crowd the final piece of the puzzle.
After losing to Ireland in this year’s Six Nations and losing Romain Ntamack to injury, they certainly aren’t out the race, by any means but their credentials have been questioned. With that being said, the majority of experts will still tell you to back Les Bleus.
By the same token, if you had told someone in early 2022 that you thought New Zealand would win the World Cup they would have called you mad. They had just lost a three-game series to Ireland on their on their own soil and were smashed by France in late 2021. However, here they are, the bookies favourites.
The All Blacks have revived themselves from the depths, winning four games in a row to collect the 2023 Rugby Championship trophy and back to playing their best rugby. No one should ever write off New Zealand at a World Cup, they are a different beast and have the talent to blow away any team in the world if their gameplan clicks, they’ve earned their ‘favourites’ tag.
Defending champions South Africa had a rough start to their World Cup cycle, suffering from a World Cup hangover like no other. However, they’ve brought in fresh blood to kick their 2019 finalists into gear and have put in recent performances to suggest they’re back to their best, not least their 35-7 dismantling of New Zealand at Twickenham in their last warm-up.
The Bok’s forward-dominated gameplan can prove impossible to stop and they have just about as much chance to win the whole tournament as France and New Zealand.
For Ireland it isn’t a question of their ability on the pitch, they’ve beaten France, New Zealand and South Africa in the past year, it is a question of their mentality to overcome their World Cup voodoo, they’ve still never progressed past the quarter-finals.
Ireland critics will cite that they entered the 2019 tournament in similar form and crashed out with a 46-17 loss to New Zealand in the dreaded quarter-final. To think that a semi-final exit will be their best ever tournament is bizarre considering that many of their fans expect nothing less than the trophy coming back to Dublin.
Among the outsiders are fifth-ranked Scotland who face a near impossible challenge to escape their group containing South Africa and Ireland. However, if they can, they’ve proven they can run the four best teams down to the wire and have the ability to produce massive shocks. Elsewhere, Argentina have beat England, Australia and New Zealand in the past year and a half and face an easier run to the semi-finals.
They have proven they are not just unpredictable but a tactically astute juggernaut. To round off the outsiders are the Flying Fijian’s, fresh from beating England at Twickenham and England and Wales, perennially different beasts at World Cups and never teams to write off, what a story it would be if they went all the way.
To win outright prediction
Les Bleus will woo the Stade-de-France and Antoine Dupont and his merry band of men will win their first ever World Cup, put simply, no one has enough to stop them in front of a home crowd.
Top tournament try scorer – Penaud vs Jordan
Another interesting outright betting market for the upcoming World Cup in France is betting on the top try scorer for the entire tournament, so let’s check it out in more detail.
Top tournament try scorer odds and analysis
- Damian Penaud – 13/2 (7.50)
- Will Jordan – 7/1 (8.00)
- Mark Telea – 8/1 (9.00)
- Caleb Clarke – 14/1 (15.00)
- Cheslin Kolbe – 14/1 (15.00)
- Leicester Faingaanuku – 14/1 (15.00)
A common theme here is Kiwi’s and Frenchman, for good reason, no one has ever won top try-scorer having not advanced to the semi-finals at least except Chris Ashton who shared the award in 2011. So it is safe to predict the top scorer will play for a team who makes the semi or further. As for the individual themselves, no one could have predicted Josh Adams to win the award in 2019, usually the majority of the tries will be scored in the group-stages in big blowouts versus weaker nations, as with Adams’ hattrick v Fiji.
For this reason you can bet on a Kiwi or Frenchman, as they play Uruguay, Namibia and Italy, likely to be easier games for the Boks and Irishman in Pool B who play Scotland, Tonga and Romania.
Top tournament try scorer prediction
It is hard to look past Penaud, who is electric and a born try scorer, but Will Jordan takes our vote, he has 23 tries in 26 international games and is part of a New Zealand backline brimming with attacking talent and adventure, eager to score a myriad of points at Rugby World Cup 2023.
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