The introduction of the Rugby Union World Cup in 1987 has helped to make the game more popular across the globe. As the sport became more professional it was logical that this international tournament should follow and it has been held on a four-yearly basis ever since.
But the game has plenty to enjoy while you’re waiting for the big event to come along and if you’re looking to bet on rugby union, there are lots of opportunities.
Rugby Union fans and pundits will tend to split the world into two distinct hemispheres – North and South. In the Northern section, the main international event is the Six Nations and this has been held in various formats since 1883.
Italy joined the tournament in 2000 and now play alongside France, Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland in a competition which takes place at the beginning of every year. For anyone betting on the Six Nations, it’s worth remembering that Italy have yet to win the competition in 16 years of trying while Scotland have also been on a poor run in recent times.
Since the start of the 21st century, tournament wins have been fairly evenly split between the four remaining nations – England, Wales, Ireland and France. Aside from the tournament itself, you can also bet on Six Nations matches and you can bet on whether one country will win the Grand Slam and become victorious in all their games.
From 1996 to 2011, Southern Hemisphere teams competed in the Tri Nations – a tournament that involved just New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. That competition was then extended to include Argentina and it became known simply as the Rugby Championship.
Argentina have yet to win it while the All Blacks of New Zealand have 11 tournament victories – far more than any of their rivals. Betting on the Rugby Championship outright market will show New Zealand as short favourites but Australia took the trophy in 2015 so there is room for upsets.
Domestic Competitions have also increased in the professional era with tournaments such as the European Rugby Champions Cup attracting interest both from spectators and from a betting perspective. This tournament features teams from the countries that compete in the Six Nations and is often dominated by French clubs who can field strong XVs with players from all over the world.
In other parts of the globe you can bet on Super Rugby, a competition for teams based in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Japan. The most successful team in this tournament are the Crusaders, a Kiwi unit who have lifted the trophy on no fewer than 7 occasions.
Rugby Union isn’t a sport that gives too many options for side markets but this can be a great game if you’re a lover of live betting. It’s a fast paced event with fluctuations throughout that can really test your analytical skills.
Thanks to major tournaments such as the World Cup, the sport itself is more popular than ever and if you are looking to place a bet, there is a multitude of choice throughout the rugby union calendar.