Rugby Tips: Best Outright Bets for the Rugby World Cup

Who will lift the Webb Ellis Cup?

The Webb Ellis Cup


Rugby World Cup Outright Bets:

Winner – France

Too obvious? Perhaps. Deserved? Definitely. With the All Blacks stuttering although looking much better now than this time last year, they’re not quite up to standard in my opinion. Joe Schmidt seems to have installed some much needed detail back into their plans, however, their huge defeat to South Africa a few weeks back in Twickenham stinks of Ireland 2019 – plenty of readers will remember the hammering Ireland took from England which battered the confidence back then.

Should the All Blacks turn all that on its head and overcome the odds, good on them but, at a very similar Outright price, France look the much better bet.

Sure, poster boy Romain Ntamack is missing for the duration of the tournament and RWC 2023 is worse off for it.

However, Matthieu Jalibert gives France a better chance of bringing home the William Webb Ellis trophy come late October.

Ntamack is a bright, shiny bauble for me – he might win them games like against New Zealand by 15 instead of 5 points but in the end, he makes too many big mistakes and against the very best sides, that simply does not fly.

His final 20 minutes of the Top 14 final were inexcusable and without a wonder try to deny Ronan O’Gara’s La Rochelle the vaunted Top 14/European Cup double, the conversation would be much different surrounding him.

The injury to prop Cyril Baille is a bigger worry here alongside the also-hobbled Jonathan Danty. He provides defensive nous in midfield that Yoram Moefana can’t along with a well-rounded passing game which allows Gaël Fickou to shine at outside centre. He’s expected to return but misses the opener with a hamstring twinge.

The fact that Baille was included without hesitation in the squad should tell us he’ll be fine come quarter final time. We all know you cannot win the World Cup without front-row depth – the main worry for Ireland now is Cian Healy, who would need a minor miracle to play any part, meaning Andrew Porter might be the most important player for any team at the World Cup right now.

That leaves South Africa. The defending champs put the final nail in the Kiwi coffin for me a few weeks back, however, they have at times looked inconsistent. Manie Libbok is the key here, can the mercurial Sharks fly-half guide the green machine to a fourth title?

The jury is still out. His failure to beat Munster will give Irish fans hope and while he’s improving rapidly, I don’t think he can quite do the job.

Not to be forgotten, a healthy Handre Pollard is awaiting a call from Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber as he continues pre-season with the Leicester Tigers and that’s no small deal. The South African pack looks as physical as ever with arguments to be made for Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi all as top two or three in their respective positions worldwide, but I’d still give the French the edge.

France Outright Winner

Top Tournament Try Scorer – Mark Nawaqanitawase

Since the Autumn Nations Series of 2022, I’ve had my eyes on the effervescent winger.

He was one of the stars on-field when the pre-Jones Wallabies pushed Ireland to the brink on Jack Crowley’s first international start. Nawaqanitawase notched two tries versus Wales the following week in the game that brought Warren Gatland back to the land of dragons – no surprise when we see that he’s scored 21 tries for the Waratahs in 40 odd games.

Australia have certainly had their issues over the past four years but having been drawn on the much easier side of the competition, I’d be fairly confident that Jones will get his new charges, the youngest team at RWC 2023, to a semi-final.

That will give Nawaqanitawase a solid seven games to rack up the required tries. Why seven? Well, the 3rd/4th playoff of course!

The game no one wants to be in seems to have been forgotten by some bookmakers but not here.

A couple of things to watch out for in the try-scorer market are thus: Deep run of games, giving as many chances to score as possible and also consistency of selection. Take New Zealand for example – Clarke, Telea, Narawa and Fainga’anuku will all be rotating for different games whereas, for the Wallabies, it appears to me that Koroibete will be the man to take a veterans day off.

Same logic would apply to Lowe versus Hansen, Will Jordan versus the wings and Penaud versus Villiere. Which leads me nicely into my final pick.

Mark Nawaqanitawase Top Tournament Tryscorer

Top Irish Try Scorer – Mack Hansen

Although he’s been left out of the starting line-up for the Romania game, I won’t count Hansen out of the race here – he’s been on flying form for Ireland in recent months with a very nice try-scoring record – looks busy at all times and puts himself in position for plenty of scores. He should play against Tonga now and all other games Ireland play, including Scotland, South Africa and hopefully onwards to the final.

Mack Hansen Top Ireland Tryscorer

*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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