Introduction to Rugby Betting

According to sports historians Rugby originated in the United Kingdom in between the 1800s to 1850. This is when the official rules of the sport came about. However, games were played in various places around the world a long time before these rules of Rugby became official. These games were very close to the modern game of Rugby.

Historians claim that in boarding schools across England, Rugby was quite popular. The guidelines for the sport of Rugby were eventually codified when one of the oldest boarding schools in England called the Rugby school, took the initiative to do so.

Ever since then Rugby started to become a fascinating and professional sport that has grown rapidly in popularity. Betting on Rugby also started growing in tandem with the increasing popularity of of Rugby.

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Rugby: The Hard But Fair Sport

Most of us who are unfamiliar with Rugby see it as a chaotic and violent sport with 2 teams challenging the ball in the most physical way as possible with lots of pushing and pulling involved. It may seem like Rugby is a sport where anything goes but this could not be farther from the truth.

In fact there are clear rules in rugby to ensure that the game runs smoothly.

There are typically 13 or 15 players in a rugby team. The number of players depends on which variant of rugby is being played. There are two variants of rugby, rugby league and rugby union.

In Rugby, both teams have their own halves. The goal of both teams is to advance into the opposition half and finally try to score. Possession of the ball is the main aim of rugby in order to score. A player can gain ground for his team while he is running with the ball while being chased by the opposition players who try to tackle him.

There are two ways for a team to progress the ball in Rugby. One way is to kick the ball forward and the other way is to pass the ball backwards to a team mate who attempts to progress the ball by running forwards.

The team that does not have possession of the ball must be careful while tacking the a player in the opposing team that has possession of the ball. Just like in Association Football, rugby has clear rules to do so and violations of the rules can lead to fouls and penalties. Rugby referees do not let offences slide easily. Although it may not to look like it, Rugby is a sport where both teams have respect for each other and for the rules of Rugby.

When a rugby player is in possession of the ball he has one clear goal on his mind- getting the ball to the two posts at the end of the field. A player in possession can do this in the following ways:

  • Try: A try is a method of scoring in rugby where the player scores points for his team by running past 2 the two posts and putting the ball to the ground. Scoring using this method fetches the team 5 points. When a team does this successfully the get a chance at a conversion.
  • Conversion: After scoring with a try the team that scored gets a chance to score more points by kicking the rugby ball past the two posts. This is called a conversion. A successful conversion gets the team 2 points.
  • Drop goal: With this method a rugby player can score points for his team by kicking the ball past the 2 posts instead of going for a try. In Rugby a drop goal is worth 3 points.
  • Penalty: A penalty in rugby is executed like a conversion and is worth is also worth 3 points.

A rugby match lasts for a total of 80 minutes. The match is split into 2 halves of 40 minutes of each. During that period scores reach quite high numbers. Sometimes it can be common for teams to have scores of 19-7 for instance.

The Difference Between Rugby League and Rugby Union

When you are betting on rugby you might be met with a seemingly difficult choice, that choice being whether you should bet on Rugby League or Rugby Union.

These two variants of rugby are playing with different rules and thus can influence your choice when you are betting on rugby. The two games don’t vary by a great extent but they vary enough to affect your rugby betting strategy.

The differences between Rugby Union and Rugby Union have existed for quite a long time. The rules of Rugby have been in existence since 1871. English clubs started the Rugby Football Union based on these rules. This marked the beginning of Rugby as a professional sport, until then it was an amateur sport.

This opened up an avenue for poorer players from Northern England to earn a living from the sport. The exodus of these players led to the creation of Rugby league in the north in 1895.In the present day although both leagues have gone professional they operate with different rules of Rugby.

The major differences in rules between Rugby League and Rugby Union

Rugby UnionRugby League
Rugby Union is played with 15 players on the field per team.Rugby League is played with 13 players on the field per team
A maximum of 7 substitutes are allowed in Rugby UnionA maximum of 10 substitutes are allowed in Rugby League
There is no limit on how many times players are allowed to tackle opposition playersA player can tackle opposition players for a limited number of times during a game of Rugby League
A try is worth 5 points in Rugby UnionA try is worth 4 points in Rugby League
A drop goal is worth 3 points Rugby UnionA drop goal is only worth 1 point in Rugby League
A conversion is worth 2 points in Rugby UnionA conversion is worth 2 points in Rugby League

Popular Rugby Tournaments for Rugby Betting

Rugby Union is the more popular sport in many countries instead of Rugby League even though the countries where Rugby is popular like England, New Zealand and Australia also have matches in Rugby league.

Most bookmakers let you bet on both Rugby League and Rugby betting tournaments and matches.

Popular International Rugby Tournaments

Rugby originated in England and spread in popularity amongst what are called the “Home Nations”. The Home Nations consisted on England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Eventually rugby spread to other commonwealth countries like South Africa and Australia.

To this day Rugby is predominantly popular in these countries. But there are two countries outside the commonwealth where Rugby is very popular, France and Argentina.

With that in mind here are two major international Rugby tournaments that are perfect for betting on Rugby.

Six Nations Championship

The six nations Championship is one of the oldest Rugby tournaments in the world. The six nations is played every year and consists of the following countries:

  • England
  • France
  • Italy
  • Scotland
  • Ireland
  • Wales

The six nations started off as the Home Nations Championship and was played amongst England,Scotland,Ireland and Wales from 1883 to 1909. From 1910 France joined these four nations and the tournamen was called the five nations championship until 1999.

In 2000 Italy joined this tournament and it came to be known as the 6 nations tournament. England is the most sucessful team with 7 titles sicne 2000 and France and Wales are the 2nd most successful teams are with 5 titles each although France’s last title came in 2010. In recent times Ireland has been quite successful.

If you are considering betting on the 6 nations you should consider betting on Ireland because they won 3 of their 4 titles from 2014 to 2018.

Italy and Scotland are yet to win a 6 nations championship since 2000.

Rugby World Cup

The Rugby World Cup was first played in 1987 and consisted of 16 teams until the tournament was expanded to 20 teams in the 4th edition of the tournament in 1999.

South Africa and New Zealand are the most sucessful teams with 3 titles each.

Australia is the 3rd most sucessful teams with 2 championships that they won in the 90s.

England has won only 1 champuonship and were runner ups 3 times.

The last Rugby World Cup Final was played in 2019 in Japan between South Africa and England, with South Africa winning the tournament.

The growth of Rugby on an international level

Rugby has been growing from strength to strength on an international level. Below we have graphically represneted the average attendeces per match and the total attendence per tournament.

Attendances dropped in the 2019 edition of the rugby world cup which took place in Japan. This was due to the fact that several matches had to be cancelled due Typhoon Hagibis.

Attendences were low in the 2011 edition that was held in New Zealand because the stadiums had lower capacity compared to other editions of the Rugby World Cup.

In spite of this fact it is said to have been the largest sporting event to be held in New Zealand beating out the 1987 Ruby World Cup which New Zealand co-hosted with Australia, the 1990 Commonwealth games and the 1992 Cricket World Cup.

Total Attendance in Every World Cup
Average Attendance in Every World Cup

Popular Rugby Tournaments in England

Rugby fans in England follow and bet on the Gallagher Premiership and the RFU Championship. Both these tournaments play Rugby Union. Gallagher Premiership is the top league and consists of 12 clubs. The club that finishes at the bottom of the league season in the premiership is relegated to the RFU Championship.

Leicester Tigers are the most successful club in the premiership with 10 titles. The Tigers have been witnessing a title drought with their last title coming nearly 8 years ago in 2013. London Based club,Saracens are the 3rd most successful club and all of their five titles were won between 2010 and 2019. Exeter Chiefs are the latest champions after winning the 2019-20 season.

Pro14 Rugby Tournament: The league that consists of teams from 4 countries

Pro14 is the next popular Rugby tournament in Europe and consists of a total of 12 clubs from the following countries:

  • Ireland
  • Wales
  • Scotland
  • Italy
  • South Africa

Pro14 is one of the three major professional rugby leagues in Europe.

Leinster Rugby, a club from Dublin Ireland is the most successful Rugby team in this tournament,

Popular Rugby tournaments in France

Apart from countries within the British Isles and the commonwealth countries, Rugby is very popular in France. In fact, France is the only nation in the 6 nations.

The major rugby league and tournament in France is the Top 14. Top 14 started in 1892 and consists of the top 14 rugby union clubs in France. Along with the Gallagher premiership and Pro14, Top14 is the 3rd major rugby league in Europe and you should definitely consider betting on it as part of your rugby betting strategy.

European Rugby Champions Cup

European Rugby Champions Cup is the largest and most prestigious club Rugby tournament in Europe.

24 Of the best European clubs participate in the European Rugby Champions Cup. Toulouse and Leinster have are the most successful clubs having won 4 titles each.

Popular bets in rugby betting

Rugby betting is quite similar to football betting. Broadly speaking there are 4 different types of rugby bets:

1×2 Bets in Rugby

Just like most other sports like football, you have the option of placing 1×2 bets in Rugby. These are also called match bets. In 1×2 rugby betting you basically bet on the outcome of a match.

There can be three outcomes:

Outcome 1 your team wins

Outcome 2 your team loses

Outcome 3 (represented as x, in 1×2 betting) Draw

Draws are a lot rarer in Rugby than other sports like Football so keep that in mind when you are betting on Rugby.

Draw No Bet in Rugby Betting

The draw no bet is a type of bet in Rugby Betting which is sort of like an insurance bet against a draw. If your team wins you win the bet. If your team loses you lose the bet. If the match ends in a draw, you get a refund on your bet. Keep in mind that this reduces the odds of your bet.

Handicap Betting in Rugby

Handicap betting is also known as spread betting. In handicap betting in Rugby, one of the team gets a hypothetical advantage or disadvantage in terms of points.

Here is an example of a handicap bet in Rugby:

Let’s say there is an rugby game between England and Italy in the 6 nations championship. England start off as favorites to win the match with 9 point advantage.

If you bet on a handicap of +9 points for Italy, Italy will start the game with a 9 point advantage. If Italy wins or loses the game with less than 9 points you win the bet, if England wins the game with 10 or more points you lose the bet.

Tips for betting on rugby

There are a few countries and teams that rule the rugby world. The chance that the underdog will be able to beat one of the big teams is therefore small.

The differences between the top teams are quite small. As a result, matches between clubs like Exeter Chiefs and Saracens are always exciting. When betting on rugby it is of course important that you get to know the teams and the players.

In addition, weather conditions can have a major influence on the match. Rugby is an outdoor sport and a wet, muddy surface gives a different match than when the sun is high in the sky.

Finally, make sure you read up on the rules of the league you are betting on. There are many minor differences and a misunderstanding of the rules could mean that you lose the bet.

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