The Rugby World Cup is a quadrennial competition featuring 20 qualifying men’s teams.
The winning team receives the Webb Ellis Cup, named after William Webb Ellis, who – according to rugby legend – invented the game in 1823 while a pupil at Rugby School when he ‘picked up the ball and ran with it’.
The 2019 Rugby Union World Cup, hosted by Japan between September 20 and November 2, will be the ninth edition of the tournament. It will also be the first to take place in Asia. The 20 competing teams are divided into four pools. They will play a round-robin format to decide the top two teams in each pool who will then progress to the knockout stages.
The pools are available on the Rugby World Cup website
New Zealand are favorites to win the 2019 tournament. They are the most successful nation in the tournament, winning three of the nine editions to date – including the last two in 2015 and 2011.
Australia and South Africa have each won two titles, while England are the only side from the northern hemisphere nations to lift the cup, in 2003.
Coming into the 2019 tournament, however, Wales, Ireland, and England occupy second, third and fourth places in World Rugby rankings and are likely to be short-priced by bookmakers. Australia, South Africa, and Argentina should also be in the mix, while France and Scotland were outliers in the early running.
Fiji, Japan, Georgia, Tonga, Samoa, Italy, United States, Canada, Uruguay, Russia, and Namibia realistically have no chance of winning the 2019 Rugby Union World Cup, but may provide the odd scare or upset – Japan beat South Africa in dramatic circumstances in 2015, for example – and could offer some in-play interest.
Punters may be tempted to put on an early bid on one of the favorites to take advantage of early prices. Otherwise, it is advisable to be aware of shifting prices in the run-up to the tournament by regularly checking in with various betting sites.