It’s one of the most even Rugby World Cup betting markets in recent history, with no team putting its hand up.
Host nation France is 2-0 after beating the New Zealand All Blacks in their opening game, but they were less than impressive against Uruguay on Thursday.
France is still the tournament favorite over South Africa and New Zealand, but it’s wide open.
South Africa Passes Tough Test
The sportsbook had South Africa heavily favored to win its opener against Scotland, and the 18-3 result was a tidy effort.
The defending World Cup champions looked good on defense against a moderate Scottish outfit, but it wasn’t the most amazing performance.
The latest Rugby World Cup news reported Malcolm Marx picking up a serious knee injury. His exclusion from the tournament is big, but coach Jacques Nienaber is staying positive.
“We have enough cover at hooker with Bongi (Mbonambi) and Deon (Fourie) in the squad, while Marco (van Staden) has also been training there and has been named on all our team sheets so far as a hooker option,” Nienaber said.
If the Springboks want to justify their favoritism tag, they’ll need to play better over the coming weeks.
Mr Mbonambi sithembe wena mfondin https://t.co/UN5UNj8zlg
— Biscuit Oliva (@Lloydbhudda) September 14, 2023
All Blacks Needing Boost
Playing France in the first game of the tournament was never going to be easy, but an error-riddled All Blacks squad didn’t look good.
Entering the tournament as favorites with Rugby World Cup lines, New Zealand needed to put in a good showing, and even if they lost narrowly, lines wouldn’t have moved that much.
However, despite being ahead just after halftime, the All Blacks gave away endless penalties, which allowed France to kick their way to a win.
There are doubts about the quality of this team, and despite New Zealand being three-time World Cup champions, the current crop of players and their coach have come under the microscope.
Making the finals shouldn’t be too hard as they have easy games to come, but the early signs are concerning.
Ill discipline has always been a bugbear of the All Blacks, and if it continues, they won’t have enough firepower to beat the likes of France, Ireland, and South Africa.
Favorites Doing Enough
France is doing enough to hold onto favoritism after an average showing against minnows Uruguay.
They were expected to hammer Uruguay according to betting online markets, but the 27-12 result left little to be desired. The 15-point margin made France look good, as Uruguay could have trimmed the lead to one point with only 10 minutes remaining.
They rested many of their top players, but even the second team should have put away Uruguay by a big margin.
“There’s a lot of frustration. We would have liked to put in a better performance,” France lock Cameron Woki commented after the game, describing the high number of penalties conceded as “unacceptable.” “I think we were a bit relaxed with the opponents in mind,” he added. “We have to switch that.”
France’s next game comes against Namibia, who face the All Blacks on Friday. It should be an easy victory for the host nation, so bettors should expect a massive sports betting line.
As it stands, France hasn’t looked like tournament favorites. New Zealand helped them out with penalties, so we’re yet to see France at their best.
However, it’s a long tournament, and teams don’t want to peak too early.