The Rugby World Cup is down to the quarterfinal stage and there are some massive games this weekend.
The biggest is Ireland versus New Zealand, and it’s Ireland favored at the sportsbook to progress to its first Rugby World Cup semifinal, but underrate the All Blacks at your peril.
Of the other three quarters, France-South Africa is the one everyone needs to watch, and it’s a shame the four best teams in the world meet in the quarters, but World Rugby never has its head screwed on straight.
A Rare All Black Underdog
We can’t remember the last time the All Blacks were underdogs in a Rugby World Cup, let alone in a quarterfinal.
Their Rugby World Cup odds are +125, which is a juicy price for a three-time RWC-winning team.
We have to give it to the Irish; they have played well, and they’re ranking number one in the world. However, they have never progressed past the quarterfinals, and that’s worrisome for bettors.
Boasting a team with more internationally-born players than any other team in the tournament, Ireland has been strong in beating the likes of South Africa in pool play.
It’s a confident team, and it has beaten the All Blacks in five of its last eight games. That’s a positive for the Irish, but the All Blacks win when it counts.
Most of those losses to Ireland came in exhibition matches, and not in World Cups. That’s the difference between Ireland and New Zealand, so it makes for an intriguing contest.
Despite their respective form, we expected betting online markets to have New Zealand favored to win, so there is good value with the Kiwis.
France and South Africa Clash
Because World Rugby is a joke of an organization, it took rankings from four years ago to determine the seedings for the 2023 World Cup.
Does it make sense? No. And now we’re left with France playing South Africa in the quarterfinals, which should be a semifinal.
The real winners are the likes of Argentina, Fiji, England and Wales, which are average teams at best, but have a better-than-they-should chance to make the semifinals.
However, we’re looking forward to France-South Africa, as the host nation looks to take down the 2019 Rugby World Cup champion.
Rugby World Cup lines are finding it tough to split them, and so are we. France have played well throughout the tournament, especially when beating New Zealand in the opening game.
South Africa lost to Ireland in a tight battle, but having World Cup-winning experience on their side is a massive bonus.
Springbok’s hooker Bongi Mbonambi knows it’ll be a tough atmosphere in Paris.
“We know the atmosphere is going to be massive and we’ve tried to simulate it in our training this week, so that when it comes to the match it won’t shock us,” Mbonambi told the media.
“We know it’s a sold-out game and we know that the France fans are going to start singing, and everything like that. We’re going to have to embrace it and then try to focus on our game plan.”
England Best of the Rest
It has been a tough few years for England, but because of the draw, they should get a saloon passage into the semis.
They face Fiji in the third quarterfinal of the weekend, and considering Fiji lost to minnows Portugal last week, it shouldn’t be a tough assignment.
Fiji are a physical team, which got the better of a hapless Australia in pool play, but based on its experience having won a Rugby World Cup, England should be too good.
It’s a short-priced favorite to win, and the current points spread line is 8½.
In the other quarterfinal, Argentina plays Wales. Both teams have struggled for most of 2023, but Wales have been given the edge with the sportsbook.
The winners will play with Ireland or the All Blacks, so they should enjoy the spoils while they can.
Which Rugby World Cup teams are currently favored according to the betting odds?
The current Rugby World Cup favorites are Ireland and France at +300.
What insights and updates can avid rugby betting enthusiasts find in the latest Rugby World Cup?
It pays to follow teams with a rich history of winning in the Rugby World Cup, including New Zealand and South Africa.