Rugby World Cup Betting Guide

With the Rugby World Cup getting underway in Japan on September 20th, we preview the finals and nominate out best bets.

Rugby fans around the world will be glued to their screens for the next six weeks once the 2019 Rugby World Cup gets underway in Japan on September 20th.

A total of 20 nations will battle it out for the right to play for rugby’s biggest crown in Yokohama on November 2nd, including the No.1 side in the world, Ireland. The men in green face some familiar faces in Scotland for their opener in Pool A, before a high-octane encounter with the hosts, Japan. Pool A is also our starting point for all the punting facts and figures covering each of the 20 nations.

POOL A

IRELAND

Ranking: 1
Tournament odds: 10-1
Star player: Johnny Sexton

Group fixtures (five-year head-to-head):
22 Sep: Scotland (lead 5-1)
28 Sep: Japan (lead 2-0)
03 Oct: Russia (N/A)
12 Oct: Samoa (N/A)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Quarter-final
2011: Quarter-final
2007: Pool stage
2003: Quarter-final
1999: Quarter-final

Best World Cup finish:
Quarter-final

2019 Form: Won 6 out of 9 games (67%)
Sep: Ireland 19 Wales 10 (Tries: Kearney, Furlong, Ryan)
Aug: Wales 17 Ireland 22 (Lane, Patchell)
Aug: England 57 Ireland 15 (Larmour, Aki)
Aug: Ire 29 Italy 10 (Carbery, Kearney, Conway, Murphy, Marmion)
Mar: Wales 25 Ireland 7 (Larmour)
Mar: Ireland 26 France 14 (Best 2, Sexton, Conan, Earls)
Feb: Italy 16 Ireland 26 (Roux, Stockdale, Earls, Murray)
Feb: Scotland 13 Ireland 22 (Murray, Stockdale, Earls)
Feb: Ireland 20 England 32 (May, Daly, Slade 2)

2019 Trends:
Away: Won 3 out of 5 games (60%)
Home: Won 3 out of 4 games (75%)
First half: Won 5 Lost 4 (55%)
Second half: Won 4 Lost 5 (45%)

Verdict: Despite losing their Six Nations crown to Wales back in March, Ireland come into the World Cup as the No.1 ranked team in the world. Two recent back-to-back wins against Wales pushed Joe Schmidt’s strong counter-attacking side back up the rankings, and they hold fair prospects thanks to a pool that avoids the big boys.

Their first four pool games should also give Ireland time to put things right, including a suspect defence that were battered by England last month. Johnny Sexton was missing then, but will be back to assist, and they’ll need him if wanting to get past the quarter-final stages for the first time – either New Zealand (defending champions) or South Africa (unbeaten in 2019) await in the last eight.

SCOTLAND

Ranking: 7
Tournament odds: 80-1
Star player: Stuart Hogg

Group fixtures (five-year head-to-head):
22 Sep: Ireland (trail 1-5)
30 Sep: Samoa (lead 2-0)
09 Oct: Russia (N/A)
13 Oct: Japan (lead 3-0)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Quarter-final
2011: Pool stage
2007: Quarter-final
2003: Quarter-final
1999: Quarter-final

Best World Cup finish:
Semi-final (1991)

Form (last 12 months): Won 4 out of 9 games (44%)
Sep: Scot 36 Georgia 9 (Tries: Price,Kinghorn,Johnson,Graham,Horne)
Aug: Georgia 10 Scotland 44 (Cummings, Graham, Hutchinson 2, Toolis)
Aug: Scotland 17 France 14 (Harris, Maitland)
Aug: France 32 Scotland 3
Mar: Eng 38 Scot 38 (McInally, Graham 2, Bradbury, Russell, Johnson)
Mar: Scotland 11 Wales 18 (Graham)
Feb: France 27 Scotland 10 (Price)
Feb: Scotland 13 Ireland 22 (Johnson)
Feb: Scotland 33 Italy 20 (Kinghorn 3, Hogg, Harris

Trends:
Home: Won 3 from 5 (60%)
Away: Won 1 from 4 (25%)
First half: Won 3 Lost 6 (33%)
Second half: Won 7 Lost 2 (78%)

Verdict: While Scotland remain inconsistent, there are plenty of positives ahead of Japan. One big plus is the influential, Stuart Hogg, a dual Six Nations Player of the Tournament, whose experience will prove vital for helping young guns such as Darcy Graham, one of the highest try scorers this year who could set the tournament alight.

Another positive is the record of Gregor Townsend’s men in the second half where they increasingly run teams down – something in-play punters may want to note. Indeed, Scotland remain unbeaten during the second period in their last six outings, and if Townsend can improve their first half performances, they should make the knockouts.

JAPAN

Ranking: 10
Tournament odds: 250-1
Star player: Michael Leitch

Group fixtures (five-year head-to-head):
20 Sep: Russia (lead 1-0)
28 Sep: Ireland (trail 0-2)
05 Oct: Samoa (lead 1-0)
13 Oct: Scotland (trail 0-3)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Pool stage
2011: Pool stage
2007: Pool stage
2003: Pool stage
1999: Pool stage

Best World Cup finish:
Pool stage

Form (last 12 months): Won 4 out of 7 games (57%)
Sep: Japan 7 South Africa 41 (Tries: Matsushima)
Aug: Japan 34 USA 20 (Fukuoka, Leitch 2, Yamanaka)
Aug: Japan 41 Tonga 7 (Fukuoka, Lafaele, Mafi, Matsushima, Valu)
Jul: Japan 34 Fiji 21 (Fukuoka, Himeno, Lafaele, Matsushima 2)
Nov: Russia 27 Japan 32 (Fukuoka, Leitch 2, Tui)
Nov: England 35 Japan 15 (Nakamura, Leitch)
Nov: Japan 31 New Zealand 69 (Tui, Lafaele 2, Henry)

Trends:
Away: 1 win from 2 (50%)
Home: 3 wins from 5 (60%)
First half: Won 4 Lost 3 (57%)
Second half: Won 3 Lost 4 (43%)

Verdict: The hosts are an improving side under coach Jamie Joseph, whose target is for them to reach the quarter-finals, at least. The Brave Blossoms won the recent Pacific Nations Cup where they went undefeated against Fiji, Tonga and the USA, and are a very fit side with no injuries – in other words, their preparation has been perfect, including captain, Michael Leitch’s wellbeing.

Considering they finished only two points behind Scotland when third in the 2015 World Cup pool, they are entitled to go closer on home soil – hosting a tournament should never be underestimated, and here is a team that during the past 10 years beat both South Africa and Wales, while drawing with France.

RUSSIA

Ranking: 20
Tournament odds: 5000-1
Star player: Vasily Artemyev

Group fixtures (10-year head-to-head):
20 Sep: Japan (trail 0-3)
24 Sep: Samoa (N/A)
03 Oct: Ireland (trail 0-1)
09 Oct: Scotland (N/A)

World Cup finishes:
2015: NQ
2011: Pool stage
2007: NQ
2003: Banned
1999: NQ

Best World Cup finish:
Pool stage (2011)

2019 Form: Won 2 out of 8 games (25%)
Aug: Italy 85 Russia 15 (Tries: Fedotko, Golosnitsky)
Jun: Namibia 0 Russia 20 (Gadzhiev, Gresev)
Jun: Uruguay 48 Russia 26 (Golosnitsky, Matveev 3)
Mar: Russia 6 Georgia 22 (Tries Malaguradze, Tsutskeridze)
Mar: Romania 22 Russia 20 (Artemyev, Gadzhiev, Sel'skiy, Vavilin)
Mar: Germany 18 Russia 26 (Davydov, Gadzhiev, Matveev, Sychev)
Feb: Russia 64 Belgium 7 (Artemyev, Davydov 2, Gadzhiev, Gerasimov 2, Kononov, Ostrushko, Polivalov, Vavilin)
Feb: Spain 16 Russia 14 (Ostrushko 2)

Trends:
Home: 1 win from 2 (50%)
Away: 1 win from 6 (17%)
First half: Won 4 Lost 4 (50%)
Second half: Won 3 Lost 5 (37%)

The Bears are appearing in only their second World Cup, having lost all their pool matches during the 2011 renewal. There are a handful of survivors from eight years ago, but they only qualified for Japan after several countries were penalised for using ineligible players.

Kept mainly to playing against lower-ranked countries in the European Championship, they were exposed to stiffer opposition in Italy for a recent warm-up and were smashed 85-15 – providing a pointer to their limitations.

SAMOA

Ranking: 16
Tournament odds: 1000-1
Star player: xx

Group fixtures (10-year head-to-head):
24 Sep: Russia (N/A)
30 Sep: Scotland (trail 1-4)
05 Oct: Japan (level 3-3)
12 Oct: Ireland (trail 0-2)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Pool stage
2011: Pool stage
2007: Pool stage
2003: Pool stage
1999: Quarter final

Best World Cup finish:
Quarter-final (1999, 95, 91)

Form (last 12 months): Won 2 out of 7 games (28%)
Sep: Australia 34 Samoa 15 (Tries: Polataivaia 2)
Aug: Fiji 10 Samoa 3
Aug: Samoa 10 USA 13 (Leiua)
Jul: Samoa 25 Tonga 17 (Amosa, Leiua, Tuatagaloa)
Nov: Spain 10 Samoa 28 (Fidow, Lam 2, Lee-Lo)
Nov: Georgia 27 Samoa 19 (Paulo, Taulagi, Tuala)
Nov: Samoa 29 USA 30 (Fidow, Matavao, Mulipola, Taulagi)

Trends:
Home: Won 1 Lost 2 (33%)
Away: Won 1 Lost 3 (25%)
First half: Won 3 Lost 3 Drew 1 (43%)
Second half: Won 2 Lost 3 Drew 2 (28%)

Having twice made the last eight during the nineties, Samoa are no strangers to causing the odd upset – just ask Wales. While Steve Jackson doesn’t have the same calibre of players available in Japan, he does at least have off-the field distractions from the last decade behind him.

True, Manu Samoa only qualified for Japan via the play-offs against Germany – ranked No.28 in the world – but they didn’t embarrass themselves in a recent warm-up against Australia either. Their clash with Scotland will be one to relish if the last World Cup is anything to go by, as it was a thriller in which they lost narrowly 33-36.

Verdict: Tough to push aside, but fourth place in the pool looks likely.

POOL B

NEW ZEALAND

Ranking: 2
Tournament odds: 6-4
Star player: Ardie Savea

Group fixtures (10-year head-to-head):
21 Sep: South Africa (lead 16-4)
02 Oct: Canada (lead 1-0)
06 Oct: Namibia (lead 1-0)
12 Oct: Italy (lead 4-0)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Winners
2011: Winners
2007: Quarter-final
2003: Semi-final
1999: Semi-final

Best World Cup finish:
Winners (2015, 2011, 1987)

Form (last 12 months): Won 8 out of 11 games (72%)
Sep: New Zealand 92 Tonga 7 (Tries: Reece, Smith 2, Taylor, Bridge 4, Read, Perenara, Crotty 2, Todd, Savea
Aug: New Zea’ 36 Australia 0 (Mo'unga, Smith, Williams, Reece, Bridge)
Aug: Australia 47 NZ 26 (Lienert-Brown, Ioane, BJ Barrett, Laumape)
Jul: New Zealand 16 South Africa 16 (Goodhue)
Jul: Argentina 16 New Zealand 20 (Laumape, Retallick)
Nov: Italy 3 NZ 66 (Perenara,McKenzie 3,J Barrett 4,B Barrett, Laumape)
Nov: Ireland 16 New Zealand 9
Nov: England: 15 New Zealand 16 (McKenzie)
Nov: Japan 31 New Zealand 69 (Coles, Mo'unga, Laumape 3, Tahuriorangi, Bridge 2, Naholo, Proctor)
Oct: Australia 20 NZ 37 (BJ Barrett, Ioane, Read, BR Smith, Squire)
Oct: South Africa 30 NZ 32 (L Smith, Ioane, SK Barrett, Savea)

Trends:
Home: Won 2 Lost 0 Drew 1 (67%)
Away: Won 6 Lost 2 (75%)
First half: Won 7 Lost 4 (63%)
Second half: Won 6 Lost 5 (54%)

Verdict: For most countries, losing 9-16 in Ireland and 26-47 in Australia wouldn’t be a problem, but when the country involved is New Zealand, then questions are asked. The flip side to those two defeats show impressive wins in South Africa, Australia (10 months earlier) and England, while avenging their loss in Australia by thrashing them 36-0 at home last month.

Hardly time to panic, even though they lost their Rugby Championship to South Africa. The defending champions have experience galore and will want to make it three World Cup wins on the trot, even if they remain undecided on their starting line-up having left several distinguished players out the squad – they also have several carrying injuries.

But, the All Blacks have a strong squad to choose from and will be ready for their all-important opener against South Africa – a clash that could point-up the competition’s winner in the same stadium come 2 November.

SOUTH AFRICA

Ranking: 4
Tournament odds: 9-2
Star player: Handre Pollard

Group fixtures (10-year head-to-head):
21 Sep: New Zealand (trail 3-16)
28 Sep: Namibia (lead 1-0)
04 Oct: Italy (lead 6-1)
08 Oct: Canada (N/A)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Semi-final
2011: Quarter-final
2007: Winners
2003: Quarter-final
1999: Semi-final

Best World Cup finish:
Winners (2007, 1995)

Form (last 12 months): Won 6 out of 10 games (60%)
Sep: Japan 7 South Africa 41 (Tries: Jantjies, Kolbe 2, Mapimpi 3)
Aug: South Africa 24 Argentina 18 (Nkosi 2)
Aug: Argentina 13 S Africa 46 (Mbonambi, Pollard 2, Mapimpi, Kolbe)
Jul: New Zealand 16 South Africa 16 (Goodhue)
Jul: South Africa 35 Australia 17 (HJ Jantjies 2, de Jager 2, Reinach)
Nov: Wales 20 South Africa 11 (Kriel)
Nov: Scotland 20 South Africa 26 (Kriel, Pollard)
Nov: France 26 South Africa 29 (Nkosi, Mbonambi)
Nov: England 12 South Africa 11 (Nkosi)
Oct: South Africa 30 New Zealand 32 (Kriel, de Allende, Kolbe)

Trends:
Home: Won 2 Lost 1 (67%)
Away: Won 4 Lost 2 Drew 1 (57%)
First half: Won 7 Lost 3 (70%)
Second half: Won 9 Lost 1 (90%)

Verdict: Having won the World Cup twice, South Africa know what’s required to lift the famous trophy, and their form in 2019 suggests they could be in line for a third. Coach and former player, Rassie Erasmus took the reins since last year and under him the Springboks have become less predictable – an approach that saw them take the 2019 Rugby Championship, despite playing two of their three matches away from home.

Erasmus’ men also showed a fighting spirit during their current unbeaten year, producing some excellent second half displays, and if omens are anything to go by, then it’s interesting to note that the Springboks were also unbeaten in the year leading up to their 1995 success.

ITALY

Ranking: 14
Tournament odds: 1500-1
Star player: Sergio Parisse

Group fixtures (10-year head-to-head):
22 Sep: Namibia (N/A)
26 Sep: Canada (lead 3-0)
04 Oct: South Africa (trail 1-6)
12 Oct: New Zealand (trail 0-4)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Pool stage
2011: Pool stage
2007: Pool stage
2003: Pool stage
1999: Pool stage

Best World Cup finish:
Pool stage

2019 Form: Won 1 out of 9 games (11%)
Sep: England 37 Italy 0
Aug: France 47 Italy 19 (Tries: Bellini 2, Polledri)
Aug: Italy 85 Russia 15 (Allan, Bellini 2, Minozzi 3, Canna, Ferrari, Hayward, Morisi, Padovani 2, Parisse)
Aug: Ireland 29 Italy 10 (Mbanda, Canna)
Mar: Italy 14 France 25 (Tebaldi)
Mar: England 57 Italy 14 (Allan, Morisi)
Feb: Italy 16 Ireland 26 (Padovani, Morisi)
Feb: Italy 15 Wales 26 (Steyn, Padovani)
Feb: Scotland 33 Italy 20 (Palazzani, Padovani, Esposito)

Trends:
Home: Won 1 Lost 3 (25%)
Away: Won 0 Lost 5 (0%)
First half: Won 2 Lost 7 (22%)
Second half: Won 0 Lost 9 (0%)

Verdict: With a record of just one victory from nine outings this year, it’s hard to see Italy doing anything special in Japan. They have yet to reach the knockouts and face an almighty task in changing that with two giants of the game, New Zealand and South Africa, in their pool. As they won’t face the aforementioned pair until the last two games, they’ll be fresh enough to win their first two matches, with Sergio Parisse leading them into his fifth World Cup.

NAMIBIA

Ranking: 23
Tournament odds: 7500-1
Star player: Johan Corne Greyling

Group fixtures (10-year head-to-head):
22 Sep: Italy (N/A)
28 Sep: South Africa (trail 0-1)
06 Oct: New Zealand (trail 0-1)
13 Oct: Canada (trail 0-1)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Pool stage
2011: Pool stage
2007: Pool stage
2003: Pool stage
1999: Pool stage

Best World Cup finish:
Pool stage

Form (last 12 months): Won 2 out of 5 games (40%)
Jun: Namibia 0 Russia 20
Jun: Uruguay 28 Namibia 30 (Tries: Greyling, Venter 2)
Nov: Portugal 23 Namibia 29 (Forbes, Greyling, Nortje, Tromp)
Nov: Spain 34 Namibia 13 (Stevens)
Nov: Russia 47 Namibia 20 (de la Harpe, Kisting)

Trends:
Home: 0 win from 1 (0%)
Away: 2 wins from 4 (50%)
First half: Won 1 Lost 3 Drew 1 (20%)
Second half: Won 1 Lost 4 (20%)

Verdict: While Namibia did well to win the Africa Gold Cup once more, they could be out of their depth in this pool. The Welwitschias have never beaten any of their four rivals awaiting in Japan, though their main goal will be to simply win a game at the World Cup after 19 unsuccessful attempts.

Experience comes via Eugene Jantjies, who boasts plenty of World Cup form, and he’ll be hoping their encounter with Canada can give them that illusive first win in the competition.

CANADA

Ranking: 22
Tournament odds: 5000-1
Star player: D. T. H. van der Merwe

Group fixtures (10-year head-to-head):
26 Sep: Italy (trail 0-3)
02 Oct: New Zealand (trail 0-1)
08 Oct: South Africa (N/A)
13 Oct: Namibia (lead 1-0)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Pool stage
2011: Pool stage
2007: Pool stage
2003: Pool stage
1999: Pool stage

Best World Cup finish:
Pool stage

2019 Form: Won 1 out of 8 games (12%)
Sep: Canada 15 USA 20 (Tries: McRorie, Nelson)
Aug: Canada 23 Tonga 33 (Hassler 2, Parfrey, van der Merwe)
Aug: Fiji 38 Canada 13 (Lloyd)
Jul: USA 47 Canada 19 (Ardron, Trainor)
Mar: USA 30 Canada 25 (Blevins, Campbell 2)
Feb: Canada 56 Chile 0 (Baillie, Coe 2, Lloyd 3, Parfrey)
Feb: Brazil 18 Canada 10 (Hearn)
Feb: Uruguay 20 Canada 17 (Hearn, Mackenzie, Sauder)

Trends:
Home: Won 1 Lost 2 (33%)
Away: Won 0 Lost 5 (0%)
First half: Won 2 Lost 6 (25%)
Second half: Won 2 Lost 5 Drew 1 (25%)

Verdict: Kingsley Jones has done a good job in rebuilding Canada over the last two years and will want to cap the hard work with a victory – or maybe two. The Maple Leafs haven’t been in the best form since qualifying for Japan, winning just one of nine in 2019, but they still boast the likes of winger, D. T. H. van der Merwe, who enjoyed an excellent World Cup four years ago.

Jones’ men are likely to find themselves in their own mini-group with Italy and Namibia for third place, but need improvement on this year’s form if winning that contest.

POOL C

ENGLAND

Ranking: 3
Tournament odds: 9-2
Star player: Owen Farrell

Group fixtures (10-year head-to-head):
22 Sep: Tonga (N/A)
26 Sep: USA (N/A)
05 Oct: Argentina (lead 9-0)
12 Oct: France (lead 8-5)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Pool stage
2011: Quarter-final
2007: Runners-up
2003: Winners
1999: Quarter-final

Best World Cup finish:
Winners (2003)

2019 Form: Won 6 out of 9 games (67%)
Sep: England 37 Italy 0 (Tries: Youngs, Marchant, Genge, Watson)
Aug: England 57 Ireland 15 (Cokanasiga 2, Daly, Tuilagi, Itoje, Kruis, Curry, Cowan-Dickie
Aug: Wales 13 England 6
Aug: England 33 Wales 19 (Vunipola, Cokanasiga, Cowan-Dickie)
Mar: England 38 Scotland 38 (Nowell, Curry, Launchbury, May, Ford)
Mar: Eng’ 57 Italy 14 (George, May, Tuilagi 2, Shields 2, Kruis, Robson)
Feb: Wales 21 England 13 (Curry)
Feb: England 44 France 8 (May 3, Slade, Farrell)
Feb: Ireland 20 England 32 (May, Daly, Slade 2)

Trends:
Home: Won 5 Drew 1 Lost 0 (83%)
Away: Won 1 Lost 2 (33%)
First half: Won 8 Lost 1 (89%)
Second half: Won 6 Lost 2 Drew 1 (67%)

Verdict: Currently joint-second in the betting to win a second World Cup, England arrive in Japan with a big reputation following a run of good form. Eddie Jones’ attacking side will prove tough opponents, especially with captain, Owen Farrell, leading from the front. But, there are a few cracks. First, they buckled under pressure when hosting the last World Cup four years ago, since when their record at home improved to 19 wins from 22 games.

However, away from home their record dropped to just 6 wins in 13 outings, suggesting they aren’t as dominate away from Twickenham. Jones will also have to restore discipline into his side, as they gave away numerous penalties of late, something they can’t afford against New Zealand or South Africa later in the tournament – assuming of course that England qualify from the pool, where both France and Argentina provide stern tests.

FRANCE

Ranking: 8
Tournament odds: 33-1
Star player: Antoine Dupont

Group fixtures (10-year head-to-head):
21 Sep: Argentina (lead 5-4)
02 Oct: USA (N/A)
06 Oct: Tonga (level 1-1)
12 Oct: England (trail 5-8)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Quarter-final
2011: Runners-up
2007: Semi-final
2003: Semi-final
1999: Runners-up

Best World Cup finish:
Runners-up (2011, 1999, 1987)

2019 Form: Won 4 out of 8 games (50%)
Aug: France 47 Italy 19(Tries: Chat,Dupont,Huget,Iturria,Lauret, Ramos)
Aug: Scotland 17 France 14 (Penaud 2)
Aug: France 32 Scotland 3 (Raka, Medard 3, Dupont)
Mar: Italy 14 France 25 (Dupont, Huget, Penaud)
Mar: Ireland 26 France 14 (Best, Sexton, Conan, Earls)
Feb: France 27 Scotland 10 (Ntamack, Huget 3)
Feb: England 44 France 8 (Penaud)
Feb: France 19 Wales 24 (Picamoles, Huget)

Trends:
Home: Won 3 Lost 1 (75%)
Away: Won 1 Lost 3 (25%)
First half: Won 6 Lost 2 (75%)
Second half: Won 5 Lost 3 (62%)

Verdict: Like England, France relied on their form at home in recent years, and may simply not be as strong in Japan. Indeed, Les Bleus’ record in France is 9 wins and 8 losses, which at least saw them win more than they lost, but away from French soil they triumphed just twice from 15 outings – both in Italy.

It’s a fact that has to be of concern for coach, Jacques Brunel, who’ll also be without former captain, Mathieu Bastareaud, though on a positive note is Antoine Dupont’s recent scoring. Brunel will need Dupont firing on all cylinders if his side are to make it out of a tough pool – their crunch game against Argentina could decide who goes through.

ARGENTINA

Ranking: 11
Tournament odds: 50-1
Star player: Agustin Creevy

Group fixtures: (10-year head-to-head):
21 Sep: France (trail 4-5)
28 Sep: Tonga (lead 1-0)
05 Oct: England (trail 0-9)
09 Oct: USA (N/A)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Semi-final
2011: Quarter-final
2007: Semi-final
2003: Pool stage
1999: Quarter-final

Best World Cup finish:
Semi-final (2015, 2007)

Form (last 12 months): Won 0 out of 8 games (0%)
Aug: South Africa 24 Argentina 18 (Tries: Matera, Petti Pagadizaval)
Aug: Argentina 13 South Africa 46 (Cordero)
Aug: Australia 16 Argentina 10 (Isa)
Aug: Argentina 16 New Zealand 20 (Boffelli)
Nov: Scotland 14 Argentina 9
Nov: France 28 Argentina 13 (Moyano Joya)
Nov: Ireland 28 Argentina 17 (Delguy)
Oct: Arg 34 Australia 45 (Boffelli, Gonzalez Iglesias, Matera, Orlando)

Trends:
Home: Won 0 Lost 3 (0%)
Away: Won 0 Lost 5 (0%)
First half: Won 1 Lost 7 (12%)
Second half: Won 2 Lost 6 (25%)

Verdict: With two semi-finals and a quarter-final from their last three World Cups, Argentina can be considered as lively outsiders at 50-1. True, Los Pumas’ form during the last 12 months hasn’t been great, but bare in mind they’ve been keeping good company with New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.

They have slipped three places when ranked No.8 ahead of the 2015 World Cup, but their domestic rugby has improved and they still boast almost half of the squad that appeared four years ago, including the former captain, Agustin Creevy. Mario Ledesma’s men need to improve their scoring, but rising star, Emiliano Boffelli, may help in that department.

UNITED STATES

Ranking: 13
Tournament odds: 2000-1
Star player: AJ MacGinty

Group fixtures: (10-year head-to-head):
26 Sep: England (N/A)
02 Oct: France (N/A)
09 Oct: Argentina (N/A)
13 Oct: Tonga (trail 0-6)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Pool stage
2011: Pool stage
2007: Pool stage
2003: Pool stage
1999: Pool stage

Best World Cup finish:
Pool stage

2019 Form: Won 6 out of 8 games (75%)
Sep: Canada 15 USA 20 (Tries: Dolan, Fawsitt, Iosefo)
Aug: Japan 34 USA 20 (Germishuys, Hughes)
Aug: Samoa 10 USA 13 (MacGinty)
Jul: USA 47 Canada 19 (d’Haas, Fawsitt, Landry, Moore, Pifeleti, Scully)
Mar: USA 30 Canada 25 (de Haas, Dolan, Taufete'e 2)
Mar: USA 25 Uruguay 32 (Scully, Taufete'e 3)
Feb: USA 33 Brazil 28 (Germishuys, Lasike, Quill, Te'o)
Feb: Chile 8 USA 71 (Civetta, Davies, de Haas, Dolan, Germishuys, Lasike, Leader, MacGinty 3, Taufete'e)

Trends:
Home: Won 3 Lost 1 (75%)
Away: Won 3 Lost 1 (75%)
First half: Won 6 Lost 2 (75%)
Second half: Won 4 Lost 3 Drew 1 (50%)

Verdict: As with a number of countries looking to get past the pool stage for the first time in Japan, the United States qualified with ease, but now take on a different class of rival. The Eagles showed their claws with a recent win at Samoa and have winning momentum on their side, bar a creditable defeat here in Japan last month, but two opening games against England and France and then Argentina is about as tough a draw there is. Coach, Gary Gold still has a strong squad at his disposal, thanks to the sport growing in popularity back home, including the Irish-born AJ MacGinty, whose try in Samoa made the difference.

TONGA

Ranking: 15
Tournament odds: 2000-1
Star player: Sonatane Takulua

Group fixtures: (10-year head-to-head):
22 Sep: England (N/A)
28 Sep: Argentina (trail 0-1)
06 Oct: France (level 1-1)
13 Oct: USA (lead 6-0)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Pool stage
2011: Pool stage
2007: Pool stage
2003: Pool stage
1999: Pool stage

Best World Cup finish:
Pool stage

Form (last 12 months): Won 1 out of 7 games (14%)
Sep: New Zealand 92 Tonga 7 (Tries: Piutau)
Aug: Figi 29 Tonga 19 (Ngauamo, Piutau, Sakalia)
Aug: Canada 23 Tonga 33 (Halaifonua,Hingano,Lolohea,Talakai, Vailanu)
Aug: Japan 41 Tonga 7 (Fifita)
Jul: Samoa 25 Tonga 17 (Sakalia, Tameifuna, Vuna)
Nov: Georgia 20 Tonga 9
Nov: Wales 74 Tonga 24 (Fifita, Mafi, Vailanu)

Trends:
Home: Won 0 Lost 0
Away: Won 2 Lost 5 (22%)
First half: Won 2 Lost 5 (22%)
Second half: Won 0 Lost 7 (0%)

Verdict: Tonga may have experienced a poor year to date, but the fact they beat France at the 2011 World Cup is enough to put any opponent on guard. Just one win in seven outings doesn’t inspire confidence, with Canada their only victims, but captain, Siale Piutau, was among the tries of late and will want his side to beat the USA at least, whom they lead 6-0 since 2009.

Whether they’ll trouble the big boys in the group is doubtful, but if they can improve their performances after half-time – they lost all seven second halves this year – then who knows what this small country equipped with big players can achieve.

POOL D

AUSTRALIA

Ranking: 6
Tournament odds: 16-1
Star player: Nic White

Group fixtures: (10-year head-to-head):
21 Sep: Fiji (lead 3-0)
29 Sep: Wales (lead 13-1)
05 Oct: Uruguay (lead 1-0)
11 Oct: Georgia (N/A)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Runners-up
2011: Semi-final
2007: Quarter-final
2003: Runners-up
1999: Winners

Best World Cup finish:
Winners (1999, 1991)

Form (last 12 months): Won 5 out of 10 games (50%)
Sep: Australia 34 Samoa 15 (Tries: Ashley-Cooper, Coleman, Haylett-Petty, Koroibete, Salakaia-Loto, Toomua)
Aug: New Zealand 36 Australia 0
Aug: Australia 47 New Zealand 26 (Hodge 3, White, Koroibete, Beale)
Jul: Australia 16 Argentina 0 (Hodge)
Jul: South Africa 35 Australia 17 (Haylett-Petty, Foley)
Nov: England 37 Australia 18 (Folau 2)
Nov: Italy 7 Australia 26 (Koroibete 2, Tupou, Genia)
Nov: Wales 9 Australia 6
Oct: Australia 20 New Zealand 37 (Folau, Naivalu)
Oct: Argentina 34 Aust 45 (Folau, Hay-Petty 2, Hooper, Pocock, Rodda)

Trends:
Home: Won 3 Lost 1 (75%)
Away: Won 2 Lost 4 (33%)
First half: Won 4 Lost 4 Drew 2 (40%)
Second half: Won 3 Lost 6 Drew 1 (30%)

Verdict: There is a saying you “can’t write off the Aussies” – and it’s a phrase that has been well earned down the years. The men in gold boast a fantastic pedigree in World Cup competition and usually find a way of going deep in the tournament, as witnessed when making the 2015 final.

The difference this time around, though, is they arrive in Japan as only the No.6 ranked country – they were No.2 prior to the 2015, 2011 and 2007 renewals, and No.4 in 2003. The drop in ranking highlights the Wallabies’ inconsistencies, superb on occasions – as witnessed when smashing New Zealand last month – and lacklustre on others, including defeats in Wales, England and South Africa during the last 12 months.

In fact, their best form came on home soil (lost four of their last six on the road), and with the loss of Israel Folau ahead of Japan, they’ll need the likes of Rory Arnold at the back to have outstanding tournaments if they are to go deep once more.

WALES

Ranking: 5
Tournament odds: 10-1
Star player: Alun Wyn Jones

Group fixtures: (10-year head-to-head):
23 Sep: Georgia (lead 1-0)
29 Sep: Australia (trail 1-13)
09 Oct: Fiji (lead 3-0)
13 Oct: Uruguay (lead 1-0)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Quarter-final
2011: Semi-final
2007: Pool stage
2003: Quarter-final
1999: Quarter-final

Best World Cup finish:
Semi-final (2011)

2019 Form: Won 6 out of 9 games (67%)
Sep: Ireland 19 Wales 10 (Tries: Parkes)
Aug: Wales 17 Ireland 22 (Stockdale 2)
Aug: Wales 13 England 6 (North)
Aug: England 33 Wales 19 (DG Davies, North, OTW Jones)
Mar: Wales 25 Ireland 7 (Parkes)
Mar: Scotland 11 Wales 18 (Adams, JJV Davies)
Feb: Wales 21 England 13 (Hill, Adams)
Feb: Italy 15 Wales 26 (Adams, Watkin)
Feb: France 19 Wales 24 (TG Williams), North 2)

Trends:
Home: Won 3 Lost 1 (75%)
Away: Won 3 Lost 2 (60%)
First half: Won 5 Lost 4 (44%)
Second half: Won 5 Lost 3 Drew 1 (55%)

Verdict: If the forthcoming World Cup had been played six months ago, then Wales may have lifted the trophy for the first time. But it’s not, and unfortunately for Wales, the form which saw them land a third grand slam under Warren Gaitland has abandoned them in recent months.

The Dragons demonstrated a strong defence during the Six Nations, not conceding more than 19 points in any individual match, but they’ve leaked more than 20 in two of their four warm-ups. Add to that, the loss of no Gareth Anscombe and their poor record against Australia, and it’s clear to see why winning the group won’t be a formality, though with their massively experienced captain, Alun Wyn Jones, leading them, they should make the knockouts where either England or France could await.

GEORGIA

Ranking: 12
Tournament odds: 1500-1
Star player: Mamuka Gorgodze

Group fixtures: (10-year head-to-head):
23 Sep: Wales (trail 0-1)
29 Sep: Uruguay (lead 2-0)
03 Oct: Fiji (trail 1-2)
11 Oct: Australia (N/A)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Pool stage
2011: Pool stage
2007: Pool stage
2003: Pool stage
1999: Not qualify

Best World Cup finish:
Pool stage

Form (last 12 months): Won 5 out of 7 games (71%)
Sep: Scotland 36 Georgia 9
Aug: Georgia 10 Scotland 44 (Tries: Asieshvili)
Mar: Russia 6 Georgia 22 (Malaguradze, Tsutskeridze)
Mar: Georgia 52 Germany 3 (Khmaladze, Lobzhanidze, Malaguradze, Mamukashvili, Modebadze 3, Sharikadze)
Mar: Belgium 6 Georgia 46 (Aprasidze, Dzneladze, Gogichashvili, Modebadze, Nemsadze, Tkhilaishvili, Tsutskeridze 2)
Mar: Georgia 24 Spain 10 (Chilachava, Gigauri, Kerdiqoshvili, Lobzhanidze)
Feb: Romania 9 Georgia 18 (Gorgadze)

Trends:
Home: Won 2 Lost 1 (67%)
Away: Won 3 Lost 1 (75%)
First half: Won 4 Lost 3 (57%)
Second half: Won 5 Lost 2 (71%)

Verdict: The Lelos are clearly an improving side who are gradually working their way up the ladder, despite not getting beyond the pool stage in past World Cups. Following a successful campaign when winning the second tier of the Six Nations easily, Georgia will want to get among the points again, and hold a realistic chance of repeating their 2015 feat when winning two pool games in England – two of their rivals in the pool, Uruguay and Fiji (ranked just three places higher) are within their range.

True, they were put firmly in their place when twice losing to Scotland recently, and they’ll need the experienced, Mamuka Gorgodze, to step up once more.

FIJI

Ranking: 9
Tournament odds: 500-1
Star player: Leone Nakarawa

Group fixtures: (10-year head-to-head):
21 Sep: Australia (trail 0-3)
25 Sep: Uruguay (lead 2-0)
03 Oct: Georgia (lead 2-1)
09 Oct: Wales (trail 0-3)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Pool stage
2011: Pool stage
2007: Quarter-final
2003: Pool stage
1999: Play-off

Best World Cup finish:
Quarter-final (2007)

Form (last 12 months): Won 5 out of 7 games (71%)
Aug: Fiji 29 Tonga 19 (Tries: Goneva, Kunatani, Matavesi, Ratulevu, Waqaniburotukula)
Aug: Fiji 10 Samoa 3 (Goneva)
Aug: Fiji 38 Canada 13 (Dolakoto, Mata, Nakarawa, Kovekalou, Ratulevu, Senibitu)
Aug: Japan 34 Fiji 21 (Veivuke, Matavesi 2)
Nov: France 14 Fiji 21 (Radradra, Tuisova)
Nov: Fiji 68 Uruguay 7 (Kunatani, Sau 3, Maijaina, Ratulevu, Volavola, Senibitu 3)
Nov: Scotland 54 Fiji 17 (Mata, Radradra Waqavatu)

Trends:
Home: Won 4 Lost 0 (100%)
Away: Won 1 Lost 2 (33%)
First half: Won 3 Lost 3 Drew 1 (43%)
Second half: Won 6 Lost 1 (86%)

Verdict: Any nation taking Fiji lightly in Japan may pay the price – after all, this a team who made the World Cup quarter-finals in 2007 prior to beating France last year. The fact that victory came away from home was even more impressive, and with recent victories against both Tonga and Samoa, the Flying Fijians head to Japan in bullish mood.

Coach, John McKee, knows he has a solid, physical unit who don’t know when to give up, as can be seen via their second half displays – they won five of their second halves this year. With Australia currently not at the peak of their powers, McKee may sense a possible upset in their opener against the Wallabies.

URUGUAY

Ranking: 19
Tournament odds: 5000-1
Star player: Juan Manuel Gaminara

Group fixtures: (10-year head-to-head):
25 Sep: Fiji (trail 0-2)
29 Sep: Georgia (trail 0-2)
05 Oct: Australia (trail 0-1)
13 Oct: Wales (trail 0-1)

World Cup finishes:
2015: Pool stage
2011: Not qualify
2007: Not qualify
2003: Pool stage
1999: Pool stage

Best World Cup finish:
Pool stage

Form (last 12 months): Won 5 out of 7 games (71%)
Jun: Uruguay 21 Spain 41 (Tries: Rodriguez, Inciarte, Hontou)
Jun: Uruguay 28 Namibia 30 (Ferres, Lordon, Hontou 2)
Jun: Uruguay 48 Russia 26 (de Leon, Rodriguez, Alleges 2, Gaminara, Lordon, Magno)
Mar: Uruguay 42 Brazil 20 (Piccardo, Lordon 2, Miranda, Ormaechea)
Mar: USA 25 Uruguay 32 (Piccardo, Garcia 2, Alleges, Sanguinetti)
Feb: Uruguay 20 Chile 5 (Magno, Flores)
Feb: Uruguay 20 Canada 17 (Uria, Garcia, Pujadas)

Trends:
Home: Won 4 Lost 2 (67%)
Away: Won 1 Lost 1 (100%)
First half: Won 4 Lost 3 (57%) Second half: Won 5 Lost 2 (71%)

Verdict: Uruguay left the 2015 World Cup having lost all four games, conceding 226 points in the process. Their quest this time will simply be to improve upon that record. Coach, Esteban Meneses has witnessed his side’s progression in recent times, and can now pick from a squad featuring mainly professional players. But, there is much still to do, and having never beaten anyone in their pool, along with the loss of flanker, Rodrigo Capo Ortega, Los Teros have it all to do.

WINNER

So, now we know the teams – which of them could win the tournament? Well, looking at past World Cup winners shows that New Zealand, Australia and South Africa were regular recipients of the trophy.

PREVIOUS WORLD CUP WINNERS’ PROFILES (SINCE 1987):

Year     Winner     Hosts  Rank     FormPrevious World CupLatest Six/Tri Nations
2015   New Zealand   (England)   1   WLWW   Winners   Runners-up
2011   New Zealand    (New Zealand)   1   LLWW   Quarters   Runners-up
2007   South Africa   (France)   4   WWLL  Quarters   Third (last)
2003   England   (Australia)   1   WLWW   Quarters   Winners
1999   Australia   (Wales)   N/A   WLLW   Quarters   Runners-up
1995   South Africa   (South Africa)   N/A   WWWW   (Not play)   N/A
1991   Australia   (England)   N/A   LWWW   Semi’s   N/A
1987   New Zealand   (Australia/NZ)   N/A   LWLW   N/A   N/A

If the betting is anything to go by, then New Zealand at 6-4 could be in for their third successive World Cup. But, there will be a host of nations looking to have their say during the five weeks of combat in Japan.

Prior to the All Blacks following-up their 2011 success four years ago, no other country managed back-to-back wins, so it could well be they take matters further by becoming the first nation to make it three on the spin. The aforementioned win eight years ago came following a quarter-final appearance in 2007, which was a familiar trend down the years with five of the six winners from 1991-2011 having all made the quarters or semi’s at the previous World Cup.

Both South Africa and Australia fit the bill having made the last eight in 2015, and the former are very much the form nation in 2019.

Having lost only by one point to England at Twickenham in November, South Africa won at both France and Scotland, before another creditable loss in Wales. Those two defeats at both England and Wales’ fortresses were no disgrace, and they made up for that by beating Australia prior to a 16-16 draw in New Zealand – arguably their best performance. Three straight wins followed against Argentina (twice) and Japan, teeing them up nicely for what promises to be a strong campaign.

European teams didn’t have much of a say in the World Cup, with only England breaking the dominance of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and that came only courtesy of a last-gasp kick from Johnny Wilkinson against Australia in 2003 – otherwise, it would have been another World Cup success for the “Big Three”.

Ireland go into the competition as the No.1 ranked side thanks to a couple of recent wins against Wales, but their previous heavy defeat at England raised a few eyebrows. As for Wales, then they don’t appear the same team who won the Six Nations, with the loss of Gareth Anscombe ahead of Japan a big blow.

NAME THE FINALISTS

In the ‘Name The Finalists’ market, there is every chance a repeat of the recent Cricket World Cup between England and New Zealand could pop-up at 10-1, though bookies make a New Zealand versus South Africa final the most likely clash in the November showpiece at 11-4.

Previous Finals
2015: New Zealand beat Australia
2011: New Zealand beat France
2007: South Africa beat England
2003: England beat Australia
1999: Australia beat France
1995: South Africa beat New Zealand
1991: Australia beat England
1987: New Zealand beat France

It would be interesting if New Zealand and South Africa were to meet for the first time in the competition final, as they share five victories between them without ever tasting defeat. France made three finals, but look someway off that standard, while Wales, Ireland and Scotland have yet to make a final – unlike England, who made three. An all-European affair between England and Ireland is a 20-1 chance, the same odds as an England/Wales showdown.

TOP TRYSCORER

Another of the popular markets is the “Top Tryscorer” – an accolade that New Zealand players fared well in since the first World Cup in 1987.

PAST WINNERS

Year     Tries – Player (country)Career tries (matches)Tries in last 10 internationals (latest left)
2015      8 – Julian Savea (New Zealand)30-35 (86%)0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 1 0
2011     6 – Chris Ashton (England), Vincent Clerc (France) 9-13 (69%) 25-50 (50%)0 0 0 0 4 2 0 0 2 0 / 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
2007     8 – Bryan Habana (South Africa)22-28 (78%)1 2 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
2003     7 – Doug Howlett (New Zealand), Mils Muliaina (New Zealand)24-31 (77%) 0-7 (0%)2 0 1 2 0 1 1 2 0 1 / 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1999     8 – Jonah Lomu (New Zealand)17-32 (53%)0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0
1995     7 – Jonah Lomu (New Zealand), Marc Ellis (New Zealand)0-2 (0%) 4-3 (133%)0 0 2 0 2
1991     6 – Jean-Baptiste Lafond (France), David Campese (Australia)7-23 (30%) 40-58 (69%)0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 / 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 1 1 1
1987     6 – Craig Green (New Zealand), John Kirwan (New  Zealand)4-14 (29%) 5-13 (38%)0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 0 0 / 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 1

With a total of eight All Blacks either winning outright or sharing the Top Tryscorer award, it’s no surprise to see the bookies installing Sevu Reece (8-1) and Rieko Ioane (9-1) at the head of the betting – both of whom boast strike-rates greater than 50%, which was a trait among past winners of this.

MAIN CONTENDERS

Player (Country)OddsTries-Matches (strike-rate)Tries in last 10 internationals (latest left)
Sevu Reece (New Zealand)   8-1     2-3 (67%)     1 1 0
Rieko Ioane (New Zealand)   9-1    23-26 (88%)     1 0 0 0 0 1 1 2 2 0
Jacob Stockdale (Ireland)   11-1    16-21 (76%)     2 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 0
Jonny May (England)   12-1   24-47 (51%)     0 0 1 1 0 3 1 1 1 0
Cheslin Kolbe (South Africa)   12-1   5-10 (50%)     2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
George Bridge (New Zealand)   14-1   7-5 (140%)     4 1 0 0 2
Makazole Mapimpi (South Africa)   14-1   8-8 (100%)     3 1 0 0 1 0 2 1
Sibusiso Nkosi (South Africa)   16-1   7-8 (87%)     2 1 0 1 1 0 0 2
George North (Wales)   25-1   40-89 (45%)     0 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 1
Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)   25-1   33-78 (42%)     0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0
Ben Smith (New Zealand)   25-1   35-80 (44%)     2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Joe Cokanasiga (England)   25-1   5-8 (62%)     0 2 0 1 0 0 1 1
Josh Adams (Wales)   33-1   4-14 (29%)    0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0
Damian Penaud (France)   33-15-13 (38%)    2 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Keith Earls (Ireland)   33-130-78 (38%)    0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0

The money in recent weeks came for South Africa’s, Makazole Mapimpi, who is now 14-1 (from 25’s), which is no surprise considering his 100% strike-rate. With five winners of this award since 2003 having strike-rates of around 70% or more, along with scoring at least three tries during their last six internationals, the likes of Mapimpi and his teammate, Sibusiso Nkosi (16-1) have to be of interest, along with New Zealand’s, George Bridge (14-1), who scored four tries in his last outing alone.

TOP POINTS SCORER

As for the Top Points Scorer, the following list shows some illustrious names to have kicked their way onto the honours board throughout the years.

PAST WINNERS

YearPoints - Player (country)Points in last 10 internationals (average)
201597 – Nicolas Sanchez (Argentina)     12 9 8 15 3 5 11 6 10 9 (8.8)
201162 – Morne Steyn (South Africa)     18 0 2 6 11 12 19 11 24 14 (11.7)
2007105 – Percy Montgomery (S Africa)      12 35 8 11 7 18 23 6 5 7 (13.2)
2003113 – Jonny Wilkinson (England)      18 10 15 15 18 8 16 20 8 22 (15)
1999102 – Gonzalo Quesada (Argentina)      18 9 16 21 9 29 22 18 0 5 (14.7)
1995112 – Thierry Lacroix (France)      14 3 5 11 10 8 8 11 8 9 (8.7)
199168 – Ralph Keyes (Ireland)     0 (0)
1987126 – Grant Fox (Australia)     3 (3)

With a couple of South Africans and two Argentinians coming out best from the last five World Cups, the bookies have taken note by having both countries among their top six of the betting.

MAIN CONTENDERS

Player     OddsLast 10 internationals (average)
Owen Farrell (England)      4-1      17 15 0 11 11 8 17 12 22 0 (11.3)
Handre Pollard (South Africa)      4-1      7 31 11 3 18 19 6 15 13 11 (13.4)
Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)      9-1      14 2 5 5 10 15 9 11 17 6 (9.4)
Richie Mounga (New Zealand)     9-1      14 6 6 6 0 0 22 0 6 2 (6.2)
Johnny Sexton (Ireland)      10-1      4 0 11 2 0 10 11 12 15 16 (8.1)
Nicolas Sanchez (Argentina)      14-1      8 3 8 9 8 12 6 7 12 14 (8.7)
Dan Biggar (Wales)      16-1      0 5 2 0 0 2 14 5 6 19 (5.3)
Christian Lealiifano (Australia)      25-1      0 13 11 0 0 0 0 0 20 (4.4)
Greig Laidlaw (Scotland)      25-1      15 7 4 0 3 8 6 9 10 10 (7.2)
Leigh Halfpenny (Wales)      25-1      5 3 6 11 9 4 12 24 9 8 (9.1)
Thomas Ramos (France)      33-1      5 4 0 0 0 5 0 (2.0)

Past winners of the Top Points Scorer averaged around nine points or more from their last 10 internationals, along with a double-figure points score on their final game leading into the World Cup. There are some interesting players with a similar profile this time around, including the bookies’ joint 4-1 favourites in Owen Farrell and Handre Pollard.

Farrell looks sure to rack up some serious points in Japan, and if England make the semi’s, he may have clocked enough by that point. However, available at over double those odds is New Zealand’s, Beauden Barrett (9-1), who would be the first Kiwi winner of this, and is well priced.

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