The Rugby World Cup is back. The 2019 World Cup tournament will serve as a platform to watch both experienced and young talented players. For the millions of fans, it will be another awesome chance to watch some great rivalry among teams and more importantly place Rugby World Cup odds on different games.
With 48 matches crammed into just 40 odd days, the World Cup offers a plethora of betting markets. One interesting market is picking the two finalists – England v New Zealand is available at 15/2 and even 10/1, with South Africa v New Zealand at 11/4.
Then there are bets on individual accolades, with the top try scorer being the most prominent. New Zealand’s Sevu Reece is a hot favourite with odds of 15/2, followed by teammate Rieko Ioane at 10/1. Outside the All Blacks, Irishman Jacob Stockdale and English flyer Jonny May are both available at 10/1.
Aside from these stars, the following are five players to watch in this Rugby World Cup — based on their potential and past results.
Jonathan Sexton, Fly-Half, IrelandEmbed from Getty Images
Jonathan Sexton is one of the most consistent players in the Northern Hemisphere. The Leinsterman is also one of the best players on the global scene known for his talent and mental toughness. Last year, Last year, the 33 year old was awarded ‘World Player of the Year’. Thanks to his winning mentality and tactical kicking, many pundits see him as the key cog in Ireland’s World Cup Campaign.
Beauden Barrett, Fullback or fly-half, New ZealandEmbed from Getty Images
Over the years, New Zealand has produced some of the best players in the world of rugby. Beauden Barrett is arguably the All Blacks most important player in their quest to become the 2019 World Cup champions. Barrett could be considered one of the most versatile players in this year’s world cup where he will be expected to play with 10 or 15 on his back.
Leone Nakarawa, Second-Row, FijiEmbed from Getty Images
The last four years have been great for Fiji Rugby, they’ve risen in the World Ranking and thanks to an abundance of talented and skilful players such as Nakarawa they claimed Gold in Rugby 7s at the latest Olympics in Rio. Fiji fans will be hoping for a repeat of Rio Olympics in Japan. In addition to his physicality, the ‘Octopus’ brings a unique blend of physicality and skill with his off-loading game that is considered to be one of the worlds best.
Jordan Petaia, Centre, AustraliaEmbed from Getty Images
Australia have opted for a blend of youth and experience in this year’s world cup. At just 19, Jordan Petaia is one of the youngest professional players in this year’s tournament. In the last 24 months, Petaia has exhibited not only consistency in his play but also his versatility throughout the Super Rugby season with the Queensland Reds.
Although it’s unlikely he will be a run on option for Michael Cheika, he could be considered a very valuable impact sub for the Wallabies.
Siya Kolisi, Back-Row, South AfricaEmbed from Getty Images
Born in 1991, Kolisi is one of the key players to watch in Japan this year. Kolisi is not only an experienced player for South Africa but he has been appointed captain for the World Cup campaign. He is not new to the international competitions featuring in his second World Cup. He also starred at underage level in the IRB Junior World Championships seven years ago. Away from the pitch, Kolisi is an integral part of the team, continually working in the South African community setting a great example for budding rugby stars throughout South Africa.
No doubt throughout the tournament many other players will put their hands up and become future starts for the countries.
Women’s Rugby World Cup looks set to be postponed.
World Rugby has made the difficult decision to recommend the postponement of Rugby World Cup 2021, scheduled to be hosted in New Zealand between 18 September-16 October, until next year. The recommendation will be considered by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee on 8 and 9 March respectively.Play Video
While appreciating the recommendation is extremely disappointing for teams and fans, it has their interests at heart, and gives the tournament the best opportunity to be all it can be for them, all New Zealanders and the global rugby family.
The recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global COVID-19 landscape. It has become clear in recent discussions with key partners including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Government and participating unions, that, given the scale of the event and the COVID-19-related uncertainties, it is just not possible to deliver the environment for all teams to be the best that they can be on the sport’s greatest stage.
The challenges include uncertainty and the ability for teams to prepare adequately for a Rugby World Cup tournament both before and on arrival in New Zealand, and challenging global travel restrictions.
World Rugby can assure teams, New Zealanders and the global rugby family that the recommendation to postpone the tournament will help to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2021 will be all it can be next year for players, fans and the rugby family – one of the great Rugby World Cups.
Further updates will be issued following the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee meetings next week.
RWC 2023 Pools confirmed.
How the draw worked
As host nation, France was drawn first and placed randomly in one of the four pools. The teams were then drawn randomly from each band, starting with Band 5 (Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1, Final Qualifier Winner), then Band 4 (Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2), then Band 3 (Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy), then Band 2 (Ireland, (France), Australia, Japan) and finally Band 1 (South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales). The first drawn in each band was placed in Pool A, the second in Pool B, the third in Pool C and the fourth in Pool D.
Twelve of the 20 teams qualified automatically by finishing in the top three places of their Rugby World Cup 2019 pool. These 12 teams are: South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Australia, Japan, Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy. Acknowledging the global COVID-19 impact on international rugby in 2020, these teams were seeded based on the World Rugby Men’s Rankings as of 1 January, 2020 and placed into the first three bands of four teams.
The remaining eight teams will come through the regional qualification process and were allocated for the draw into bands four and five based on relative strength. They are: Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2, Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1 and the Final Qualifier Winner.
Qualification process set for Rugby World Cup 2023
- Process designed to promote regional strength and the best teams to rugby’s showcase event
- 12 teams already qualified owing to top three pool placing at RWC 2019
- RWC 2023 on track to be a spectacular celebration of rugby and France
World Rugby has announced details of the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
Following the most competitive and widely-acclaimed Rugby World Cup to date in Japan, the qualification process is designed to deliver the top teams in the world to rugby’s showcase tournament, while promoting a genuine opportunity for all unions.
With 12 teams having secured their place at France 2023 courtesy of finishing in the top three of their respective pools at RWC 2019, the remaining eight places will be determined by a process of regional and cross-regional qualifiers. The process will conclude with a four-team round-robin Final Qualification Tournament in November 2022 to determine the final qualifier.
The dates for events in 2021 will be announced in due course and will be subject to an anticipated easing of the COVID-19 situation.
The announcement follows consultation with unions and regions in January 2020 and a full review of performance at Rugby World Cup 2019, where rankings upsets and the impressive performances in particular of Japan, Fiji, Uruguay, Tonga and Georgia cut the performance gap, with the average winning margin between established and emerging unions decreasing in comparison with 2015 benchmarks.
The Americas will deliver two direct places, while Oceania will deliver a direct qualifier with a further direct place available following a play-off with Asia. The Rugby Europe Championship (two direct places), Rugby Africa Cup (one direct place) and Final Qualification Tournament (one direct place) will provide the other qualifiers. Further details are provided below.
RWC 2023 qualification principles
- Americas: the Americas will qualify two teams by September 2022. The third best team in the region will enter the Final Qualification Tournament – Americas 1 & Americas 2
- Europe: the existing Rugby Europe Championship will have two qualifying places, with the two best teams in March 2022 qualifying directly and the third placed entering the Final Qualification Tournament – Europe 1 & Europe 2
- Africa: the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 winner will qualify directly and the runner-up team will go to Final Qualification – Africa 1
- Oceania: a home and away play-off between Tonga and Samoa in 2021 will determine the direct qualifier for the Oceania region. – Oceania 1
The loser will then play the Oceania Rugby Cup 2021 winner in the highest ranked team’s country with the eventual winner contesting Asia / Pacific (see below) as Oceania 2
- Asia / Pacific: the winner of the Asian Rugby Men’s Championship 2021 will play Oceania 2 home and away. The winner on aggregate will determine the qualifier and the loser will go to Final Qualification – Asia / Pacific 1
- Final Qualification Tournament: the tournament in November 2022 will feature four teams playing in a round-robin format with the winner qualifying for RWC 2023 – Final Qualification winner
Teams already qualified: South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France (host), Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “With the global pandemic having halted most rugby activity, confirmation of the global qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 provides a beacon of excitement for all, including players and fans.
“The process that has been developed via full consultation with our regional associations and member unions will provide a genuine opportunity for full member unions to qualify for our showcase men’s 15s event.
“Maximising existing regional competitions, the process is good for regions and unions in managing costs for organisers and participants alike, which is important as we all recover from the global pandemic.
“On behalf of World Rugby, I’d like to wish all teams involved the best of luck on their journey to France 2023.”
Rugby World Cup France 2023 CEO Claude Atcher added: “This qualification process gives emerging unions an opportunity to take part in our sport’s biggest competition.
“The success of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and performances by the host nation is a testimony of rugby’s expansion globally. As the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is about to be won, I welcome this optimistic prospect of reconnecting with the excitement of our sport. This is the start of our journey towards France 2023, which will be the best tournament ever delivered.”
Final details of the regional competition formats and dates will be announced in due course.
Official Press Release from World Rugby