Content Editor at Free Super Tips, Alex was born in the shadow of Old Trafford and is an avid Man Utd fan. After graduating from university he combined his love of football, writing and betting to join FST and now closely follows goings-on in all of the top European leagues.
The tenth edition of the Rugby World Cup kicks off on Friday as hosts France take on New Zealand in a blockbuster clash in Saint-Denis.
With the entire tournament broadcast on ITV and plenty of interest in England and Ireland, rugby union expert Jack Ogalbe has come up with a couple of outright tips alongside a pools winner acca.
All prices below are quoted with bet365, where new customers can get up to £30 in free bets to use on this month’s sporting action.
Rugby World Cup outright predictions
Rugby World Cup winner prediction: South Africa at 10/3
France and New Zealand have been drawn in Pool A as part of a stacked top half that also includes defending champions South Africa, world number one Ireland and improving Scotland, who meet in Pool B.
The top half of the draw looks almost certain to produce the winner. Will an injury-affected France be able to handle the pressure of being hosts? Can Ireland finally make it past the quarter-finals?
Or will New Zealand and South Africa, joint record three-time winners, rise again? The Boks beat their great rivals 35-7 at Twickenham in August but there were caveats to that result, with South Africa having been in the UK for a fortnight while the All Blacks were almost fresh off the flight.
The Kiwis lack their previous star power and South Africa are battling injuries. That said, even if they fail to top Pool B, as was the case when they won in 2019, the Boks are outstanding at building momentum by grinding out results and look the side to beat.
Rugby World Cup Dark horse tip: Argentina at 22/1
In the bottom half, England’s status as the only northern hemisphere side to win the World Cup means they deserve respect. However, their recent form may have whittled away any residual belief among punters and the Red Rose could find themselves in trouble as they aim to progress from a competitive Pool D also featuring Argentina, Japan and Samoa.
It is a blessing then that Pool C rivals Wales and Australia are tackling similar chaos heading into the tournament, meaning Fiji, who won last month at Twickenham, could be a team to watch.
However, Argentina have beaten England, Australia and New Zealand over the last 18 months and the Pumas’ form, combined with their draw and World Cup pedigree, means their general 22/1 outright is sure to tempt punters.
Rugby World Cup pools winner acca
Pool A winner – France
France’s momentum has been building since Fabien Galthie took over full-time in 2020. They may have lost star fly-half Romain Ntamack and powerhouse lock Paul Willemse to injury but their player depth is frightening and they can set the tone by beating New Zealand on the opening night.
The All Blacks should respond to take second place with plenty to spare and while they were well-beaten last month by South Africa, the Kiwis will be better prepared and should improve as the tournament goes on.
Italy, Uruguay and Namibia complete Pool A but this group is all about the big two and France can lay down a marker by winning on the opening night and setting themselves up for top spot.
Pool B winner – Ireland
The ‘Pool of Death’ features holders South Africa, world number one Ireland and impressive Scotland, with Tonga and Romania making up the quintet.
The changes to the eligibility criteria mean Tonga could cause an upset, although it would take a gargantuan effort, while Romania represents an easy five points for their opponents.
South Africa are missing key players through injury but have adapted and arguably improved since 2019. However, they have lost four of their last six matches against Ireland, who will have Johnny Sexton fit and firing by the time they meet on September 23.
Ireland traditionally disappoint at World Cups but have been sensational for three years, rising to the top of the rankings, and may just have enough to beat both the Boks and Scotland and win the pool.
Pool C winner – Fiji
Wales and Australia’s struggles since the last World Cup have prompted Warren Gatland and Eddie Jones to give youth a chance after returning for second spells in their respective roles.
Gatland has been here before, guiding the Welsh to the semi-finals in both 2011 and 2019. His team should be well-prepared but the Wallabies could be in trouble and Fiji can step in.
They recently beat England at Twickenham and in Caleb Muntz, have a fly-half who kicks his goals and moves his team around the field. Their set-piece is a worry, but with Georgia also possessing the potential to cause upsets, three wins may prove enough to top Pool C and the Fijians are a fabulous price to finish first.
Pool D winner – Argentina
It could all come down to the opening night in Pool D as England face Argentina in Marseille on Saturday.
Japan made the last eight as hosts four years ago but are unlikely to have a repeat impact on this tournament, while debutants Chile will do well to earn a point.
Samoa are an interesting case, with the new eligibility criteria allowing them to select players who have previously represented Australia and New Zealand, adding extra class to their usual physicality and skill.
Argentina and England should still have enough to progress but the Pumas are the team to beat. They always lift themselves for World Cups and, having topped their pool and then beaten hosts France again on their way to finishing third in 2007, expect them to kick on from a positive start.
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