2015 Rugby World Cup

Date published: March 31 2015

The 2015 Rugby World Cup is set to get under way on Friday September 18th, and it will be the eighth time that this prestigious tournament has taken place. Set to be staged in England, this Rugby World Cup is one of the most highly anticipated rugby competitions in recent years, and will feature all the nations who made the recent Six Nations such an exciting event to watch. Played once every four years, the Rugby World Cup was first held in 1987, the tournament originally saw sixteen teams take part, but that number was increased to twenty from 1999.

Australia, New Zealand and South African have all won the World Cup on two occasions, and the reigning champions are New Zealand, who took the title the last time it was played in 2011. The odds compilers at betfair.com have put New Zealand in as their 6/4 favourites to make a successful defence of the crown, and it is little surprise to see this superb side being put in at such a short price prior to the competition having started. 

The All Blacks have been the dominant force in Rugby Union for many years and were named as the World Rugby Team of the Year in 2014. New Zealand are the only side on the international stage who can boast a positive record against every other country they have played, and have held the number one ranking for a longer period than all the other teams combined. Recent results would suggest that the All Blacks are in as good a shape as ever, and they are sure to be a popular choice with rugby union punters at the current price of 6/4.

With home advantage, the English must be given a decent chance of having a successful campaign at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Having been chosen to host the tournament in the summer of 2009, there has been a lengthy build up to this event, with English rugby fans largely starved of any significant success since their side last won the Rugby World Cup way back in 2003. England did reach the final in 2007, but were beaten by South Africa, and could only manage a quarter final berth last time the tournament took place in 2011. 

The England side have been going through somewhat of a transitional phase in recent times, but Stuart Lancaster appears to be building a squad that is once again capable of challenging for top honours, and they came agonisingly close to winning the recent Six Nations Championship, but were ultimately beaten to the title by defending champions Ireland.

That experience should have done Stuart Lancaster's men the world of good however, and they can build on those solid performances as they come into the 2015 World Cup. Betfair go 10/3 about the English lifting the William Webb Ellis Cup in front of their own fans come October 31st. 

Coming off the back of a superb defence of their Six Nations crown, it is impossible to dismiss Ireland at this upcoming Rugby World Cup. The best Ireland have been able to manage at the World Cup thus far is reaching the quarter final stage, but Josef Schmidt's men definitely look set to make their presence felt at the 2015 renewal.

While they may have been slightly fortunate to retain the RBS Six Nations Championship in March, securing the title on points difference, the Irish did what they had to do to win and have to be considered a realistic contender for the upcoming Rugby World Cup. Ireland are available at odds of 9/1 with Betfair to win the 2015 World Cup, and that looks a cracking each way price to me.