Rugby World Cup 2015 Tipping and Betting Guide Part 2 - The 'Second Tier'

Click here for Part 1 - The Minnows
Click here for Part 3 - The Real Contenders

How do you define a second tier nation in Rugby? When does a nation graduate from the Minnows or get relegated from the first tier of World Cup contenders? Well, for the purposes of this World Cup Guide it pretty much comes down to tradition. And the odds. And gut feel. So in short, there is no hard and fast rule. Much like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, if you believe it then it is true (though even my kids don't believe in Italy).

So how will they fare this year? Well pretty poorly obviously, But that doesn't mean that they won't bring passions, flare and excitement to the tournament. Oh, and the chance to lay a few hard earned or tip a few tight ones...

Nickname(s): Azzurri (Sky-Blues)
World Cups: 7
Image result for pasta
You'd think the home of carbo-loading
would produce better Rugby players
RWC Games won: 9
RWC Games lost: 15
What we've learned from their website: Giovanbattista Venditti is a great name for a Rugby player.
Odds: $1001
Value: Italy has a reasonable record against some of the other second-tier nations and have even beaten all the other Six Nations except England at least once. As long as they can avoid the big 3 of the Southern Hemisphere (impossible admittedly) who they've never beaten, then there could be the occasional bargain.

Image result for rugby player suit
Not Tonga, but perhaps what Phil Vickery
has in mind for the Tongan team
Nickname(s): ╩╗Ikale Tahi
Emblem(s): The White Dove
World Cups: 6
RWC Games won: 6
RWC Games lost: 15
What we've learned from their websiteTongan players are very poor. What else to make of this website headline: England Rugby World Cup Winner Phil Vickery Gives Minnows Tonga the Feel-Good Factor with Free Clothes Ahead of Tournament.
Odds: $1001
Value: Relatively speaking, Tonga are a team in form. At the last World Cup they beat France and in 2012 beat Scotland for their first ever win over a traditional rugby power in Europe. And earlier this season they came close to beating New Zealand, only losing by 30 (we did say relatively speaking). So there's some real value to be had here if you can pick the right game.

Nickname(s): Flying Fijians
Emblem(s): the Palm (the tree, not a Rugby fend as appropriate as that may be)
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Fijian Rugby - Often close, but rarely one of these
World Cups: 6
RWC Games won: 9
RWC Games lost: 15
What we've learned from their website:  Fiji’s first tour of Australia helped the Australian Rugby Union recover from the brink of bankruptcy in 1952. (And Australia has returned the favour by poaching their players ever since - RM)
Odds: $501
Value: Fiji had their most successful World Cup in 2007 when they beat Wales in a sensational match to make the Quarter-Finals then gave the Springboks a real fright losing eventually by not much. But it's been pretty much downhill since then, and it shows. The Fijian Rugby website history stops at 2007. Even their 7s team last won the 7s World Cup in 2005 though they did win the World Rugby Sevens Series in 2014-15. This schizophrenia in Fijian Rugby doesn't help their 15s team. Neither does being drawn in the 'Pool of Death' at the World Cup.

Image result for crunch
Not the sort of crunches usually associated with Samoan Rugby,
though a few thousand might be a good idea for the team
Nickname(s): Manu Samoa
Emblem(s): the Southern Cross
World Cups: 6
RWC Games won: 11
RWC Games lost: 10
What we've learned from their website: The best thing that can be said about Samoa's Rugby website is that it is a work in progress. That's fitting, it's much the same for the team itself.
Odds: $301
Value: Samoa's World Cup record is almost too good for it to be considered second tier. Indeed historically they have positive records against Argentina and Italy and almost Wales. Their bone-crunching performances against Wales at World Cups are legendary. They're also a team in form with a good 2015 under their belts in the Pacific Nations Cup, only a draw against Fiji robbing them of the title. But when it comes down to the crunch (har) the big boys will be too big. Nonetheless, a good chance against teams of similar standing.

Nickname: None (now there's your problem for starters right there)
Emblem(s): the Thistle (this isn't getting any better - this is a prickly weed pretty much everywhere - it would be like the Australian Rugby team calling themselves the Cane Toads)
Image result for mr tickle
How other Rugby teams view Scotland
World Cups: 7
RWC Games won: 18
RWC games drawn: 1
RWC Games lost: 13 (and you wonder why Scotland is second tier)
What we've learned from their website: At $140 the Scottish match day Rugby shirt is cheaper than its Wallabies equivalent which is closer to $160. Why the Scottish shirt on its own website is selling kit in dollars and not pounds is a mystery. Maybe it's US dollars. in which case it's much cheaper (in that case more like $199 for the Wallabies jersey).
Odds: $201
Value: Clearly the bookies are being generous to Scotland, because the reality is they will struggle against Samoa, Japan and the USA in their Pool (South Africa is the other team in the Pool of tickles). Indeed the likelihood is you'll get good odds on their opponents given Scotland's first tier aspirations but almost minnow performances for the last decade or so.

Click here for Part 1 - The Minnows
Click here for Part 3 - The Real Contenders


Anonymous said…
Pretty harsh on the Scots! Played some excellent games in the 6nations but seemed to have no idea to turn good passages of play into wins. The shirt mystery is easy to explain as it is probably the Scots getting the English back for refusing to accept Scottish notes across the border. It is one of the great mysteries of the modern world that the Scottish pounds are printed by the local banks or in Australia's case Clydesdale Bank(NAB)

Will provide a live match report as going to Scotland Samoa game.