Rugby World Cup 2015 Tipping and Betting Guide Part 3 - The Real Contenders

Click here for Part 1 - the Minnows
Click here for Part 2 - the 'Second Tier'

The reality is, there are only a handful of nations with a chance of winning the Rugby World Cup. Or maybe there's only one - New Zealand. It really depends on your state of delusion.

Highly delusional people outside of New Zealand point to the All Blacks' poor World Cup record outside of New Zealand. And that's about it. There isn't any other factor pointing to anything other than the All Blacks lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy at the end of the tournament.

Slightly delusional people use phrases such as 'on their day', 'impact players' and 'anything can happen in the knock-out phase'.

But for the rest of us who don't live in la-la land, anything less than an All Blacks victory will be a shock, but a very pleasant one. Unless England win of course.

So who are these pretenders to the All Blacks crown? And what of the All Blacks themselves?...

Nickname(s): Los Pumas (the Pumas)
Emblem(s): Jaguar (you read correctly - Argentinian Rugby has a big cat identity crisis)
Image result for pink panther
Argentina can't have too many big cats
Rugby World Cups: 7
RWC wins: 30
RWC losses: 15
What we've learned from their website: The 'Fans' section is just a bunch of wallpaper. But at least they have something. Most nations have nothing. Yet most Super Rugby teams have extensive fan sections including blogs, videos, fan day info, marketing and cheerleaders (if you're lucky). Who knows why? Leave a comment if you have any insights.
Odds: $81
Value: Awesome. This is a team that finished third at the 2007 World Cup in France and made the Quarter-Final in 2011. They've just come off a Rugby Championship that included a win against the Springboks - in South Africa. The only nation the Pumas haven't beaten is the All Blacks - who are in their Pool. OK, so a Pool victory is unlikely, but with Tonga, Georgia and Namibia also in their Pool, a QF spot is on the cards. Then anything could happen in the knock-out phase on their day given the number of impact players they have!

Emblem(s): The Prince of Wales's feathers (seriously)
Image result for prince of wales
Wales' number one ticket holder on
hearing the news about Leigh Halfpenny
Rugby World Cups: 7
RWC wins: 18
RWC losses: 14
What we've learned from their website: Wales haven't beaten Australia since 2008, a streak of 10 matches. Matt Giteau played that day, scoring a penalty goal, a conversion and a drop goal. Drew Mitchell and Stephen Moore also started while Dean Mumm and Quade Cooper were on the bench.
Odds: $21
Value: You've got to be kidding. How is Argentina $81 and Wales $21? Not only that, but after Leigh Halfpenny busted his kicking bone in a warm-up match, missing the entire World Cup as a result, Wales' odds didn't shift. Madness is a Welsh supporter putting his money where his singing hole is.

Nickname(s): Les Bleus; Les Tricolores
Image result for dice
How to tip or punt on France
Emblem(s): Gallic rooster
Rugby World Cups: 7
RWC wins: 30
RWC draws: 1
RWC losses: 12
What we've learned from their website: (Poorly translated by Google) Les Bleus left the CNR and France to take their neighborhoods in Croydon in South London ! England is no longer a paradox since it is in the London Sun that the Blues were welcomed after leaving France and rain. With arrival under fire from cameras of French journalists.
Odds: $17
Value: Who knows? France have a knack for playing poorly in one match (like losing to Tonga in the 201 World Cup) and brilliantly the next (like almost beating the All Blacks in the final in 2011). Logic would suggest therefore that there's value in tipping or punting on France against the teams they tend to lose to (any other first tier nation) and leaving them alone against everyone else. Bu then again, logic has very little to do with French Rugby.

Emblem(s): The Shamrock
Rugby World Cups: 7
RWC wins: 17
RWC losses: 13
Image result for guinness
Just putting this image here
because we like Guinness
What we've learned from their website: Embracing social media is fine but this is just taking things a bit too far. Do we really need 10 twitter feeds and 10 Facebook entries? Seriously, does anyone care or even know what this means?:  ナターシャ®TashsterlyLion @Tashster
Buffs' #ShoulderToShoulder attack an army of @UMassFootball Minutemen! #Ralphie leads BuffArmy in🐃🐃 @RunRalphieRun
Odds: $9.00
Value: The reigning Six Nations champions reckon they're a real chance of winning the World Cup. Indeed they recently were ranked 2 in the world on the back of that performance and some shockers from Australia, South Africa and England. But then Ireland had some shockers in the lead-up matches and dropped back to 6th 3 weeks later. So it's anyone's guess really.

Nickname(s): Springboks, Boks
Emblem(s): Springbok and Protea
Rugby World Cups: 5
RWC wins: 25
RWC losses: 4
Image result for turf
Must have been a bugger
taking this on as hand luggage
What we've learned from their website: A special piece of turf to give the Springboks real #HomeGroundAdvantage was ‘christened’ by a host of South African celebrities from television, music, sport and fashion at the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum in Cape Town on Thursday (3rd September).
Odds: $7.00
Value: There's no denying that when it comes to Rugby World Cups South Africa have performed admirably. 2 wins punctuated by losses to the All Blacks and the Wallabies and that's pretty much it. It makes for comfortable punting and tipping. A lift in form from the aged stars (Habana, Matfield et al) and the Boks could go all the way.

Nickname(s): Wallabies
Image result for sleeping audience
Wallaby supporters attend another
Rugby themed poetry recital
Emblem(s): Wallaby
Rugby World Cups: 7
RWC wins: 33
RWC losses: 8
What we've learned from their website: The Wallabies have an official poem (well, an ode really) called the Golden Thread. The Rolling Maul is no expert when it comes to poetry, and while this one rhymes (always a good start for those of us coming from a level of no knowledge of these sort of things) and it's probably OK as far as poems go, is it really needed? Is it likely to make a shred of difference to the team that runs onto the park, the kids running around in the Under 6s or the bloke in the stand wearing the jersey that used to fit many years and belt notches ago?
Odds: $7
Value: A star-studded back-line. Forwards finally going forward. A win against the All Blacks in a match that wasn't a dead rubber. A great World Cup record in England. A united team behind an innovative coach with a great track record. It'll all probably end in tears, and not the good sort. For Wallabies supporters it will be difficult to not tip or punt where the heart is, but for everyone else tread with caution.

Nickname(s): Pommy Bastards (not officially)
Emblem(s): Red Rose
Rugby World Cups: 7
Image result for ruckley
Need mongrel in your front row?
RWC wins: 29
RWC losses: 11
What we've learned from their website: England are probably the only national team with an official mascot - it's Ruckley who is probably a bulldog but could just be an old retired prop given the size, the permanent dazed distant look, the big ears and the dumb look on his face.
Odds: $5.50
Value: England have one hope above all others and it's not anyone on the field but the field itself. There's a lot to be said for home ground advantage. Supposedly. It's worked twice for the All Blacks at World Cups and once for South Africa and in 1987 and 1995 you could argue that neither the All Blacks or South Africa respectively were the best team in the world at the time. So that works out at 2 from 7. Statistically, that's really nothing special so for England that really leaves them with bugger all.

Nickname(s): All Blacks
Emblem(s): Silver Fern
Rugby World Cups: 7
RWC wins: 37
RWC losses: 6
Image result for casino
For a safe bet
- always put your money on Black
What we've learned from their website: The All Blacks are more than a team, they are a brand, and a very marketable one at that. So much so that they are the only international Rugby team with their own website. Every other international team is a sub-page or pages of their national Rugby body. Sure, as far as websites go it's nothing special, just the usual boring news and player profiles and a pretty average fan zone. But interestingly the stats section is the best of any international Rugby website or part-website. So if you're looking for a reason why the All Blacks are so consistently strong the there it is - it's part of New Zealand history. Embedded in the psyche of the place. Respected. Honoured. Acknowledged. No one else comes close.
Odds: $2.30
Value: The reality is that the All Blacks at any price are a pretty safe bet. Indeed at $2.30 you could even use them as a safe hedge bet while you roll the dice on any other team that takes your fancy. From a tipping perspective just tick their box every time and you'll probably finish somewhere near the top of the table. It's not a particularly imaginative way to tip or punt, and the returns aren't likely to be great. It's that old head vs heart dilemma. So while your head should always think Black, heart is a lot more fun.

Click here for Part 1 - the Minnows
Click here for Part 2 - the 'Second Tier'