Rugby Union, or more commonly just referred to as Rugby, has its history in 19th Century England, invented in its current form at Rugby School.

Although it started out played in universities and in schools in the mid-1800’s, Rugby quickly spread around the UK, Europe and further afield.

In 1871, the first international Rugby match was held, England vs Scotland.

The popularity of Rugby soon went global, with southern hemisphere countries like New Zealand, South Africa and Australia all coming to play in the northern hemisphere in the early 20th Century.

In England, Rugby is widely regarded as an establishment sport and played mostly by the upper and middle classes, mainly due to its popularity in public schools. In recent years, Rugby has become popular in comprehensive schools, breaking down these barriers somewhat.

Rugby Competitions

There are several international rugby tournaments, some fully inclusive while others are split by hemisphere.

The Six Nations Championship is an annual competition for England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales, most recently won by Ireland after finishing on level points with England, but a higher match points difference.

The southern hemisphere has its own annual international tournament with The Rugby Championship.  Previously known as the Tri-Nations and featuring Rugby superpowers Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, the Rugby Championship expanded in 2011 to include Argentina.

Without a doubt, however, the highlight of the Rugby calendar is the Rugby World Cup.

The first world cup was in 1987 hosted by Australia and New Zealand and won by the latter.

It wasn’t until 2003 that a team from the northern hemisphere won the World Cup, when Jonny Wilkinson led England to victory by beating the hosts Australia 20-17 in the final.

South Africa and New Zealand won the next two world cups and in 2015 Rugby has come home.

The 2015 Rugby World Cup sees England host 19 other nations in the six week competition. The competition format is a group stage, followed by a knock out stage for the winners and runners up of the 4 groups.

The event culminates with the final on Saturday 31st October, played at Twickenham

Betting on Rugby

Like with any other sports, rugby betting offers numerous markets for you. Whether you want to have a punt on the outright winner, the tournament finalists, the group winners or any individual match outcome, our top 5 sports betting sites will provide you ample opportunity to put your money where your mouth is.

Other exciting markets are top scorer or you can even bet on more quirky things like USA to qualify from their group, or even win a game at all.


There’s no denying that Rugby is an extremely exciting game, and as with most games, it’s made even more fun by having a little wager. Check out the bookies listed above and get the best markets from the best rugby betting site so you can enjoy the World Cup that little bit more.