These Rugby World Cup Pool Games Are Crucial – How Should You Bet on Them?
By Adam Haynes
| October 9, 2019
The 2019 Rugby World Cup has not disappointed thus far.
Unfortunately, not every nation can hang around in Japan for too much longer. Teams such as the USA, Canada, Namibia, and Russia will be saying sayonara to the Land of the Rising Sun at the expense of most of the Tier 1 teams.
However, not everything has been decided just yet. The battle for places in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals is still on in Pool A, with Japan, Ireland, and Scotland all still capable of qualifying.
Pool B should see New Zealand and South Africa qualify, in that order, while the winner of Pool C will be decided by the winner of the England vs. France contest this weekend.
Wales and Australia will proceed to the next round, but the order in Pool D is not set in stone yet.
There’s just a small number of games yet to be played, so I’ve provided my predictions and betting picks for Japan vs. Scotland and other key remaining games of the Rugby World Cup. Furthermore, I will be highlighting who will top their pools when these games are over.
All Rugby World Cup odds in this piece come courtesy of Betway. Keep in mind that the odds are subject to change.
Let’s start with Friday’s key Pool D match between Australia and Georgia.
Australia vs. Georgia
Australia to Win-3334
Georgia to Win+1400
At stake: Top position in Pool D. The winner of the pool would likely avoid England in the quarterfinals
Australia’s only loss of the 2019 Rugby World Cup was to Wales last month.
That game was pretty much always going to decide who topped the group, even though Fiji was fancied by some to cause an upset. As it stands, Australia has done enough to progress, providing they beat Georgia on Friday, October 11.
Michael Cheika’s side was relatively unfancied heading into the tournament but will be confident of going all the way once they reach the knockout rounds.
With players like David Pocock, Michael Hooper, and Kurtley Beale named in the team to play Georgia, Australia has sent a message out that they are not exactly taking this game lightly.
It looks pretty inconceivable that Australia will blow this game. The bookies’ odds on Australia to beat Georgia are -3334, which shows the expected gulf in class on the day.
Georgia will be vying to leave Japan with something to celebrate. They are currently priced at odds of +1400 to win. A victory for the European nation would be seen as arguably the biggest shock of the tournament so far.
I can’t see anything other than a convincing win for The Wallabies here.
England vs. France
England to Win-500
France to Win+450
At stake: Top position in Pool C. The winner of this game will likely avoid the current Six Nations champions, Wales, in the quarterfinals
What a clash we have here between England and France on Saturday, October 12.
The old enemies will be locking horns in a bid to finish top of Pool C and avoid a clash with Wales. I believe that both Eddie Jones and Jacques Brunel will prefer to face Australia next week, so it’s all to play for here.
Both teams will be putting everything they have into this game. You can expect to see the strongest teams possible for both England and France, given that this game will effectively be a punch-out for who takes on Australia.
England and France are unbeaten in the tournament so far. England has looked the better of the two, winning all of their matches with relative ease and rarely being tested at all.
France, on the other hand, survived an early onslaught by the USA to pull away in the latter stages of the game. They just scraped past Tonga by 23 points to 21, too.
The funny thing about France is that you never truly know what kind of team will show up. On their day, they are a solid test team capable of beating any other nation. When they underperform, however, they are appalling to watch.
France’s odds of +450 to win versus England are very appealing. I have flirted with the idea of taking them, given that there is value in them. I mean, one red card for England, and they would have a great chance to win.
Still, I find it hard to believe that England will lose such an important Rugby World Cup game. This team will not want to face Wales in the quarterfinals.
Ireland vs. Samoa
Ireland to Win-3300
Samoa to Win +1600
At stake: For Ireland, qualification to the quarterfinals. For Samoa, nothing more than pride and, perhaps, a big scalp
Ireland opened their 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign with an assured victory over Scotland in their first game.
Since then, things haven’t exactly gone according to plan.
A loss to the hosts, Japan, in their second game has left the Irish in the unenviable position of needing a big win over Samoa while hoping other results go their way.
Ireland will qualify for the knockout rounds with a bonus-point win on Saturday. If they fail to score four tries or more, then they run the risk of potentially being knocked out in the pool stages.
Given that Joe Schmidt’s team entered this tournament as the #1 ranked outfit in the world, such a scenario would be seen as an embarrassment. To say this game is a case of do or die would be an understatement — Ireland must perform.
Last time out, Ireland labored to a victory over minnows Russia. They did get the bonus point, but the performance was viewed as unsatisfactory by pundits and fans alike.
Samoa cannot be underestimated in any way, shape, or form. If the team fails to get off on the front foot and is beaten in terms of physicality and fitness, there is every chance that they will be heading home at the end of the week.
A side like Ireland should win this game. But will it be enough to prevent either Japan or Scotland from progressing at their expense?
It’s highly unlikely that they will lose this World Cup game.
Japan vs. Scotland
Japan to Win +110
Scotland to Win -118
At stake: A place in the quarterfinals for both teams is up for grabs
There is a lot at stake in this game.
Japan will be praying that their beloved Cherry Blossoms can beat Scotland and take the country to its first-ever Rugby World Cup quarterfinal.
As it stands, there are many Pool A permutations that could come into play between Japan, Ireland, and Scotland. However, one of the most interesting is that if Japan finishes this game with two bonus points, they could still top Pool A.
The host nation’s win over Ireland really blew this group wide open. Ireland’s dominant victory over Scotland looked to put them in pole position to qualify, while Scotland would have been targeting this game as a shootout for second place.
But no, things have not gone according to plan at all. And if the unpredictable nature of this tournament carries into this fixture, we could have more surprises to come.
Japan will be, first and foremost, focused entirely on putting Gregor Townsend’s men to the sword. Victory is all that really matters for Japan, as it will guarantee that they will progress in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
If Scotland is to have even a mathematical chance of staying in the tournament beyond the group stages, they will need to win. In fact, they will probably require a bonus point to give themselves any chance.
Of course, Japan and Scotland will have the benefit of each knowing what they have to do in this game to progress. Ireland’s match against Samoa will have already been decided, meaning that things will be much clearer.
But don’t forget that there is a chance that Typhoon Hagibis could see Ireland vs. Samoa abandoned. If that happened, the game would be declared a draw, as per Rugby World Cup rules, which could effectively knock Ireland out.
Ireland’s assistant coach Andy Farrell says that there is a contingency plan in place to reschedule the game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that doesn’t happen if it benefits a particular team.
Anyway, tongue in cheek conspiracy theories aside, I’m going for Japan in this one.
Who Qualifies/Tops the Pools?
Below, I’ve laid out my predictions for the Rugby World Cup pools.
New Zealand and South Africa should finish first and second in Pool B, in such order.
I see Japan topping Pool A, with Ireland finishing second.
Pool C will see England finish first and France second, while Pool D will be topped by Wales with Australia qualifying as runner up.
Whatever happens, the drama is surely not going to ease off anytime soon. The knockout stages should provide us with some incredible rugby, so I hope you are prepared for what is to come.