Rugby Union International Previews, Predictions & Betting Tips
International Rugby Union
Rugby Union began in 1823 when William Webb Ellis picked up a rugby ball at a school in England. The school was the first to start the game and the Rugby World Cup is named the Webb Ellis trophy after the famed school student.
International Rugby Union matches commenced in 1871 with England clashing with Scotland in Edinburgh. Rugby Union proved to be extremely popular, spreading from Great Britain and Ireland during 1895 to many other countries under control of the British Empire.
International Rugby Union matches are currently played between 143 nations around the world. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and France were the first exponents of the game outside of the United Kingdom with other countries including Fiji, Argentina, Samoa, Tonga and Japan adopting the game as a national sport.
The competing countries are governed by the World Rugby Board, with the highlight event being the Rugby World Cup for the eligible nations in tier one and tier two. The first official Rugby World Cup was held in 1987 in New Zealand.
Played every four years, New Zealand won the inaugural tournament and have established themselves as the number one side in the world, winning three World Cups, the most of any tier one country.
Two major competitions take place annually with the Six Nations Championship held in the northern hemisphere and the Rugby Championship held between countries in the South.
The Six Nations Championship comprises of England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy. The Rugby Championship is the equivalent Championship in the southern hemisphere and involves Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina.
In June teams from the northern hemisphere will tour the southern nations, while in November the southern hemisphere teams will travel to Europe to play all the members of the Six Nations. A win against all six European countries is referred to as a ‘Grand Slam’.
The New Zealand All Blacks are currently ranked the number one side in the world, winning the last two consecutive World Cup tournaments.
Men's Top 10 World Rugby Rankings as of 8 October 2018
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