From the Rugby World Cup to Six Nations Rugby, the sport has a wonderfully long and rich history. Rugby has its early origins in the northern parts of England before the 19th century. It was in the mid 1800s that the first formal rules were penned for the sport.
Within three decades the Rugby Football Union was formed, and new clubs were springing up all over the British Isles. But the game had already touched upon a global audience with the likes of the Montevideo Cricket Club from Uruguay taking up the sport.
Rugby has come a long way since then and has branched out into the modern global game that it is today, a lot of the expansion initially fuelled the spread of the British Empire. Its influence can be seen across North America, with early forms of the game going on to evolve into Canadian Football and American Football.
This is a sport that has a little uniqueness about it because there are different forms of the game, the Rugby Union and Rugby League codes. Both have their own World Cup tournaments played every four years and that has been on the back of the game’s expansion to the likes of Canada, Romania, Japan, Germany and Spain.
There are plenty of other major tournaments besides the World Cup to look for in sports betting. One of the most famous is the Six Nations rugby where England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy compete annually for the major northern hemisphere crown.
Aside from the Rugby World Cup, the Six Nations is arguably the biggest and most well-supported international rugby tournament there is. So much so that it has directly inspired similar tournaments across different continents.
For example, it has served as a precursor to the Rugby Championship in the southern hemisphere. The annual event sees New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina battling for honours.
There is also the Americas Rugby Championship, which is informally known as the Americas’ Six Nations which has the likes of Canada, Chile, Brazil and the USA competing.
There is a third discipline of rugby that is as widespread as the other two. There is just as much history behind it as there is for the full Rugby Union and Rugby League codes. That is Rugby Sevens, a smaller and shorter version of the sport. The World Rugby Sevens Series is a tournament that is hosted around the world with common stops in England, Dubai, South Africa and Canada among other places. There is a Rugby Sevens World Cup too.
From Major League Rugby in North America to Oceania’s Super Rugby and the English Premiership, there are some high-quality club level rugby union and rugby league tournaments that provide constant exposure of the game.
The flow of matches from big rugby union events like the English Premiership and European Champions Cup provides plenty of live betting opportunities for punters. Some of the big rugby league competitions include the National Rugby League (NRL) from Australia and Great Britain's Super League.
The fantastic growth of the women's game as well has brought new professionalism and opportunities to the fore.
There is a lot of betting versatility within rugby when it comes to the variety of markets that can be found. That includes both pre-match and live betting. Aside from the match outright odds, a very popular form of rugby betting comes in the shape of handicaps.
That is because of the point scoring system within the sports codes, better allowing for margin contingencies in matches, opposed to other sports like ice hockey or soccer. Other popular angles are winning margins and try-scorer markets
There are plenty of differences in the rules, despite the codes having a shared origin, including points awarded for tries and conversions and League having 13 players against the 15 for Union. While Rugby Union can go on for long periods of play through many phases, in Rugby League, teams have a set of six plays before having to hand the ball to the opposition unless it is kicked.
The first international rugby match was Scotland v England in March of 1871. The Scottish side won by scoring two tries and a goal, compared to England's one successful try.
It is believed that rugby really took over in the mid 1800s in Canada influenced by British settlers and military presence.
Some ways to approach rugby betting are handicaps, total points and watching for live betting opportunities.