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Thanks to the increased level of convenience that it has brought to the gambling industry, online sports betting has become the go-to option for most Irish punters when it comes to Rugby and any sports. As a result, loads of online sports betting sites have come up over the years, and there are now hundreds of sites offering betting markets for Rugby Union and Rugby League alike. You are free to place your bets using any of these websites, but it is generally advisable to only use the best platforms to enjoy the best possible experience. Our team of betting experts at Irishluck have reviewed many bookmakers that offer sports betting services to Irish punters and have recommended some of the best ones on the list above.
History of Rugby in Ireland
Today, Rugby is one of Ireland's most popular team sports. Rugby has been played in Ireland since as far back as 1854, when the first rugby club in the country, the Dublin University Football Club, was established. The club was founded by some of the students at the university who had learnt the game while at English public schools. The adoption of a set of official rules came up soon after in 1868, and rugby football began to spread to other places across Ireland, which resulted in the establishment of several other clubs, many of which are still in existence today. The establishment of the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) in 1874 spelt a new era for the rugby sport in Ireland. Over the years, Ireland has had many rugby tournaments and competitions at both local and international levels in and outside the country.
Venues for Rugby in Ireland
Since the establishment of the Irish Rugby Football Union in 1879, Rugby has slowly become a favourite pastime for many in Ireland. Today, not only has Rugby become a major spectator sport in Ireland, but it is also one of the most popular sports in the entire country, with thousands of players and hundreds of clubs. As such, there are many venues where the sport takes place in different divisions all across Ireland. The table below shows some relevant information about some of these venues.
Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) & the Football Association of Ireland (FAI)
Irish Rugby Football Union
Royal Dublin Society (RDS)
Ravenhill Stadium (Kingspan Stadium)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU)
the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU)
Rugby Union vs Rugby League
One of the most important things you need to know about Rugby before you embark on rugby betting is that there are primarily two types of Rugby, namely the Rugby Union and the Rugby League. Rugby union is the most popular version that is played in most parts of Ireland. So, before we move on in this guide to rugby betting, we should discuss the difference between rugby union and rugby league. In general, both kinds of Rugby have the same concepts: rugby players have to run with the rugby ball and touch it down onto the opposing team's in-goal area to score. Players can pass the ball sideways or backwards during a game but not forward. Each team has to stop the opposing team by tackling the ball carrier to the floor. The main difference between the two rugby versions is what happens after a tackle.
In rugby union, a tackle is contested, which means that a ball carrier must release the ball as soon as a tackle has been made. Any rugby player on either team can pick up the rugby ball to continue the game. However, a tackle is uncontested in rugby league, which means the opponent must let go of the ball carrier after a successful tackle. The ball carrier will then kick the ball back to a teammate to continue the game. The team with the rugby ball is allowed to have up to six tackles to score, after which the referee will give the ball to the other team, who will also get their six tackles. Other differences between the two versions highlighted in the table below include;
Played by 15 players on each team (30 in total)
Played by 13 players on each team (26 in total)
5 points for a try
4 points for a try
3 points for penalty
2 points for penalty
3 points for a drop goal
1 point for a drop goal
How Rugby Works
The goal of a rugby game is to score more points than the opposing team. That being said, there are four primary ways to score in Rugby, whether rugby union or rugby league.
- Try: A rugby team scores a 'try' when the player puts down the rugby ball on the ground with downward pressure on the goal line, inside the opponent's in-goal area. This usually awards the highest score in the game, 5 points for union and 4 points for league.
- Conversion: After each try, rugby teams will be allowed to score extra points in the form of a conversion kick. Here, the ball will be kicked above the crossbar and between the posts.
- Penalty Kicks: In the event that a defending team commits a significant infringement, the attacking team will be given a chance to play a penalty at the spot where the infringement occurs. Like the conversion, the ball has to go through the opponent's goal post above the crossbar.
- Drop goal - A drop goal is similar to conversion and penalty kick, except it is scored by kicking the ball from the hand through the opponent’s goal post above the crossbar.
Most Popular Rugby Tournaments
As rugby union and rugby league differ in more ways than one, the tournaments and competitions involved also differ. As such, there are plenty of competitions and tournaments taking place for the two rugby types. Highlighted in the table below are some of the most popular tournaments and championship competitions in Rugby today.
No of Teams
Team with most Championship
Rugby World Cup
New Zealand & South Africa (3 titles)
Wales & England (39 titles)
European Rugby Champions Cup (Heineken Champions Cup)
Toulouse (5 titles)
Rugby League World Cup
Australia (11 titles)
National Rugby League (NRL)
Australia & New Zealand
South Sydney Rabbitohs (21 titles)
How Rugby Betting Odds Works
Generally, the go-to odds for rugby betting in Ireland is the fractional odds format, which expresses the ratio of the stake and the potential winning amount of a betting market. This fractional rugby odds format displays market prices as 2/1, 3/2, 2/7, etc. A betting market that shows a 3/1 odds price will pay €3 for every €1 staked on it, which means that a €100 wager will bring in €400 (€300 winnings + €100 returned stake). When it comes to the odds you will meet when you start betting, rugby odds is just like that of every sport. The markets with very high chances of happening will come with low rugby odds prices, and the ones with very slim chances of occurrence come with higher odds prices. We should also mention that the rugby union's odds work the same way as that of the rugby league.
Popular Rugby Betting Types
Once you have figured out how online rugby betting odds works, the next thing you need to know on your journey into rugby betting is the type of bets you can place when it comes to rugby competitions. That being said, Rugby is a professional sport played on different levels in many places across the globe, including clubs and national levels. So, the sport's popularity in Ireland and other areas is almost comparable to basketball, soccer, and other popular sports. In addition to international competitions like Rugby World Cup and the Six Nations, continental club competitions like European Rugby Challenge Cup and the European Rugby Champions Cup, there are many domestic rugby tournaments and leagues in Ireland. Other countries such as South Africa, the UK, Wales, USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc. also practice this sport and often participate in these tournaments and leagues. As a result, the number of rugby online betting markets open to Irish punters is quite vast. You can place a wager on many aspects of a rugby game, from who will win the game to the winning margin of the goals between the two teams and others. Our team of betting experts at Irishluck has taken a deeper look at what the rugby online betting markets look like for punters in Ireland. So, we will look at some of the most popular online rugby betting markets that Irish punters can place bets on.
Match Betting is by far the most common type of bet you will find across most sports betting, and rugby betting is not an exception. It is the simplest form of betting, and it involves making wagers on the eventual outcome of a rugby match. You will rarely find a bookmaker that doesn't offer this betting market to its players. There are two types of match betting: win and draw betting.
- Win Betting: In win betting, a punter will place a wager on a specific team to win the game. In this case, a punter will only win the bet when their selection(s) wins the game, and they will lose if the game ends up as a loss or a tie.
- Draw Betting: As is with most sporting events, a rugby match will end in one team beating the other or a draw. So, another betting market that Irish punters can place in rugby sports betting is making wagers on the outcome of a rugby match ending in a tie. Since draws are not seen frequently in rugby matches, this market usually comes with some impressive rugby odds.
Handicap betting is similar to match betting, except it comes with more favourable odds for punters. Typically, most sportsbooks will have a clear favourite for any rugby match, especially when one competitor is clearly stronger than the opponent. So, most sportsbooks would offer small odds for these favourites, making it a must for a punter to risk a lot of money to win anything sizeable. Handicap betting, also known as spread betting, takes care of this downside for players. In these markets, bookmakers level the playing field by giving an advantage to the underdog and a disadvantage to the favourite, called handicap. This handicap must be overcome before a punter can win when they bet on handicaps. For example, there is a six nations rugby match between Ireland and Wales, and a bookmaker offers a market as highlighted below:
- Ireland (-12)
- Wales (+12)
In this instance, Ireland is the clear favourite and is more likely to win the match, while Wales is the underdog. If you wager on Ireland to win using the handicap, you will only win the wager if Ireland ends up as the winner of the match and wins the game with 12 points more than Wales. On the other hand, if you bet on Wales to win, you will win the wager if Wales’ points are more than Ireland's after 12 points are added to it.
Another famous betting market that Irish punters can access when it comes to online rugby betting is betting on the total combined score of a rugby game. Before starting a match, each bookmaker will develop a hypothetical number for the total number of scores that the two rugby teams will score. They will also create odds on whether the two teams' combined points will be over or under the hypothetical edges.For instance, a bookmaker offered an Over/Under (40) market for the Rugby World Cup 2019 match between South Africa and England. If a punter had bet on Over, they would have won the wager as the game ended with a 32-12 victory for South Africa, making the total points 44, which is more than the predetermined 40 points. A wager on the ‘Under’ market would have naturally led to a loss.
Outright Result Betting
As is with most sports, rugby betting is not limited to placing bets on the outcome of individual matches in a league or championship competition. Punters can also make wagers on the overall results of tournaments as a whole. You can do this with outright bets. Here, punters can place wagers on who you think will win a tournament or championship. This means that you can make a wager on which team you think will win the next Rugby World Cup, the European Challenge Cup, the Six Nations, or any other rugby tournament. The best part is that not only can you make this wager before the start of the competition, many sportsbooks also offer their players the opportunity of placing outright bets even when the tournament is already underway. However, if the tournament is already underway, the odds may fluctuate. This is because a lot can happen to a team, from a rugby player getting injured or traded to a disbalance in team unity and other variables. Odds will vary as these variables change.
Winning Margin Betting
You will agree that rugby games usually end in more win-loss matches than draws. When one team wins against another, there is always a difference in scores between the two teams, called the winning margin. The market that capitalizes on this aspect of rugby matches is the winning margin betting market. In the winning margin market, a punter will predict which team will win the match and the margin to which the team will beat the opponent. As accurately predicting such bets can be challenging, even for experts, this market usually comes with great odds prices.
Other Popular Betting Types
Aside from the bet types, we have just explained, Irish punters can use many other bet types when placing bets on rugby games. However, we should mention that the availability of many of these bet types often depends on the bookmaker you are using and the popularity of the rugby event. Highlighted below are a few of these markets:
- Total Points Odd/Even: Involves punters placing wagers on whether the total points scored by both teams would be an odd or even number. This is a 50-50 market.
- To win both halves: Involves placing a wager on a particular team to be in the lead in both halves of a rugby game.
- Half time/full time: This involves placing a wager on which team will be leading a rugby match come half time and full time. You can place a bet on the same team to win both halves or one team to win the first half and the other team to win the game (full time)
- Team to score first: As the name explained, this involves placing wagers on which team will score the first points in a rugby game.
- Team to score first try: This involves making predictions on which team will score the first try in a rugby game.
- Team to score last: Like the team to score first, this market involves placing wagers on the team that will score last in a rugby game.
- First scoring play: It involves placing bets on how the first score in the game will be scored. This market has three potential outcomes: a penalty, a try, and a drop goal. The number of Tries involves punters predicting the total number of tries they think will occur in a rugby match.
How to Place Rugby Bets
Now that you know how the rugby betting odds work and the popular rugby betting markets available to you, we should look at how to bet on Rugby. Essentially, there are two main ways an Irish punter can place a bet on Rugby, whether you are betting on Rugby League or Rugby Union. One is by visiting the shops of land-based betting operators like Betfair and Paddy Power. The second method is naturally through online betting, which has become the go-to option for most Irish punters today. So, this section of our rugby betting guide will cover the step by step process of how any Irish punter can bet on rugby events:
- Sign up with a sports betting site if you don't already have one.
- Deposit money into your player’s account.
- Make your selection of rugby matches and markets you want to bet on.
- Do a final check through to make sure everything is in order.
- Add your stake and submit the betting slip.
How We Found Best Sites for Betting on Rugby
Like horseracing, football, and other sports, hundreds of sports betting websites offer rugby betting to Irish punters, and it is only natural that some sites will be better than others. As a result, it is vital that rugby betting enthusiasts, especially newbies, be selective when deciding on where to use in betting on Rugby. Thankfully, our team of betting experts has a wealth of experience in this matter, so we will give you some tips on what you need to consider to find the best betting site for you.
- Licensing and Reputation: The first thing you need to consider before you choose a betting site is the legitimacy of the site and the reputation it has built with other punters. Is the site licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), the Gambling Commission of Great Britain (UKGC), or any other respected licensing and regulatory authorities? Does the site have a good or bad reputation on the market? These, and others, are the questions you need to have answers to before you join a site.
- The availability of Rugby on the Sportsbook: While Rugby is an international sport that any online sportsbook that is worth its salt provides to its players, not all sportsbooks offer it. So, before you sign up with an online casino, you should ensure that it has betting markets for both Rugby League and Rugby Union.
- Betting Markets: Any expert in rugby betting would tell you that when it comes to rugby betting markets, some sportsbooks offer more markets than others. And the more markets a sports betting site offers, the more betting opportunities its customers will have. So, another thing you need to consider before deciding on a site is how many betting markets the site usually offers when it comes to rugby betting.
- Competitive Odds: You need to know about rugby betting because rugby odds vary from one bookmaker to another. As such, some bookmakers usually provide their players with impressive odds compared to others. So, before you decide where you want to play, make sure that the site has competitive odds.
- Extra Features: Many online sports betting sites today come with features that assist players in having an easier and more enjoyable time when betting. This includes but is not limited to Bet Builder, Cash out feature, and Live Streaming services. So, you can target the sites that come with these features when deciding where to play.
- Bonuses and Promotions: Bonuses and promotions can be an excellent way for players to have some extra amount of fun when betting on rugby games. So, you can also consider the sites that offer generous incentives to their players.
Rugby Betting Tips and Strategy
Just like most sports betting, no strategy guarantees that a punter will end up with a win when they place a bet on a rugby game. This is because rugby games can also be unpredictable, and when you predict that something will happen during a rugby competition, the opposite could prove true. However, there are certain things that a player can do to improve their chances of winning when they place bets on Rugby. Our team of betting experts at Irishluck has extensively researched this matter and provided a few of these rugby betting tips that you need to consider when betting on Rugby.
- Understand how Rugby, rugby betting odds, and rugby betting market works: Like any sport, the first step toward achieving any substantial success in rugby betting is understanding how everything works. Understanding all the intricacies of how Rugby works and how the betting markets work will help any Irish punter to have a better chance of winning.
- Study the current and historical form and performance of the teams: It goes without saying that researching the present condition and previous results of rugby teams can give a punter an edge when it comes to making accurate predictions on the outcome of rugby games. This is something that many rugby betting tipsters use to predict the outcome of rugby matches.
- Study the teams’ play styles: Most rugby teams often have a playing style that they tend to play. Knowing what style two opposing teams will play can give you an edge in predicting some of the events that will most likely happen during a game, making for some interesting betting opportunities.
- Take advantage of handicap markets: Handicap markets offer an excellent way for Irish punters to enjoy favourites’ markets, which usually come with low-value odds. So, if the handicap is one that you think is achievable, you can have some fun betting on handicap markets.
- Pay attention to everything, including rugby news and anything that might give you details that could be helpful when betting on Rugby.
- Keep emotions away from rugby betting and only place bets based on the chances of winning.
- Stick with the markets you understand and don't place a wager on a market just because the odds look attractive.
To sum up, betting on Rugby is undoubtedly an exciting pastime that keeps attracting thousands of bettors. If you are a newbie, make sure you understand the rugby game, how rugby betting works, what type of markets are available to you, and other basics before you start betting on the sport.
Irish Rugby Betting FAQs
Yes. Rugby is popular in Ireland because the country is one of the first countries to accept the sport and because Ireland has one of the best rugby scenes globally.
Yes, a few things differentiate rugby union from rugby league. Some of these differences include varying scores for try, penalty, drop goals, and how tackling is done.
Yes. As is with most sports, punters can place bets on rugby games.
Rugby betting works the same as any form of sports betting. Punters make predictions on what they believe will be the outcome of a match and place wagers on the available markets for their predictions.
Outright betting involves punters making wagers on the outcome of a rugby tournament or championship competition as a whole instead of individual events. This can be in the form of the outright winner, Top 4 teams to finish, the team with the highest goals and a lot more.
Handicap betting, also known as spread betting, is a way bookmakers make rugby sporting events more balanced by assigning a negative handicap to the favourite and a positive handicap to the underdog. This improves the odds that punters can enjoy.
There are four main ways to score in Rugby: try, conversion, penalty, and drop goal.
Yes. Many bookmakers online today are offering Rugby live betting services to Irish punters, thereby giving them the chance to place their wagers based on what they observe while the live-action is ongoing.
The South Africa team is currently the number one team in the world rankings.
However, New Zealand has been the team that has held the number one title the most consistently since the world rankings were introduced in 2003.
Not really. Like most sports betting, there are no special strategies or tips that guarantee winnings when betting on Rugby.
However, there are certain practices that punters can try out to improve their winning chances.
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