Rugby Union is gaining popularity across the globe. It’s a combination of speed, strength, skill and brute force that is hard to beat, so it’s no surprise that rugby is making an impact in new territories for the sport in North America, Africa, and Asian. Asll eyes in the rugby world are on Asia at the moment, as Japan is currently hosting the pinnacle of the sport, the 2019 Rugby World Cup. There have already been plenty of thrills, spills, upsets and high emotion, but as we head to the knock-out stages, who will bring their A-game and lift that trophy in Yokohoma on November 2nd?

New Zealand

There is one team more than any other who is associated with the Rugby Union World Cup: New Zealand. The All Blacks have been triumphant on four of the eight occasions in which it has been held, including on home soil in 2011 and England in 2015. That means they’re aiming for an unprecedented 3rd World Cup in a row, and they’ve sauntered through the group phase in fine, menacing style. Typical of this was their 71-9 thrashing of Namibia, where three players picked up a brace of tries, and their shut-out of Canada, where they scored 63 unanswered points. They will soon face much stiffer opposition, of course, but who would bet against the All Blacks going once more all the way to the final?


England finished second behind Wales in this year’s Six Nations Championship, but after some good results in friendlies, their confidence was high heading into Japan. They still retain hopes of adding to their sole World Cup victory, gained in dramatic style in Australia in 2003 when a legendary drop from Johnny Wilkinson in extra time sealed the match, but their performances have been a little lackluster so far. They have yet to face a real test, thanks partly to Typhoon Habigis leading to the cancellation of the game against France, so could they up their game when they face fellow title contenders?


The host nation may not have the tradition of success in Rugby Union that some more illustrious teams have, but they make up for it with huge pride and desire to succeed. Roared on by a passionate and partisan crowd they have already exceeded expectations by topping their group above Ireland and Scotland, setting up a mouth-watering quarter-final clash against South Africa. Japan has shown how underdogs can become top dogs, which makes this World Cup such an enticing competition to bet on. A £30 Toalsbet bonus code from Freebet Up lets you bet on the Rugby World Cup and other leading sporting events, so if you try, you could convert a free bet into real winnings. You can also read reviews on the Freebet Up site if you want to try a different online bookie.

Despite having to cope with weather-induced cancellations, this World Cup has already been a sporting highlight. As well as the three contenders above, could Australia rediscover their form, or could Wales demonstrate just how they became Six Nations Champions? there are many exciting questions to be asked and in early November we’ll get the definitive answer.

The Boston Red Sox have acquired right-hander Andrew Cashner as well as cash considerations from the Baltimore Orioles. The deal, which was announced by the Red Sox on Saturday, sees infield prospect Noelberth Romero and outfield prospect Elio Prado go the other way.

Cashner, 32, was arguably Baltimore’s top pitcher this season, having gone 9-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 17 starts. He has been leading the American League in ERA since June 1 with a 1.41 average and has an ERA+ of 100 across parts of 10 big-league seasons over the course of his career. Prior to his move, the pitcher saw his trade value rise and his performances since the beginning of June include five consecutive quality starts.

The veteran’s last two outings before the All-Star break were his best as he only allowed three hits in seven innings in each while one run was allowed between the two. He’s limited left-handed hitters to a batting average of .182, a .499 OPS and a solitary home run

The Texas native is now expected to be placed as the fifth starter behind Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Eduardo Rodriguez. And his arrival will see to it that Nathan Eovaldi plays as a high-leverage receiver when he returns from the elbow injury that caused him to undergo a procedure in April.

The Red Sox have struggled with the fifth spot in their rotation since Eovaldi got sidelined and the move should take that pressure off. If the team makes the playoffs, he will give them extra depth in the bullpen.

“Definitely gives us the improvement in that fifth spot, which we’ve scuffled for such a long time this year,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski declared. “He’s a guy that’s taken the ball and given six, seven innings on a consistent basis, so we like a lot of the things about him. We think he makes us better.”

Cashner is still owed a remaining $9.5 million in salary this season. He’s set to become a free agent at the end of the campaign but has a $10 million team option for 2020 in his contract. If he reaches a total of 360 innings for the 2018 and 2019 seasons combined, then that team option will be converted to a player option. That doesn’t seem very likely, though, as he would need 110 2/3 innings over the remainder of the regular season.

William Hill has odds of +1600.00 on the Red Sox winning the American League this year but the New York Yankees are favored at +170.00 with Betfair while Paddy Power has the Houston Astros at +200.00. Check out https://www.onlinesportbetting.ca/baseball-betting/ for the best baseball bets, free offers and new signup deals.

Where the American League East is concerned, 888sport has the Red Sox at +1600.00 to come out on top. The Yankees are at -1400.00 tith Betfair, the Tampa Bay Rays are at +1600.00 with William Hill and the Toronto Blue Jays are considered longshots by Unibet, who have odds of +300000.00 on them emerging as the division’s top side.

The Red Sox won the World Series last year but William Hill has them at +2800.00 to pull it off this time around. Favorites, the Los Angeles Dodgers are at +275.00 with Paddy Power.

Whether or not Cashner’s arrival will help Boston retain their title is left to be seen but his impact on hitters cannot be discounted. They should find things less troubling when Eovaldi comes back, as long as everyone else remains healthy.

We might not always sure when we are seeing history unfolding before our very eyes. Consider this: When the legendary Red Rum set off in 1974 to claim his second Grand National crown, he didn’t even start the race as favourite or second favourite. Obviously now, we look back and think of the three-time winner as a once-in-a-lifetime horse, but back then the money was going on the SP favourite Scout and the brilliant L’Escargot. 

That day in 1974, Red Rum had a starting price of 11/1, which is around three times the current price for the horse aiming to emulate him at the 2019 Grand National – Tiger Roll. The 2018 winner has been in blistering form over the last few months, taking both the Boyne Hurdle (a surprise to many) and the Glenfarclas Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. His current best odds are 4/1 with Ladbrokes and Betfair, but some bookies are as low as 7/2. A price so short is practically unheard of in the lead up to a Grand National. 

Four-time Cheltenham winner exudes class

However, Tiger Roll is a special horse. He has won four times now at the Cheltenham Festival, putting him up there with great names like Arkle, Istabraq and the modern colossus Altior. Like Red Rum, Tiger Roll might just be a once in a generation horse, something trainer Gordon Elliott seems acutely aware of. If you look back at his latest Cheltenham win, you will see a horse in complete command of the field, conserving energy for most part of the race and slamming on the accelerator at the opportune moment. With around half a mile to go, there was no doubt who the winner would be, something quite rare in these long-distance horse racing events. 

Of course, if winning multiple Grand Nationals was easy, we would be able to compare Tiger Roll to many more horses than just Red Rum. But, it’s a difficult, difficult task and Tiger Roll’s victory is by no means assured. There are lots of decent chances in the race, even if you are thinking about each-way value. Don’t forget, many bookies will pay several extra places in the race, so there is value out there outside of Tiger Roll. 

Vintage Clouds looks a smart each-way bet

Indeed, you can get free bets for Grand National runners from a range of bookmakers right now, and there are lots of interesting candidates to use them on. Lake View Lad and Vintage Clouds, for example, are available at 20/1 and 16/1 from Coral. Both horses were placed in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham and look like very good shots to nab a place at Aintree – at the very least. 

There is also plenty of money being taken for the second-favourite – Anibale Fly, who finished second to Al Boum Photo in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. 12/1 is the best price on offer from William Hill and a couple of other bookies. In terms of bigger prices, you can get 33/1 for Walk In the Mill, who won the Becher’s Chase at Aintree in the Autumn. One for Arthur, who won the National in 2017, is also available at 33/1 with most outlets. 

This does, however, seem like Tiger Roll’s race to lose. It’s a question of whether you feel the short-price is worth the risk. On current form, you would have to say it certainly is worth it – a horse in the form of his life and poised to make history. 

On reflection, the Six Nations is arguably one of the most passionate sporting events played across the globe. 

Every February, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy all contest for the Six Nations crown, but perhaps the most poignant feature of the tournament is the delivery of the national anthems beforehand. 

Similar to other sports but certainly not as fanatical as ruby union, the national anthems provide a jubilant atmosphere as it serves to lift the fans and players before the first whistle. 

Here, we take a look through each nation’s anthem ahead of the Six Nations opener on February 1st, with Betfair providing over ten markets to punt on. 

England – God Save the Queen

Although the exact origin still remains unknown, composer John Bull is thought to have written ‘God Save the Queen’ in 1619. It’s also the national anthem of New Zealand and Bermuda but will always be renowned as the United Kingdom’s. 

God save our gracious Queen!

Long live our noble Queen!

God save the Queen!

Send her victorious

Happy and glorious

Long to reign over us

God save the Queen!


The current Six Nations holders can not only boast a world class squad, they can provide two anthems as well. The traditional version is called A Soldier’s Song and dates back to 1910, although it wasn’t until 1926 it became the national anthem. 

Soldiers are we,

whose lives are pledged to Ireland,

Some have come

from a land beyond the wave,

Sworn to be free,

no more our ancient sireland,

Shall shelter the despot or the slave.

Tonight we man the gap of danger,

In Erin’s cause, come woe or weal,

’Mid cannon’s roar and rifles’ peal,

We’ll chant a soldier’s song 

The second anthem is in Gaelic, and is called ‘Ireland’s Call’ which was written with the ideology of recognising a fractured Ireland. It was first used for the 1995 Rugby World Cup. 

Come the day and come the hour,

Come the power and the glory!

We have come to answer our country’s call,

From the four proud provinces of Ireland

Ireland, Ireland,

Together standing tall!

Shoulder to shoulder,

We’ll answer Ireland’s call!

Scotland – Flower of Scotland

Although this isn’t the official national anthem, Flower of Scotland has been used at a variety of sporting events including rugby union. Roy Williamson from the group the Corries penned the lyrics, in reference to the Scots victory over Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. 

O Flower of Scotland,

When will we see

Your like again,

That fought and died for,

Your wee bit hill and glen,

And stood against him,

Proud Edward’s army,

And sent him homeward,

To think again.

Those days are past now,

And in the past

they must remain,

But we can still rise now,

And be the nation again,

That stood against him,

Proud Edward’s army,

And sent him homeward,

To think again.

Wales – Land of my Fathers

The Welsh are arguably the most passionate fans when it comes to rugby, and their national anthem will be sure to give you goose bumps when sung in full voice. It originates from Evan James and the tune is composed by his son James James. It was first sung at a rugby match in 1905, some 114 years ago. 

The old land of my fathers is dear to me,

Land of bards and singers, famous men of renown;

Her brave warriors, very splendid patriots,

For freedom shed their blood.

Nation [or country], Nation, I am faithful to my Nation.

While the sea [is] a wall to the pure, most loved land,

O may the old language endure. 

Italy – Brothers of Italy

Written in 1847 by student Goffredo Mameli, Brothers of Italy has been the national anthem since 1946 when Italy became a republic after World War Two. The Six Nations whipping boys did have various other anthems throughout the 18th century but Brothers of Italy has always remained popular. 

Brothers of Italy,

Italy has woken,

Bound Scipio’s helmet

Upon her head.

Where is Victory?

Let her bow down,

For God created her

Slave of Rome.


Let us join in a cohort,

We are ready to die.

We are ready to die,

Italy has called.

Let us join in a cohort,

We are ready to die.

We are ready to die,

Italy has called! Yes!

France – La Marseillaise

Penned in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, La Marseillaise was quickly adopted by French revolutionists and became the national anthem three years later. The song acquired its nickname quite simply as protesters would travel from Marseille to Paris to support the revolution. 

Arise, children of the Fatherland,

The day of glory has arrived!

Against us tyranny’s

Bloody banner is raised, (repeat)

Do you hear, in the countryside,

The roar of those ferocious soldiers?

They’re coming right into your arms

To cut the throats of your sons, your women!

To arms, citizens,

Form your battalions,

Let’s march, let’s march!

Lest an impure blood

Soak our fields!

Form is everything in horse racing, or so we are told. It is, of course, the first thing any punter looks at when picking a runner. However, there are many instances when a major festival is the arena for rediscovering that form – a shot at redemption. The winter national hunt schedule threw up some interesting winners who will surely march on to Cheltenham as big favourites. However, there were a few head-scratching moments from big names, some of whom certainly have the class to bounce back at the Festival (12th – 15th March). Here are five to keep in mind: 

Might Bite: 

To say Nicky Henderson’s 9-year-old had a poor winter is an understatement. Last place in the Betfair Chase was put down to early season rust, but a 7th place when trying to retain the King George VI Chase really rattled the betting markets. Might Bite is now 16/1 for the Gold Cup with Betfair – four times his SP when he finished runner up last year. The question is whether he had a bad couple of races or if there is a permanent decline? 16/1 is enough to take a chance on the former for what is undoubtedly a Gold Cup-winning worthy horse. 


It’s really difficult to know what to think about Faugheen over the last couple of years. He disappoints, then does just enough for punters to think he could get back to the top of his game again. William Hill’s favourite for the Stayers’ Hurdle is Penhill at 7/1 (some bookies have opted for Apple’s Jade). But it’s still worth remembering that Faugheen, currently available at 12/1, whipped Penhill in the Irish Stayers’ Hurdle just last April. It’s a conundrum, but right now you can catch special Cheltenham betting offers, like free bets, and Faugheen might just be the perfect type to use one on. 


If you checked the Cheltenham ante post betting just a month ago, Annamix was the favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. In a way, it was a bit strange, because the five-year-old had never run a competitive race in the UK or Ireland (a sole run in France yielded a second-place finish). However, Willie Mullins and owners the Ricci Family know a superstar when they see one, so not many eyebrows were raised. A second-place finish in Limerick came on his debut, with Annamix looking a little clumsy and unsure. 20/1 is offered from Paddy Power right now. You are going to the reputation of the trainer and owners, but they have delivered time and time again in the past. 


Kalashnikov isn’t the perfect horse, but the five-year-old is ultra-consistent (six wins and three seconds from nine starts) in his short career. Switching to chasing in this winter hasn’t been bad, with two wins from three, yet there was disappointment when finishing runner up to Dynamite Dollars in the Wayward Lad Novices Chase last month. Kalashnikov is available at 7/1 for the Arkle with Betfair, whereas Dynamite Dollars and Lalor are at 15/2 and 5/1 respectively. It could be a cracking race, one where Kalashnikov could reassert his brilliance. 

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Footpad had a fairly terrible winter, falling in one race and failing to beat Simply Ned in another. However, only Altior had a higher rating as a chaser from Timeform over the last year. The problem, of course, is that he might face the impeccable Altior in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Altior is given 1/2 odds, with Footpad at 9/1 (Betfair) and it’s hard to see anyone get close to Henderson’s super horse. However, if Footpad goes in any other race – Betway offers 8/1 for the Ryanair Chase – Footpad is worth a punt.  

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC

It’s been quite a ride for Conor McGregor over the last couple of years. He climbed to the very top of MMA again, winning our respect by becoming a two-weight champion. He took part in a much-derided, money-spinning boxing venture against Floyd Mayweather. He got arrested after attacking a bus full of UFC fighters, due to a perceived ‘beef’ with his upcoming opponent.

That opponent is Khabib Nurmagomedov, a Russian fighter who just happens to hold the longest undefeated streak in MMA history, with 26 straight victories. The pair will clash at UFC 229 for the UFC Lightweight Championship, scheduled for the 6th October at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas. The fight didn’t need the sideshow of McGregor’s arrest, it was going to be a huge draw regardless.

McGregor more than a smart mouth Read the rest of this entry »

The Toronto Raptors and the Cleveland Cavaliers should have a date for second round of the NBA playoffs, but I’m not quite sure who’s going to ask who out. The Raptors, who had the Eastern Conference’s best record by four games and claimed home court advantage thought the conference finals, have struggled with the eighth seeded Washington Wizards. Then there’s the underachieving Cleveland Cavaliers who with the highest payroll in the NBA, have looked like a middle of the pack squad against their Central Division foes, the Indiana Pacers.
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Anthony Joshua is the most talked about fighter in heavyweight boxing right now; but that does not mean he is the only contender to potentially be the next undisputed champion of the world. Joshua may be the favourite to be the first man to accomplish the feat since Lennox Lewis. But there are two others who are currently in the frame; one is WBC champion Deontay Wilder, the other is Joseph Parker who Joshua fights on 31 March 2018.
The victor from this bout will unify the IBF, WBA and WBO titles. Joshua is odds on with the bookmakers to achieve this. But, it’s not a good idea to rule out the young Kiwi boxer.
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On Sunday night, seventh ranked heavyweight Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis scored his seventh win in his last eight fights over ninth ranked Marcin Tybura at UFC Fight Night 126 in Austin, TX.  In typical Lewis fashion, his monstrous power was the difference maker.  Lewis, who spent most of the fight on his back or stomach, managed to fend off the ground and pound and submissions of the quicker Tybura.  Midway through the third round, Tybura attempted a single-leg takedown that Lewis was able to thwart.  With a moment of separation, Lewis looked for a takedown of his own and then hit Tybura with a pair of hooks that wobbled him, and then a third one finished him.  After a loss in his last fight to Mark Hunt, Lewis is now set to face a top 5 opponent again in his next fight.  But who?
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It has been something of a slow build, perhaps going all the way back to Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko back in 2015, but heavyweight boxing seems to be at the very top of the sport once again. A series of fortuitous events, such as Fury vacating the titles, coupled with bona fide stars emerging at the top of the division has created a perfect storm for heavyweight boxing in 2018.

Two big title fights will take place in March. First up, Deontay Wilder (c) will face Luis Ortiz for the WBC heavyweight title in New York on the 3rd March. Wilder is favourite with bookmakers to retain, currently available at odds of 2/5. Ortiz can be widely backed at a price of 2/1.

Joshua and Parker will fight in front of more than 70,000 fans Read the rest of this entry »