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

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?

Japan

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.

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