The 2023 Rugby World Cup is now upon us, with the planet’s greatest rugby nations all competing for the Webb Ellis Cup in France over the course of the next seven weeks.
All four Home Nations play over the course of this weekend, and talkSPORT BET have boosted the odds for all four of them to kick off their campaign with victories this weekend, up from 12/1 to 16/1, which can be added to your betslip here.
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1. Ireland to beat Romania (Saturday, 2:30pm)
Ireland head into this year’s World Cup as genuine contenders to win the competition.
Andy Farrell’s side are fresh off winning a Grand Slam en route to winning this year’s Six Nations Championship and have won 14 matches on the trot heading into Saturday’s opener.
They kick off against Romania, the third lowest ranked side in the tournament who are widely expected to be the whipping boys of a very strong Pool B.
2. England to beat Argentina (Saturday, 8pm)
England are the only northern hemisphere team to ever win the World Cup, and despite not having the best preparation for this year’s event after a disappointing Six Nations and summer campaign, England can rarely be discounted from turning it on when it matters.
Steve Borthwick’s side, who were beaten finalists in the World Cup in Japan four years ago, come up against an Argentina side who have lost four of their last five games against Tier 1 opposition, winning just two of their last 10.
3. Scotland to beat South Africa (Sunday, 4:45pm)
This current Scotland squad is arguably the strongest the nation have had to offer heading into a World Cup this century, and despite being drawn into a very tough pool, Gregor Townsend and co will back themselves to at least reach the knockout stage.
The Scots have won four of their last five matches prior to the tournament, with two of those coming against World Cup favourites France, winning at home and only losing by three points away from home against a full strength French side.
Townsend and co had a strong Six Nations campaign earlier in the year, winning three of their five games en route to a third place finish.
South Africa, despite coming up against one of the weaker New Zealand sides in over a decade, could only muster a second place finish in this year’s Rugby Championship, and have lost twice to northern hemisphere opponents in the last year.
4. Wales to beat Fiji (Sunday, 8pm)
Wales have rehired their former coach Warren Gatland for what will be his fourth World Cup in charge of the side, a big boost after a turbulent few years in charge for Wayne Pivac post-2019 World Cup.
Gatland led Wales to two World Cup semi finals in his last tenure, and will be hoping to make it as far this time around.
Wales have beaten Fiji in all of their last five meetings with each other, including in each of the last three World Cups.
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