Compare the best Rugby Union betting sites in the UK and our comprehensive betting guide below.
Rugby union is one of the top sports to bet on in the UK, with matches being played all year. Due to the fact rugby is a global game - even though the European season tends to run through the winter and end at the start of the summer - there is always a big game to bet on somewhere.
While casual fans might only get interested in betting on rugby union during major events such as the World Cup, continental competitions such as the European Rugby Champions Cup, international events like the Six Nations and domestic tournaments including the Currie Cup ensure that there is a huge array of different rugby matches to bet on throughout the calendar.
Rugby fans in the UK might already know all about the various types of rugby union betting markets that are available at online bookmakers, but newcomers might need some help if they are just getting started placing wagers on the sport, which originated here in England.
Rugby was created in England in the first half of the 19th century, with the game's popularity has since spread to all four corners of the world, though it tends to be a lot more popular in nations in the southern hemisphere such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and so on.
Scotland and England played the world's first rugby international match in 1871 - Scotland won a tight clash - and the game started to spread when a British Isles team visited Australia and New Zealand in 1888. This is seen as the foundation for the British Lions tours that are some of the most popular rugby union matches to watch - and to bet on - right here in the 21st century.
Rugby union is not to be confused with rugby league - which is also popular to bet on in the UK - with the two games having some subtle differences, though many people enjoy watching both. Often described as the UK's third most popular sport, rugby is currently enjoying a boom period.
Rugby union fans in the UK can choose from many betting sites - here are 10 of the best to use:
British betting brand Betfred offers price boosts and enhanced odds for many major rugby union matches, helping to ensure those fans who want to find top value will get it on this UK site.
Betfred has many ante-post and in-play markets for rugby union games around the world and the good news is many of its top betting bonuses and promotions apply to this sport as well. For example, the Double Delight deal means customers who correctly predict the first try scorer in a match receive double their price for selected games if the player goes on to score again.
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Top British betting brand William Hill has almost 100 different bets to pick from for major rugby union matches, with a strong array of handicap options one of the best reasons to pick the site.
William Hill often has enhanced odds for rugby union fans to make the most of too, which helps to ensure William Hill rugby union odds are usually some of the best in the business. Ante-post markets such as ones for the outright winner of the next Rugby World Cup or the next Six Nations Championship are among those customers of William Hill will find here.
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Testing shows that Ladbrokes rugby union betting odds are consistently right up there with the best around, so fans of the sport who want to make sure they will get very good value from their prices should definitely consider signing up for an account with this traditional UK betting brand.
Ladbrokes customers will find that odds for the 2023 Rugby World Cup are already available, which is good news for those who like to place ante-post wagers in advance of the big event. Ladbrokes also has rugby union specials like Henry Arundell to become England's top scorer.
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A truly huge range of rugby union betting markets can be found at Unibet, which has almost 200 different bets to pick from for internationals involving major nations like Australia and England.
Ante-post markets are offered for top events like the Six Nations and the World Cup at Unibet too, while customers will be hoping some rugby gets added to Unibet's live streaming as well.
Odds boosts are often offered for rugby union at Unibet, boosting the value on offer here too. Like many top rugby union betting sites, Unibet also provides bingo, poker and casino games.
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Spreadex has almost 200 rugby union betting markets to pick from for the biggest matches. This means almost everything that a rugby fan might want to bet on is available.
Both spread betting and fixed odds rugby union prices can be found at Spreadex, so those who are unsure of what to do with spread betting can treat the site like a traditional sportsbook.
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Known for great value sports betting odds, it is no surprise to see BetVictor rank towards the top when it comes to rugby union prices for leagues, cups and matches all over the world.
BetVictor customers will find Bet Boosts for a lot of major matches on planet rugby union, while a lot of good options for rugby union handicap betting can be found at this UK betting site.
One of the best things about BetVictor is the trending bets section, where rugby union fans will be able to see some of the most popular wagers that are being placed.
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Some may see 888 as mainly an online casino, but its sportsbook is one of the best around. At 888Sport, customers can pick between plenty of pre-match and in-play rugby union bets.
Dozens of options are offered for each match, including try scorer and handicap options too. Within the 888Sport site is the BetFeed, where users can see the top trending wagers live.
Rugby union free bets are also up for grabs via the 888Sport Acca Club every week as well. Of course, rugby fans who join 888Sport get access to a market-leading online casino here too.
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Rugby union fans who join Betway will find this UK betting site offers a complete package. Great value rugby union betting odds can be found here, with the prices always among the best.
Rugby free bets are up for grabs at Betway each week via the site's Free Bet Club as well.
At Betway, people who want to bet via mobile can do so via the brand's excellent mobile apps.
The Pacific Nations Cup is among the rugby union competitions it is possible to bet on here, with ante-post betting markets for the sport's top tournaments on offer here too.
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When considering the best rugby union betting sites in the UK, we assess these key areas:
While all UK online bookmakers have rugby union betting, some of them have a limited number of markets and matches to bet on compared to others. Rugby fans want to have as many options as possible when browsing a sportsbook rather than being limited to only being offered the chance to bet on the Six Nations, for example.
Pre-match rugby betting is popular in the UK, but fans of the game also want the option to place wagers in play when the action is ongoing. Again, the more markets the better for live in-play rugby betting. Ideally, top UK betting sites will also offer some rugby matches in their live streaming services, which should be offered via mobile devices too.
With an increasing number of UK sports fans wanting to place wagers on a handheld device while out and about, rugby betting sites need to have strong mobile options. This can be a great mobile site that is fast and responsive, but a lot of British betting brands now have their own sports betting apps that can be downloaded for either iOS or Android devices.
Betting bonuses at online bookmakers in the UK tend to focus on football, but rugby fans will want to know if there are any special promotions aimed at them. Added to this is whether or not their good welcome bonuses can be used to claim free rugby bets that can be used to place no-risk wagers on competitions such as the Rugby World Cup. Betting bonuses should not just be aimed at new users, with some deals and promotions offered to existing customers to reward them for loyalty by making repeat visitors to online betting sites.
One of the best betting bonuses for rugby union fans to look out for comes from Betfred, with the UK site offering its Double Delight deal on leading international clashes. Betfred will double the odds offered for first-try scorer markets in the event that the player crosses the try line again.
One of the first things we check out when assessing the best rugby union betting sites is whether they are legal in the UK. In order to operate in this country, betting sites need to have a license from the Gambling Commission, which regulates the industry in the UK.
Tied into legal and licenses is what safety and security measures rugby betting sites have in place, with state-of-the-art SSL encryption now standard at many of the top online bookmakers.
While all UK betting sites have markets for the sport, some of them have much higher rugby union odds than others. Testing rugby union betting margins shows the highest rugby union odds can be found at Ladbrokes, Betfair, Bet365, Betway and 888Sport.
This means that those five big sites are among the best for rugby betting in the UK right now. However, high rugby union odds can often be found elsewhere too, with Paddy Power among those to offer enhanced odds for a lot of the biggest matches being played in the sport globally.
Rugby fans in the UK are sure to need to get in touch with some customer service agents at some stage, with 24/7 provision ideally in place to provide help around the clock. Live chat has become the default way to contact customer service for a lot of people, but it is also handy to have the option to either send an email or phone up, while social media is also being used for customer service by a lot of major British betting brands these days too. In addition, many online betting sites have a frequently asked questions section that can be handy.
Rugby union is played all over the world, which means there is almost always something to bet on for fans. Here are some of the top rugby union events, tournaments and leagues to bet on:
There is no doubt that the Rugby World Cup is a huge betting event, with even those sports fans who rarely watch games taking an interest when the tournament is being played. The Rugby World Cup takes place every four years with the most recent champions being South Africa, who beat England in the final in Japan to claim their third world title.
The next Rugby World Cup is set to be held in France in September and October 2023, then the one after that is scheduled to take place in Australia in 2027, with the United States hosting in 2031. There is a Women's Rugby World Cup, which was held in Ireland in 2017 with the next edition moved to 2022 in Auckland and Whangarei, New Zealand, owing to the global pandemic.
Rugby fans in the UK eagerly await spring each year, as this is when the Six Nations Championship takes place on the sporting calendar. Comprising England, France, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Italy - who joined in 2000 when this major event was last expanded - the 2023 competition is set to get underway on the weekend of February 4 and 5. England and Wales have won the Six Nations Championship the most times with both Scotland and Italy yet to taste glory.
Each team plays the other once, with home advantage alternating each year. This means one year England will play Scotland at home, then go away to their rivals the next. A further expansion of the Six Nations Championship - adding South Africa - has long been touted. As of 1996, there has also been a Women's Six Nations Championship played by the same six teams.
Launched in 1996, the Rugby Championship is another annual rugby union international competition similar to the Six Nations. Comprising Argentina (since 2012), Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, the 2022 tournament will start in August. Until Argentina were invited to join, the Rugby Championship was played as the Tri-Nations event.
Another international tournament that rugby union fans like to bet on is the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup, which is also played annually like the Six Nations. Founded in 2006 as the Pacific 5 Nations, the competition has gone through a lot of tweaks and changes over the years but having had to take a break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 event was contested in July by four teams with Fiji, Samoa and Tonga joined in the event by the Australia A team.
The 2022 World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup competition was played in a round-robin format. Fiji tends to be dominant in this rugby event.
Formerly known as the Celtic League, teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Wales face off in the United Rugby Championship. This annual rugby union event is another to have undergone a recent expansion, with a quartet of South African teams having been added to the competition in time for the 2021 edition. The United Rugby Championship used to be known as the Pro12, then the Pro14 when more teams joined.
This replacement for the Heineken Cup is the annual elite competition for domestic rugby union teams across the continent. In each year's European Rugby Champions Cup, the tournament starts with a group stage where the entrants are whittled down to 16 that go on to the knock-out stages. French side Toulouse are the most successful team in the history of the European Rugby Champions Cup having celebrated glory in the competition five times so far.
In the last couple of years, the European Rugby Champions Cup has had a revised format as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sport. La Rochelle won their first title in the 2021-22 edition of the European Rugby Champions Cup. The European Rugby Champions Cup final is usually played towards the end of May each year.
Second-tier clubs across the continent go into the European Rugby Challenge Cup, which replaced the original European Challenge Cup in 2014-15. In the European Rugby Challenge Cup, there are 20 teams primarily composed of clubs from the three main European domestic leagues - Premiership Rugby, Top 14, and United Rugby Championship - with the top South African team Cheetahs having also been invited to join the tournament as well. Lyon are the current Challenge Cup holders, with Clermont and Harlequins both three-time winners.
The domestic game is also popular for rugby union betting in the UK, with the league's structure topped by the RFU Championship and the Premiership, which is known as the Gallagher Premiership right now for sponsorship reasons.
The competition has been played since 1987, with Leicester Tigers the most successful team in the tournament's history having won it for the 11th time in 2022. Teams can be promoted from the RFU Championship to the Premiership, with relegation between the leagues possible too. The Premiership season tends to kick off in September, in line with the rugby union calendar.
Elite clubs in France play their domestic matches in the Top 14 competition, which as the name suggests comprises just over a dozen different teams. Toulouse have won a record 21 titles in the Top 14, earning its reputation as one of the greatest teams in domestic rugby. The first competition was held back in 1892 and Montpellier are the most recent Top 14 champions, having come out on top in the 2021-22 season which ran from September through to June.
In the southern hemisphere rugby union is also one of the most popular sports, with teams from Australia, New Zealand, and across the Pacific taking part in Super Rugby. Teams from Argentina, Japan, and South Africa have also played in Super Rugby in the past.
The tournament for 2022 and 2023 has been named Super Rugby Pacific, with teams from New Zealand tending to be dominant in this particular competition, which Crusaders have won a lot. Usually, Super Rugby matches tend to be played throughout the first half of the calendar year.
This South African provincial tournament is another popular domestic rugby union tournament to bet on for fans of the sport in the UK. The Currie Cup dates back to 1891, which means that it is one of the oldest and most prestigious competitions in the history of rugby.
Western Province have won the Currie Cup a record 34 times, with Pumas the 2022 winners. As the South African domestic rugby union calendar has recently been aligned with the European rugby union season, the 2022 Currie Cup was played between the months of January and June.
Along with the Rugby World Cup, British and Irish Lions tours tend to capture the imagination of casual sports fans along with hardcore rugby union supporters. The team is selected from players who feature for the national teams of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, giving stars who face off each year in the Six Nations a chance to play alongside each other against other top teams from around the world. British and Irish Lions tours currently take place every four years, with the venue rotating between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, who won the 2021 series 2-1, though a lot of fans were upset by the extent to which the tour had been disrupted by COVID.
The 2025 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia is the next time that this series is set to be played, captivating UK fans of rugby union. Being named captain of the British and Irish Lions is considered one of the game's top honours.
Additionally, many of the top rugby union teams from around the world often play against each other in international Test matches. As an example, England are set to play a big series of Test matches in the 2022 Autumn Series, which includes games against Argentina, Japan and more.
After checking out the different rugby union events, tournaments and leagues to bet on across the world, next it is time to take a look at some of the most popular rugby union betting markets:
For all top rugby competitions to bet on, one of the most popular markets is always going to be the outright winner. Let's say for example a fan wants to place a wager on the outcome of the Six Nations, the outright winner market is just predicting which team will come out on top of the table at the end of the competition. Outright winner markets are available a long time in advance for major global competitions such as the Rugby World Cup as well.
Another leading ante-post market for a lot of the different rugby union events, tournaments and leagues to bet on across the world is the top try scorer option. As the name suggests, fans of the sport have to predict which player is going to score the most tries over the course of the competition. A good guide for the top try scorer markets can be to see which players have a strong historic record of crossing the try line on a regular basis during a game.
Along with tournament markets, rugby fans can bet on individual games as well. The match-winner market is the most basic, with customers of UK online betting sites merely having to predict which team will be the winner. Of course, draws are possible in rugby union so this is similar to football where there are three options - home win, away win and the draw. In a cup competition, the match-winner market might be joined by a 'team to progress' option too.
A lot of rugby union fans in the UK like to use handicap betting markets for their favourite sport. Handicap betting can seem very complicated at first for those who have never placed these types of wagers, but they are more straightforward than you may think. In the handicap betting markets for rugby union matches, one team is effectively given a headstart in the scoring.
The idea of handicap betting markets is to even up the playing field in the event of a match result being expected to be one-sided - for example, if New Zealand were coming up against a minnow in a competition such as the Rugby World Cup.
Let's say that New Zealand are offered at -18 on the handicap market for this match. This means that they will have to win by more than 18 points in the match for that rugby union handicap bet to be a winning wager.
Another rugby union market to look for is total points. Here, the aim is to guess how many points are going to be scored over the course of a match, not which team will win.
As in football, it is possible to bet on the player who will score first in the game too. Often, betting sites in the UK will have price boosts or enhanced odds for the first try scorer. Some players are known for making fast starts so they are of particular interest in this market.
Another rugby union market type that can be found in other sports such as football are the scorecast and wincast options. In a scorecast for rugby union betting, people have to pick both the first try scorer and the winning margin of the team that comes out on top. In a wincast rugby betting market, the aim is just to pick the final result and the first try scorer.
With all of the above in mind, what are some top tips and strategies for rugby union wagers?
It can be tempting to focus attention on the most high-profile international matches, but they tend to be extremely unpredictable. There are a few reasons for this, with the main one the fact players might not have been able to get used to each other in a short space of time during an international tour, with home advantage tending to play a very important role in games too.
As a result, rugby union fans might be better advised to concentrate mainly on the domestic game. Here, with matches taking place on a regular basis throughout the season, it tends to be a lot easier to track the form of teams and players, which will rise and fall over the calendar. The European union season tends to run through the winter, so this is prime time for UK rugby fans.
One of the things that makes rugby betting a bit different to other sports is that it is well-suited for live in-play betting. While a goal can be scored out of nowhere in football, a try in rugby usually comes at the end of an extended passage of pressure from the attacking team. This means it can be easier to gain a sense of a team's momentum in a game, creating openings.
Weather and pitch conditions can make a surprising difference when betting on rugby as well. Any teams that are known for playing a particularly expansive style of rugby might find it hard to produce their best in the event of strong winds and rain, which can result in a battle on the pitch. Wind will also naturally make it more of a challenge for kicking, which may prevent high scoring, but when the skies are clear and the sun is out this can be ideal conditions for a lot of points.
Rugby has not embraced analytics quite as closely as some other sports. However, there is still plenty of data and statistics out there that can be used by rugby fans to find winning wagers. Taking some time to pick out some trends can pay off if customers can put down a great bet. Having a closer look at a club's attack and defensive record may provide hints as to what might happen in a game, though of course, live rugby can be just as unpredictable as other sports.
Keeping an eye on the latest team news and injury updates can also pay off. Naturally, UK online betting sites are tracking this information too, but it is important for rugby fans to be aware if the team that they are thinking of backing is going to be without some star players.
As is the case with betting on any sport, finding the right price and top value can be the key. Shopping around for the best rugby union betting prices might not feel worthwhile, but even a relatively small difference in odds can make a substantial difference to the potential winnings.
Some of the best UK betting sites are known for their high rugby union betting odds, with Ladbrokes, Betfair, Bet365, Betway and 888Sport typically ahead of the competition here.
However, good value might be found at other sites such as Paddy Power when there are enhanced odds and price boosts up for grabs, which tends to be for high-profile games. As with other sports, it is important for rugby union fans to never bet on what they cannot afford to lose.
Steven is an experienced iGaming content writer who has been working in the industry since 2018. He is passionate about sports betting and enjoys writing about all aspects of the industry, including bookmaker reviews, betting tips and strategies, and news and analysis. If you have any questions about online gambling in the UK, please don't hesitate to contact him.