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How to Bet on Rugby in South Africa - A Beginner's Guide
Rugby might not have the universal appeal of soccer but it's incredibly popular in South Africa and other countries like New Zealand, Australia, England and other parts of Europe. This high-contact sport, which requires great power, speed, and skill, lends itself beautifully to betting!
This guide provides a beginner's introduction to how to bet on rugby, covering all the basics such as formats of the game, recommended rugby betting sites, tournaments, odds, markets and even strategies to help you win!
Rugby Betting in South Africa
Rugby offers plenty of betting opportunities for most of the year and South Africa has some of the best online bookmakers for rugby betting. Rugby betting odds and markets are diverse, ranging from straight Match Winner to handicap, winning margin and try-scorer bets.
There's a huge selection of both Pre-match and In-Play rugby markets available in South Africa as well as great promotions, and we'll show you where to find them.
But before we get into that, let's look at the two main types of rugby and how these are further subdivided into different formats.
Rugby Union vs Rugby League
Most of the world's biggest rugby leagues and tournaments are Rugby Union. This format differs from Rugby League in a few ways. Firstly, Rugby Union teams have 15 players while League has just 13.
Other differences are that you can make more substitutions in Rugby League and the field is smaller because there are fewer players.
Points are also awarded differently, with tries, penalties and drop goals in Rugby League worth fewer points than in Rugby Union.
These contrasts are all important when considering your bets on either format of rugby.
15's Rugby vs 7's Rugby
The first difference between 15's Rugby and 7's Rugby is the number of players on the field, which is implied in the name. Also, 15's Rugby matches last 80 minutes while a 7's game is only seven minutes per half. There are also some slight rule differences between 7's and 15's Rugby, which are equally important when considering your bets.
Major Rugby Events for Betting
Super Rugby Aerotoa: Super Rugby is a professional men's rugby union club competition involving teams from Australia and New Zealand. It previously included teams from South Africa, Argentina, and Japan.
Rugby World Cup: The Rugby World Cup is an international men’s rugby union tournament involving 20 teams that takes place every four years and is hosted in a different country.
Six Nations: The Six Nations is an annual rugby union tournament held in Europe. The competing teams include England, Ireland, France, Italy, Wales and Scotland.
Champions Cup: The Champions Cup is an annual rugby union tournament organised by European Professional Club Rugby. It features the clubs of countries whose national teams compete in the Six Nations.
Challenge Cup: The Challenge Cup is an annual tournament also organised by European Professional Club Rugby, which is a second-tier competition behind the Champions Cup
Best Rugby Betting Sites
With rugby being such a key part of the culture in South Africa, there isn't a sports betting site we know of that doesn't offer rugby betting.
There are some online bookmakers though, that provide punters with a better selection of rugby leagues, markets and promotions than others.
Sunbet is one of the leading betting sites for rugby in South Africa. The price up all the international and domestic leagues from South Africa, New Zealand, England and the rest of Europe. The rugby betting markets at Sunbet are the most comprehensive you'll find anywhere.
With over 80 betting options available for every Super Rugby match, plus Outright betting on all the international and league cup tournaments, having a Sunbet account is essential to any rugby punter worth their salt!
From Super Rugby and Six Nations to the Gallagher Premiership and European Champions Cup, at BET.co.za there isn't a rugby league worth watching you can't have a bet on.
This top South Africa bookie has a wide range of betting markets available plus a dedicated rugby section on their blog which includes sought after betting tips written by profitable pundits.
Rugby Bet Types Explained
Here are some easy explanations of the rugby markets you can find at South Africa's best online betting sites.
Just like for any other sport, Match Winner is a popular market that's as straightforward as it sounds. Your options are to bet on a home win, away win or a draw.
Your team must simply win the match for your bet to cash. Because the points tally is typically high in rugby, draws are quite unlikely and the odds you'll get are anywhere between 17/1 and 40/1.
Example: Match Winner – Stormers
Handicap betting is another common bet type for rugby punters which levels the playing field between two teams. By assigning a point spread to the match, the bookmaker allows you to bet on a team to overcome their deficit.
Your team must either win the match by at least the assigned number of points or lose the match by fewer than the assigned points.
A good time to use this rugby market is when you think either team is better than the handicap they've been given by the bookmaker.
They could be a favourite and win by more than the points spread, or an underdog and lose by fewer points than the bookies have given them.
Minus Handicap example: If you bet on Team A (- 13.5 points), then for your bet to win, Team A must win by at least 14 points for your bet to win.
To see if you've won, take your team's score and subtract the assigned handicap. If your team still has more points than their opposition, your bet wins.
Plus Handicap example: If you bet on Team B (+ 13.5 points), then for your bet to win, Team B must either win the match or lose by no more than 13 points for your bet to win.
To see if you've won, take your team's score and add the assigned handicap. If your team now has more points than their opposition, your bet wins. If they win outright, your bet is also a winner.
With Total Points betting in rugby, you are predicting whether the match will have Over or Under the assigned number of points when you add both teams' points together at the end.
If you bet on Over 58.5 Total Points, then for your bet to win, 59 points or more must be scored between both teams by the end of the match.
This is a useful betting market in a match where you can't easily predict the winner but think it will be played either aggressively or very defensively.
Example: Total Points - Over 58.5
Double Result (Half Time-Full Time)
A half time bet is only different from a Match Winner bet in one distinct way. The team who you bet on must be leading at half time as well as at the final whistle.
Bet on this market if you want bigger odds and expect either team to get off to a slow or fast start. Maybe one team plays better in the second half or you expect another to dominate the match from start to finish.
Example: Double Result - Lions/Lions
First Half Result
The only result that is considered for this bet is the team winning at half time. If your team is leading the match after 40 minutes, your bet is a winner regardless of what happens in the second half.
Example: Half Time - Stormers
This rugby betting market is similar to a Handicap (read above) except you must predict a win within a certain margin. A Winning Margin bet puts a limit on how many points your team can win by, such as 1-5 points.
If your team loses the match or fails to win within the assigned margin, your bet loses. Predicting a Winning Margin is riskier than a Handicap bet, but the odds are bigger so there's more reward if you win.
Example: Stormers (1-5 points)
Like with goalscorer bets in soccer, there are several try scorer bets you can take which all depend on when your player scores.
- Anytime Try Scorer: To win this bet, the player you select must score a try at any time during the match.
- First Try Scorer: To win this bet, the player you select must score the first try of the match.
- Last Try Scorer: To win this bet, the player you select must score the last try of the match.
First Scoring Play
There are four possible ways for players to score points in all formats of rugby—Try, Penalty Goal or Drop Goal. This bet is on how the first points of the match will be scored and by which team.
It's a good idea to wait to see which team is kicking off before placing this bet as the result may change depending on who has possession first.
Example: First Scoring Play - Lions Penalty Goal
Outright Rugby Betting
Most sports betting sites offering rugby odds and markets also have the option to bet on the outright winner of tournaments like the Rugby World Cup, Six Nations, World Rugby Sevens or Super Rugby. For these bets, you are predicting the winner of a tournament that spans weeks or even months.
Example: Bulls to win the Currie Cup
Live Rugby Betting
Like with soccer, there is a good selection of Live Rugby Betting opportunities and the markets are similar. Make predictions in-play about which team will win the match, how many total points there will be and which team or player will score the next try.
A very popular Live Rugby Betting market is "Next points to be scored" where you bet on either a try or penalty being how the next points are scored.
Best Rugby Betting Sites in South Africa
These are out recommend rugby betting sites in South Africa. Aside from a generous welcome bonus for new customers, some of these online bookmakers like Sunbet and BET.co.za have some great Rugby Promotions available.
Rugby Betting Promotions
There are many rugby promotions available at selected online bookmakers in South Africa. While the majority of sports betting sites focus on soccer, bookmakers like Sunbet and BET.co.za are a treasure chest of promotions!
Points Fest Promo: Take a pre-match rugby handicap bet and if your team scores over 35 points and your bet loses, we'll give you your stake back as a free bet on other rugby. Read the terms and conditions.
Bad Beat Bonus: Take a pre-match, full-time Handicap or full-time Total Points bet and if it loses by 0.5 points, your full stake is refunded up to R500. Read the terms and conditions.
Rugby Union Multiple Special: Take a rugby union multiple of 5 teams or more and if one leg lets you down then half your stake is refunded. Read the terms and conditions.
Match Handicap Special: Take the match handicap and if your selection loses by half a point (0.5) then half your stake is refunded. Read the terms and conditions.
First Half Handicap Special: Take the 1st half handicap and if your selection loses by half a point (0.5) then half your stake is refunded. Read the terms and conditions.
Second Half Handicap Special: Take the 2nd half handicap and if your selection loses by half a point (0.5) then half your stake is refunded. Read the terms and conditions.
Beaten by the Buzzer: Get your money back if your selection only loses after the buzzer sounds. Read the terms and conditions.
Drop Goal Special: If your selection is leading the match but a drop goal is scored which results in your team losing, then half your stake is refunded. Read the terms and conditions.
First Try Scorer Double Trouble: Bet on 1st Try Scorer and get double your winnings if your player scores first and last!
Multi Bet Boost: Increase your Multi Bet winnings by up to 150%. For each leg with odds of 1.2 or more you add to your betslip, your winnings are boosted. The more legs you add, the bigger your boost!
Rugby Betting Tips and Strategies
There is a wide range of factors that can affect the outcome of a match which you should consider when betting on rugby. It's important to weigh up one team's strengths against another, but less obvious is deciding whether a team is capable of taking advantage of another's weaknesses.
There are several other factors worth considering in rugby betting, some of which include:
This is a major factor in any rugby game with lots of room for interpretation, especially when it comes to the breakdown and scrums. Some referees like to let the game flow and others stop play more frequently. Harsh refereeing can inhibit scoring and lead to lower totals while go-with-the-flow type refs can lead to more points on the board
Rain and wind can have a big impact on totals with fewer points generally being scored. When conditions are wet the ground is heavy going for players and the ball is more tricky to handle. In heavy wind, players can also struggle to kick penalties and conversions which leads to fewer points being scored.
The quality of a goal kicker is often the biggest difference between two rugby teams. Especially in evenly contested matches, betting on the team with a more reliable kicker can often pay dividends.
Having depth on the bench depth is crucial for any team. Being such a physical game, rugby players often get injured and teams with reliable backup players tend to outperform those without them.
Bet on Rugby in South Africa
We trust you've enjoyed our comprehensive guide to betting on rugby in South Africa. With the information here, you should be able to sign up with a good online bookmaker and start betting on rugby. Hopefully, the betting advice we've provided will also help you turn a profit!
For more about online sports betting and casinos in South Africa, visit the Betting Guide homepage where you can find bookmaker reviews, promotions, betting tips and more.