South Africa quietly building towards 2023 Rugby World Cup in France

Dean Etheridge
By , Updated on: Dec 19, 2023 07:00 PM
South Africa quietly building towards 2023 Rugby World Cup in France
  • What: Rugby World Cup 2023
  • Where: Across France
  • When: 8th September until the 28th October 2023

With the 2023 Rugby World Cup less than a year away, could it just be that defending champions South Africa are timing their run to form perfectly? The Proteas have been steadily improving lately, so are they a good value rugby betting pick to win the trophy for the fourth time when the competition gets underway in France next year?

At the moment, the side coached (when he’s not banned from the touchline) by the controversial Rassie Erasmus is joint third or fourth - depending on the sportsbook you use - to win the 2023 Rugby Union World Cup.

2023 Rugby World Cup Winner BettingBetOnlineBetUSBovada
New Zealand+325+300+325
South Africa+550+550+500

The defending champions are around +500 to +550. The favorites to win the trophy with the best rugby betting online sites is the World Cup hosts France, who are +300.

The French are closely followed by New Zealand at +325, South Africa at +550, and England and Ireland both at +600. Australia make up the six who have a realistic chance, at +1000.

All those prices are taken from BetOnline. You can find more great betting advice and also their latest welcome bonus, at our BetOnline sportsbook review.

A fairly decent Autumn Internationals for the Proteas

South Africa started their Autumn Internationals with two defeats in their first two matches. But on closer inspection, were those two losses really that bad? The first defeat was a 19-16 loss away to Ireland, the number one ranked side in the world. The second, a 30-26 defeat, away to France, the number two ranked side in the world.

So to put that into perspective, they lost by just one score, to the top two ranked sides in world rugby, and both away from home. Not bad going! They then followed that up with a comprehensive win over Italy, 63 points to 21.

The South Africans would have expected to win their match against Italy, but probably not by 42 points. If you look at Italy’s other Autumn Internationals results, you will see that they beat Wales 22-21 in Cardiff. And at home, they won twice, defeating Samoa 49-17, and Australia 28-27. All-in-all, Italy won three of their four Autumn Internationals, so for South Africa to defeat them by 42 points was some performance.

Then last Saturday came the result that should further strengthen their belief, a magnificent 27-13 win over England at Twickenham.

Yes, this is an under-performing England team, but as they had shown the previous weekend against New Zealand, Eddie Jones’ England team are up for the big challenges. So no matter how poor the 2003 champions have been this year, a dominant win like that at Twickenham shouldn’t in any way be underestimated.

Steady progress at the 2022 Rugby Championship

The early signs of a South African revival were there in the 2022 Rugby Championship. Okay, it was a topsy-turvy competition, eventually won by one point by New Zealand. But South Africa had plenty of positives to take out of the competition.

On the plus side, they were totally dominant over the All Blacks in their crushing 26-10 win in their opening fixture. They also had an impressive 24-8 win over Australia in Sydney, and in their two matches against the dangerous Argentina (who led the table after week 3), they won both matches comfortably (36-20 away, and 38-21 at home).

The defeats at home to New Zealand (35-23), and away to Australia (25-17) would have been disappointing setbacks. But it was a very competitive championship in 2022, with everybody beating each other. And with the fast turnaround between matches, it’s hard to win five out of six, never mind six from six.

In the games that they lost, the Proteas weren’t completely smashed either. Only the defeat at home to New Zealand was in double figures. And let's face it, on their day, the All Blacks can do that to anybody - even this All Blacks team, which is widely regarded as inferior to any New Zealand side over the past 20 plus years.

What about South Africa's 2023 World Cup rivals?

As we’ve just mentioned, the All Blacks can beat anybody on their day. Because of this, they have to be regarded as World Cup contenders. But it’s France that the majority of rugby fans think will be the team to beat in 2023.

The French team are building nicely towards the competition, which is on home soil. In 2022, they won their first Six Nations crown in 10 years, and if they can defend that in early 2023, they should end the competition as the top ranked side in the world. A position they already unofficially hold with the majority of rugby followers.

France To win 2023 Rugby World Cup

Of the other teams in the betting mix, England have plenty of rebuilding to do after a mightily disappointing 2022. This could even involve a change of coach. It remains to be seen if Eddie Jones will be in charge of their 2023 Six Nations campaign. And if he is, what happens if that also ends in abject failure?

The other side who could throw a spanner in the South African works is Ireland. Despite being the current number one world ranked side, Ireland don’t seem to be getting talked about enough as potential world champions. They could be underestimated to their advantage.

In general though, the Proteas are looking in a good place heading into the new year. They’ve had a few ups and downs along the way, but they are starting to look like they’re in a good position to retain the world cup, and at Rugby World Cup betting odds of +550, South Africa might well be worth a wager.

South Africa To win 2023 Rugby World Cup

Meet the author

Dean Etheridge

Dean Etheridge brings decades of sports knowledge and betting insights to his writing. Hailing from Coventry, England, he offers an engaging British perspective on everything from soccer to cricket. Dean has established himself as a reputable voice on English Premier L...

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