Rugby League World Cup Betting

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In 1948, the International Rugby League Board was formed in Bordeaux, France under the encouragement of Paul Barrière, head of the Fédération Française de Rugby à XIII. One of the board’s first orders of business was to inaugurate a world championship for its members, which included representatives from Britain, Australia, and New Zealand as well as the host country.

The very first Rugby League World Cup was subsequently conducted in France in 1954. Great Britain prevailed at the Parc des Princes in Paris before a crowd of 30,368 spectators, downing the French side by a score of 16-12. Since then, the event has been held just about once every four years on average.

In 1957, Australia played host and defeated Great Britain in a competition based on a league format. Three years later, Great Britain returned the favour at home, beating Australia. Over the next 40 years and nine installments, it would be a tug-o-war between the two sides, with the Australians coming out on top in every instance except the return to France in 1972. That’s when the two titans struggled mightily through scoreless extra time to a 10-10 draw, and the Britons were awarded the championship based upon league standings.

In 1975, Great Britain tried to divide and conquer by sending two national sides to the competition, Wales and England, with the latter coming in runner-up to the Australians. By 1995, the number of teams vying for the Rugby League World Cup had swollen to ten: Australia, England, Fiji, France, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Tonga, Wales, and Western Samoa. The English team again played bridesmaid, losing 16-8 to the side from down under in front of 66,540 fans at the old Wembley Stadium.

In 1998, a dispute between the Australian Rugby League and the Super League led to the establishment of Australia’s National Rugby League. In that same year, the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF) was formed with John McDonald, former Chairman of the Australian Rugby League, taking on the role of RLIF Chairman. The new Foundation immediately laid claim to the rights of the Rugby League World Cup and has been its organising body ever since.

Sixteen national teams competed in 2000, divided into four groups of four and playing each other once over the course of three weekly rounds, which were followed by a series of play-offs. In the final, played at Old Trafford in Manchester, Australia upended New Zealand 40-12 for their sixth consecutive World Cup title.

After a hiatus in 2004, the Rugby League World Cup resumed in 2008 with ten teams competing. This time, visiting New Zealand shocked the world by putting an end to their seemingly invincible neighbor’s winning streak, taking the final by a score of 34-20 at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

The 2013 installment will be staged in the United Kingdom, with fourteen teams participating, including Ireland and Scotland in addition to the twelve RLIF member countries: Australia, the Cook Islands, England, Fiji, France, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Samoa, South Africa, Tonga, and Wales. There will be two groups of four teams and two groups of three in the round-robin match-ups, followed by single-elimination brackets to determine the winner.

The grand prize of the Rugby League World Cup is the original eight-million-franc trophy commissioned by Paul Barrière and donated to the International Rugby League Board in 1954. With a hexagonal bowl design and two loving cup handles, the silver-plated symbol of Rugby League prowess measures 61 centimetres high minus its cockerel, which was lost when the trophy was stolen in 1970. It remained lost for twenty years until rediscovered in 1990, dumped amongst rubbish in a ditch near the Bradford and Bingley Rugby League Club, in Bingley, England.

Ante post wagering on the outright winner of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup has been offered by bookmakers since 2010, with Australia (as always) the heavy favourite, followed by New Zealand and England. The side from Samoa at 81:1 has been the only other team rated below triple digits.

Once the actual games get under way, betting will be available on a wide variety of markets, from straight-up match betting to handicap betting, first side to score, last side to score, and more. In the final, bettors can back a specific player to score a try, wager on the number of trys over/under, or take advantage of other opportunities, such as total combined score over/under, leader at the half, and a variety of live, in-running markets, too.

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