Rugby is one of the top spots to bet on in South Africa, with it nothing short of a national passion. The country's victory on home soil in the Rugby World Cup was a key moment for South Africa.
Now, many years on, the rise of the internet has made rugby betting easier than ever before. Most South African adults have a smartphone they can bet on, which means they no longer have to go to a betting shop in person if they want to have a wager on the big game of the day.
Rugby leagues and competitions from around the world are available to bet on in South Africa, with markets for domestic and international action widely available on top South African betting sites. Any sports fans in the country who want to bet on rugby matches will certainly be spoiled for choice as a result.
While rugby betting does not tend to have as many options as some of the other leading sports for betting in South Africa, there are still a few key things for people to get their heads around. Anyone who is new to rugby betting in South Africa might also be unsure about how to get started, especially if they have never signed up for an account on a betting site in their lives.
Our complete guide to rugby betting in South Africa has all the answers, so read on for more.
Rugby has long been very popular in South Africa, with union having the edge over league. There are plenty of rugby league competitions for fans to get their teeth into, though, with many people enjoying union and league - and even betting on the outcome of games in each code.
It is widely believed that rugby was first played at Diocesan College in Cape Town in 1861, having been brought to the country by British colonialists. The Western Province Rugby Football Union was one of the first clubs and as soon as matches started to be played, people began to predict what would happen on the pitch and bet against each other in order to make money.
South Africa has been playing Test rugby for more than 100 years, with union a lot more established than league when it comes to international rugby in the country. The South African teams for both codes are known as the Springboks and they play games all over the world.
Betting on rugby works in much the same way as placing wagers on any other sport. Both pre-match and live in-play rugby betting is available in South Africa. Ante-post markets for top events such as the Rugby World Cup are often available, giving users the chance to get good value from their wagers in advance of the action getting started. For live in-play rugby betting, there will usually be some data and statistics available to help people to pick winning wagers.
Of course, to get started with rugby betting in South Africa, sports fans will need to sign up for an account with a betting site. When they do this, they will often be able to claim a welcome bonus that might include some free bets that they will be able to use on a variety of rugby competitions.
South Africa is home to a large number of rugby betting sites. Sports fans in the country may therefore be unsure which is the best one for them to join if they want to place rugby bets.
To help out, we have picked out some of the best rugby betting sites in South Africa right now:
Betway is a top choice for online rugby betting in South Africa, with many sports fans likely to be familiar with this brand as it sponsors the Premier League football team West Ham in London.
Rugby betting markets at Betway cover all types of leagues and competitions, including South African internationals. Rugby league fans will be happy to see they can bet on the NRL here.
Ante-post betting markets for the Rugby World Cup in both union and league are also in advance, which is handy for those seeking the best value by placing wagers well in advance.
Most South African sports fans will likely be aware of Hollywoodbets already as it arguably has a higher profile than any of the other betting brands that operate in the country.
When it comes to rugby betting, the sport may not be as high a priority as horse racing at Hollywoodbets, but customers who sign up for an account still have plenty of choices here.
League and union matches are both available to bet on, with markets for the NRL for the former.
Union fans will find various internationals such as Lions tour games. Hollywoodbets even has rugby seven markets too.
An excellent array of rugby league betting markets is on offer for those who join Bet.co.za.
Users can find markets for everything from State of Origin and the NRL to the World Cup here.
On the union side of things, Bet.co.za has even more choice, with domestic competitions like the Currie Cup taking pride of place alongside the likes of Lions tour matches.
Live in-play betting for the Currie Cup is a top-selling point of Bet.co.za and the site even has an events schedule so customers can see what games are coming up.
Union is the clear focus when it comes to rugby betting at World Sports Betting. For a standard international Test involving South Africa, though, the depth of the markets at WSB is very good.
Dozens of different wagers are offered to pick from on the WSB sportsbook, including standards such as which team will win the match and who will score the first try of the game.
Various handicap bets are offered too, while there is a market for the first stoppage here as well.
Currie Cup live in-play betting is among the domestic action offered at World Sports Betting.
NRL matches are among the rugby league markets that are provided by Supabets, which like most of the top rugby betting sites in South Africa is more interested in union than league.
Lots of different union matches are available, though it is mostly internationals on offer, while the depth of markets is not quite as good as what is on offer at WSB, for example.
Rugby union sevens betting markets can be found at Supabets too, which is a tick in the box. Live in-play betting is a little disorganised here but the Currie Cup is among the events covered.
Sun International might be primarily known for its casino-hotel resorts, but SunBet is also an excellent choice for any South Africans who want to bet on rugby matches via the internet too.
This South African betting site gives rugby pride of place among its top sports to bet on, with live in-play markets offered for many domestic competitions in the country such as the Currie Cup.
As is the case for most sports at SunBet, the site offers a truly massive range of markets. For example, internationals involving South Africa often have more than 150 bets to pick from.
Anyone who likes to bet on the handicap for rugby will find Gbets to be a fantastic option and it certainly ranks among the very best sports betting sites in South Africa right now.
A wide range of rugby handicap markets are offered, both for the final result and for the total points scored, as well as for how many points each team scores during a game.
Rugby league is less of a priority than union at Gbets, but fans can find markets for the NRL in Australia, as well as English competitions like the Super League and Challenge Cup.
Dozens of different sports are available at global betting brand Sportingbet with live in-play betting a priority, which makes it easy to find markets for action in the Currie Cup, for example.
Sportingbet covers rugby union from all over the world but rugby league fans do not have to worry about being left out if they opt to sign up for an account at this South African betting site.
The NRL is available along with the Super League and Challenge Cup, while a few ante-post markets for competitions like rugby league's World Cup are also offered here as well.
Like with any other top sport, there are a lot of different rugby betting markets for sports fans in South Africa to try out, though the selection very much varies from betting site to betting site.
Basic options like match odds markets continue to be popular, but they are not always the best choice in games when one team is widely expected to triumph by a comfortable margin. This is where rugby handicap betting markets come in and most of the top South African betting sites have these available for high-profile matches in both rugby league and rugby union. Handicaps are handy from a betting perspective due to the fact draws are quite an uncommon final result.
For handicaps, the idea is that the teams can be more balanced in the betting odds. Rugby fans instead have to be able to predict the margin of victory, which is another of the markets available. A range of handicap betting markets are usually covered for rugby, ranging from smaller margins such as South Africa -5, for example, all the way up to something such as South Africa -50 if the Springboks were to face a relative minnow of the game, like Georgia.
One of the most popular betting markets for rugby is the first try scorer. The equivalent of the first goalscorer in football betting, the chances of a player being able to score the first try might depend on the outcome of the toss and whether or not their side is receiving the ball first. It is also possible to bet on a player to score more than one try and this is the case for both union and league games. Sometimes there will even be player handicap specials or over/over betting markets where customers are able to guess how many points they will score during a game.
For live in-play rugby betting in South Africa, sometimes even more markets will be offered. It is often possible to bet on which team will score the most points in the next 10 minutes of a match, or bet on the method by which the next points are scored in a game: penalty, try or drop goal.
Ante-post rugby betting is offered for both league and union too. It is usually possible to bet on the outcome of the next World Cup in either code far in advance of the event starting. This can let people get the best value out of their bet, though of course, they will then face a lengthy wait to see whether or not they have picked out a winning wager. Among the ante-post rugby betting markets that South Africans can expect for top events include the tournament's top try-scorer and the player who will score the most points overall during the course of the competition.
Prop bets are offered by a lot of leading South African sports betting sites as well. Commonly offered bets include the outcome of the kick-off, for instance, if the ball goes out of play. A range of disciplinary markets might be available too, just as they are for football betting in South Africa.
It is often possible to bet on the number of bookings shown during a game, as well as on which player is the first to be shown a card in the game. In short, the number of different rugby betting markets that South African sports fans can expect to be offered, both pre-match and live in-play, is very wide indeed. Rugby union betting is more widespread, but league betting is available too.
South Africans are as passionate about rugby as people from anywhere in the world. The good news is that they have a lot of different elite rugby leagues, events and competitions to bet on.
International Test matches are also regularly played in both rugby union and rugby league. Here, we have picked out some of the main rugby leagues and tournaments for people to look out for:
Rugby World Cup: There is no doubt that the Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle of the sport. There is a Rugby World Cup for both union and league, but the union version tends to get a lot more attention among South African sports fans. South Africa's victory at the 1995 tournament, after which president Nelson Mandela wore a Springboks rugby shirt and cap to present the trophy, the Webb Ellis Cup to captain Francois Pienaar, is a huge moment in SA's history. The next Rugby World Cup is set to be held in 2023, with South Africa set to defend their crown in France. The next Rugby World Cup in the women's game is in 2021, with New Zealand hosting. Rugby league's next World Cup is also in 2021, with the matches held in the United Kingdom.
Six Nations Championship: Although South Africa does not take part, the Six Nations Championship is one of the biggest events on rugby's annual calendar. Comprising England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales, the Six Nations takes place every year in Britain's spring. There is also a corresponding Six Nations Championship for women, with the same teams. Adding South Africa into the Six Nations Championship has been mooted in the past.
The Rugby Championship: Previously known as the Tri-Nations, The Rugby Championship is the highlight of the year for a lot of rugby lovers in South Africa. The Springboks always take on Australia and New Zealand each year in the event, with Argentina completing the quartet. South Africa won The Rugby Championship in 2019 but pulled out in 2020 due to the global pandemic.
World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup: Another important international rugby union competition is the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup, which is made up of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Played every year like The Rugby Championship and the Six Nations Championship, the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup was previously called Pacific Five Nations, which replaced the Pacific Tri-Nations.
European Rugby Champions Cup: Moving on to the club game, the European Rugby Champions Cup is one of the most important events in the sport of rugby union. Each year sees 24 teams from the countries involved in the Six Nations Championship facing off for the trophy. There is also a second-tier event in Europe, known as the European Rugby Challenge Cup.
Super Rugby: South Africans might be more interested in Super Rugby as this involves SA teams, as well as clubs from nations such as Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Japan. However, after hints that some South African teams could pull out, the future of Super Rugby is now in doubt and it seems likely the tournament will soon have to go through a major overhaul.
Pro14: Teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Wales take part in the Pro14 tournament, which is sponsored by Guinness. This event first used to be known as the Celtic League and has gone through a number of name changes as extra teams joined the fray. South African teams were added for the 2017–18 season and another significant overhaul is expected for the competition in 2021-22. South African teams Sharks, Stormers, Lions and Bulls are set to join, with the tournament being rebranded as the United Rugby Championship as a result.
Currie Cup: Rugby fans in South Africa love tuning into the Currie Cup, which has a long history dating back more than 100 years and is played each winter and spring. Northern Transvaal/Blue Bulls are the most successful team in the history of the Currie Cup, with other top teams to have enjoyed a lot of victories in the event over the years including Western Province and Natal.
Rugby Challenge: Widely known as the SuperSport Rugby Challenge due to the television company's sponsorship of the tournament, this event is normally played at the same time of the season as Super Rugby. The first time that the Rugby Challenge was held was in 2017 so this is still quite a new tournament, having been designed as a replacement for the Vodacom Cup.
Rugby league competitions: While it is rugby union that dominates the conversation in South Africa, there are a number of important rugby league competitions that people in the country also like to bet on. Among them are the Rugby League Four Nations - which sees Australia, England and New Zealand face off against a guest nation that has to qualify to take part. In South Africa, the main rugby league events and tournaments to bet on are the Rhino Cup and the Protea Cup. Domestically, Australia has the NRL and the Super League is the top competition in England.
South African sports fans without much experience in rugby betting might be interested in learning about some helpful tips and strategy advice that could help them to pick out winners.
Many of the best rugby betting tips and pieces of advice apply to other sports as well. For example, it is crucial that South Africans should never bet more money than they can afford to lose. To help with this, it can be a good idea to set a budget for gambling. Putting aside a certain amount of money each week or month for rugby bets can help people to stay in control of their spending. Most top rugby betting sites in South Africa help with this too, with their responsible gaming policies including things such as setting a deposit limit and the option to self-exclude.
In terms of rugby betting specifically, many find that focusing on one particular league or competition is the right way to make money out of their wagers. Rugby is played all over the world, after all, so it is almost impossible to keep up with every single piece of the sport's news. Factor in that there is rugby league to follow as well as rugby union and the challenge is huge.
South Africans who watch a lot of domestic rugby might opt to only place bets on the Currie Cup, for example. Focusing on one competition, in particular, makes it easier to keep a close eye on which teams and players are in good or bad form and which stars may be carrying an injury that is likely to affect how they can perform out on the pitch when the action gets underway.
An alternative approach is to stick to certain types of markets - we will talk more about the main rugby betting markets that are available later on. Some people often find that they have a lot more luck when they stick to a certain bet, such as handicap rugby betting, rather than when they have a more scattered approach to the wagers that they place on rugby in South Africa.
A common rugby betting strategy is to bet on the favourites in a match if they fall behind early. Live in-play rugby betting is now widely available at the top betting sites in South Africa. Odds and prices change quickly depending on the action on the pitch. If a favourite concedes the first score of the game their price could spike, providing a lot of value if they can launch a comeback.
Rugby betting tips are widely available these days too. Indeed, the internet has led to a cottage industry of tipping across a variety of sports becoming a lot more popular. While some rugby betting tips can be found for free, it is even possible to pay for rugby betting tips these days.
However, there is no guarantee that following rugby betting tips will ever lead to winning wagers. It is also hard to judge whether or not most rugby betting tipsters are legit as there is absolutely nothing to stop a random person from deciding to start providing tips for rugby betting on the internet.
People who bet on rugby in South Africa will soon find out what works for them. One good piece of advice, which applies to all types of sports betting, as well as rugby union and rugby league betting, can be to keep a record of all rugby bets that have been placed. This makes it easier to identify trends such as which wagers are the most likely to be winners, and which often lose.
After placing a bet on the action before the game starts, fans will no doubt want to be able to watch live rugby in South Africa to see whether or not their bet has won.
SuperSport has the most broadcast rights for live sport in South Africa and rugby is no different. The company, which also has plenty of live cricket available to watch, shows domestic competitions such as the Currie Cup, helping to draw in a large audience of sports fans in the country.
Live international rugby is also shown live on SuperSport channels, making this the obvious option for fans of the sport who want to make sure they are never going to miss a try. DStv subscribers will also be able to watch a lot of live rugby through the Now App as well.
For those who want to watch live rugby league in South Africa, the picture is a bit more complicated. The NRL is probably the top domestic rugby league competition in the world and it is available to fans in South Africa through the Watch NRL online service.
Powered by FOX Sports, Watch NRL offers every game of the NRL both live and on-demand. Weekly, monthly or annual subscriptions are offered and it is possible to tune into the action via a range of devices by using either Chromecast, AirPlay or the popular Apple TV app.
Of course, sports fans in South Africa can also turn to internet streams to make sure that they can catch the big game. Many people will be familiar with searching around for a stream for the top game of the day, but betting sites in South Africa could offer a more simple route.
Live streaming functionality is being rolled out across the industry, with South African online betting sites increasingly offering their users the chance to watch a range of live sports.
These can usually be accessed on mobile devices too, which is ideal for when users are not at home. Sometimes users might need to place a bet on the match to be able to stream it live, but sometimes it is only necessary to have a funded account in order to get access to streams.
Yes - while South Africa has often changed its rules and regulations surrounding the gambling industry over the years due to the government that is in charge, online sports betting in the country is currently 100% legal and permitted.
This means that rugby betting, as well as placing wagers on other sports, is completely allowed.
South Africa has plenty of rugby betting sites to pick from and which people play at is partly a matter of personal preference, though options such as Betway, Hollywoodbets and SunBet are among those that stand out from the crowd, as well as World Sports Betting.
Other leading rugby betting sites in South Africa that are recommended for players who are now seeking to sign up for a new account include Gbets, Bet.co.za, Sportingbet and Supabets.
Like a lot of other sports that are available to bet on in South Africa, handicap markets are among those that are offered by the top rugby betting sites in the country.
Handicap markets try to even up the contest when one team is expected to be dominant and win the match by a large margin, making it a lot more interesting from a betting perspective.
To explain how handicap betting works in rugby, we will take the example of South Africa playing Italy in a Test match in union, a game for which the Springboks would likely be big favourites.
Backing South Africa might not be worth it at such short odds, but leading rugby sites in South Africa will offer handicap options, like South Africa -12 for example, to try to make it more even. What this means in practice is that for the bet, South Africa will have 12 points deducted from their actual score, so they must win by at least 13 points for that handicap bet to be a winner.
There are a lot of differences between rugby union and rugby league, despite the fact a lot of South Africans like to enjoy the action from both codes. One of the similarities between rugby union and rugby league, though, is the length of the match, which is two 40-minute halves.