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Strong England Rugby World Cup Squad Sees Their Odds Trimmed

Sam Rider for Bookies.com

Sam Rider  | 4 mins

Strong England Rugby World Cup Squad Sees Their Odds Trimmed

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England’s hopes for World Cup glory have been given a major boost with head coach Eddie Jones naming his strongest 31-man squad for the tournament in Japan this September.

A dominant victory over a full-strength Wales at Twickenham, albeit in a warm-up match, coupled with New Zealand’s shock away defeat to Australia in the Rugby Championship, has seen England’s odds for victory slashed from 17/2 (+850) before the Six Nations down to just 4/1 (+400) with the best rugby betting sites.

Jones announced his 31-man squad at a press conference on Monday, including the influential quartet Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, Tom Curry and Sam Underhill who had all been last minute doubts through injury, as well as World Cup bolters Lewis Ludlam (1 cap) and Ruaridh McConnochie (uncapped).

However, there’s no place for experienced full back Mike Brown or British and Irish Lions centre Ben Te’o, who were reported to have been involved in a bust up that led to both being dumped from the squad before the Wales test.

New Zealand Odds Drifting

Until Sunday, Wales had been on a 14-match unbeaten streak that had momentarily taken them to the "provisional" number one side in the world after Australia thumped New Zealand the day before.

But with defeat to England the Grand Slam Six Nations champions slipped back to second and Warren Gatland’s side are now best priced at 9/1 (+900) with Betfair for tournament success.

England sit fourth in the rugby world rankings ahead of 7/1 (+700) shots South Africa and just behind 8/1 (+800) hopefuls Ireland, while the All Blacks have reclaimed their place at the top of the pile.

The Kiwis remain the bookmakers’ heavy favourites to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for the fourth time in nine attempts, but after a draw with the Springboks and defeat to the Wallabies their odds are drifting from 6/5 (+120) last December to 11/8 (+138) with Betway.

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What Happens Next?

There’s still a long way to go until all squads are confirmed and several preparatory matches to be played that could have big ramifications for the tournament – and the odds.

Opting for clarity of thought, Jones has gone a month early with his squad selection, but fitness will be put to the test in warm up matches against Wales in Cardiff, Ireland back at Twickenham and Italy in St James’ Park before the squad fly out on September 8.

England's first major tournament test will be overcoming Argentina, who finished bottom of the truncated Rugby Championship with three losses, and then France in the final group stage match.

Navigate those tricky ties – which is no foregone conclusion after England's calamity of a home World Cup in 2015 – and they will likely face either Australia or Wales in a blockbuster quarter-final, with the All Blacks and Ireland or South Africa the likely opposition in the semi and final if they progress.

Meanwhile, Ireland have been hovering around the 7/1 (+700) mark ever since their confidence-shattering defeat to Wales in the Six Nations in March.

About the Author

Sam is a rugby union obsessed journalist. He's covered the game for The Telegraph, The Guardian, ESPN, Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Rugby World and Gentleman's Journal.