Rugby Union provides physical thrills and spills, plus moments of breathtaking skill that few other sports can match.

The 15-man code spent decades as an amateur endeavour, with players holding down regular jobs even when turning out for international teams.

But it turned professional in 1995 and has become one of the most well run and media covered games on the planet.

The international scene is dominated by the mighty New Zealand All Blacks, the current World Cup holders and a team surrounded by an awesome aura.

Stars such as Richie McCaw and Dan Carter may have retired after they beat Australia to lift the Webb Ellis trophy for a third time in 2015, but they remain the team all others aim to beat.

The next World Cup takes place in Japan in 2019, with England – led by the charismatic Australia coach Eddie Jones – emerging as the most likely to give the All Blacks a real run for their money.

Australia are famed for their ability to pull results out of the bag in tournaments regardless of their form while Scotland, Ireland and Wales will also harbour hopes of causing an upset.

There is also a threat from the South Sea Islands, with Fiji and Samoa playing an entertaining brand of rugby that, on its day, can produce scintillating outcomes.

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Tournaments and teams

Aside from the World Cup, there is the Rugby Championship contest between New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina, as well as the Six Nations – England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy locking horns in February and March each year.

There are also a host of Autumn Internationals played in Europe in November, which provide some fascinating insights into the form of teams going into the following year’s tournaments.

The club game is in rude health too.

In the Southern hemisphere Super Rugby sees the best stars playing for franchises, whilst Europe boast the French Top 14, English Premiership and the Pro 14, which now includes South African teams alongside the Welsh, Irish and Scottish.

Betting on Rugby Union

All the household bookmakers offer odds on a range of rugby union matches, from international tussles all the way down to club contests.

And it is entirely up to you which wagers you choose.

The general outcomes are obvious and with plenty of free bet offers on the table you can test your knowledge and judgement without incurring any loss.

But once you get the hang of it, why not look at some of the more specific markets?

There are options for try scorers – first, last, anytime – as well as points totals for individual players, including the kickers, and half-time / full-time outcomes.

Drop goals remain a part of any team’s armoury; just ask Jonny Wilkinson whose extra-time three-pointer secured England World Cup success over Australia in 2003 and made him a global superstar.

With specialists now throughout the back division, it can be an enticing market to play.

FindBets will bring you all the latest news from the Rugby Union world to make sure you are as well informed as possible when it comes to making your choice.

Our experts know the game inside-out and will provide updates on injuries, suspensions and selections to make sure you have all the information at your fingertips.