Here are some of the highlights in the rugby union calendar.
RUGBY WORLD CUP
Every four years, the best international rugby union teams in the world compete for the right to hold the Webb Ellis Cup. The six-week tournament consists of a pool round, followed by a knockout stage.
First held in 1987, this is the single biggest event in rugby union. It also claims to be the third most watched global television sporting event, behind the football World Cup and the Olympic Games.
Beginning on the first weekend in February, and ending with Super Saturday in March, the Six Nations is an annual tournament featuring England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy and France. Each team plays every other team once.
The side with the most points wins the title. Any team winning all five games earns the prestige of Grand Slam. Any team from the UK or Ireland which beats the other ‘home nations’ is awarded the honour of a Triple Crown.
EUROPEAN RUGBY CHAMPIONS CUP
If you prefer your rugby union betting at club level, the European Rugby Champions Cup is not to be missed. Less predictable than the international games, club rugby union is a great market to play – and this is its biggest forum.
In the southern hemisphere, the annual rugby union club competition is the aptly named Super Rugby. Here club teams from Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa compete in a round-robin, followed by a knockout stage tournament.
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS TOUR
Every four years, the gladiators of British and Irish rugby head to the southern hemisphere to tour either New Zealand, Australia or South Africa. The travelling team consists of the crème de la crème of rugby union and expectations are always very high. The Lions have been touring since 1888 and the competition is fierce.
Premiership Rugby is the top tier of club rugby union in England. The season typically runs from September to June, with all the clubs playing each other both home and away.
When the regular season finishes, the top four clubs enter the play- offs. The final takes place at the spiritual home of rugby union - Twickenham Stadium. The top six teams all automatically qualify for the European Rugby Champions Cup.
Established in 2001, the PRO14 is an annual rugby league that features club teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Wales. Once again, the format is a points-based league, culminating in an end-of-season play off to determine the final winner.
The championship takes place between September and May. The top teams earn a place in the European Rugby Champions Cup.