England v Australia - Group A: Rugby World Cup 2015

WHEN the rest of the world was rubbishing Australia’s World Cup chances earlier this year and talk was rife they wouldn’t escape the pool stage, ARU head honchos took a huge gamble.

They saw what was happening in camp under the new coach Michael Cheika, they realised this once fractured team had been completely united, and they bet that the Wallabies would win the World Cup. Literally.

The ARU placed a $300,000 wager with a local corporate bookmaker, through a third-party insurance firm, to collect more than $3 million for Australia to win the William Webb Ellis trophy.



Is it legal? Yes, because the bet is deemed an insurance move to minimise losses for the bonus payment that ARU has to make to its players if they win.

he ARU and players’ association RUPA agreed earlier this year that if the Wallabies won the World Cup, each player would get a $100,000 bonus on top of their annual salary and match payments.

With 33 players used at this tournament, that is a $3.3 million payment hanging over the head of the ARU, who have been struggling financially for years.

To offset that risk, the ARU placed a bet well before the World Cup — and well before they regained their No. 2 world ranking after falling as a low sixth last year — that Cheika’s men would hoist the trophy at Twickenham.

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