The funds investing in Rugby World Cup hopefuls

Sam Slator 06/09/2023 in Multi-Asset

England’s rugby team will be hoping to re-create their phenomenal success of 20 years ago when they take part in the men’s Rugby World Cup 2023.

Head coach Steve Borthwick and his 33-player squad face Argentina this coming weekend (September 9th) in their opening game of the tournament that’s being held in France. But it remains to be seen whether the team can replicate the remarkable 2003 when Johnny Wilkinson’s extra-time goal broke Australian hearts.

What’s it all about?

The Rugby World Cup, which has been staged since 1987, takes place every four years in front of an estimated global television audience of 500 million people. The showpiece event features 20 teams. Twelve made it by finishing in the top three of their pool at the 2019 tournament, while the remaining eight went through a qualification process.

Hosts France take on New Zealand in the first match on September 8th, with the final taking place at the Stade de France in late October. In total, 48 matches will be played across 51 days.

Rugby World Cup facts

Twenty five teams have taken part in a men’s Rugby World Cup, with Chile set to make its debut at the 2023 tournament.

Four teams have emerged victorious. New Zealand and South Africa have been the most successful with three wins each. Australia has picked up the Webb Ellis Cup twice and England once.

France has the dubious honour of being the only team to have reached a World Final – which the team has done on three occasions – but never clinching the title.

Investment opportunities

With the world’s eyes being trained on the 20 qualifying countries over the next couple of months, it gives us the perfect excuse to explore their investment opportunities.

Here we take a look at the funds with exposure to some of the giants of rugby and why they may be worth considering for your portfolio.

South Africa

Let’s start with the defending champions. South Africa ran out the 32-12 winners over England in the Japan 2019 tournament final. It was the country’s third victory, following success in 1995 and 2007. In fact, South Africa has never lost a final and the team is currently ranked second in the world behind Ireland.

The country is not overly popular among Elite Rated managers. Being an emerging market, stock picking is crucial to help mitigate some of the risks. The Federated Hermes Global Emerging Markets SMID Equity fund has 2.12% exposure*, while M&G Emerging Markets Bond holds slightly more of the country’s debt with a 3.4% weighting*. Ninety One Global Gold also has 4.7% exposure*.

New Zealand

Next up is the other most successful country in terms of World Cup wins. The All Blacks won the first ever tournament and are the only ones to have successfully defended their title.

The team’s most recent victory came in 2015 against Australia at London’s Twickenham Stadium. A third place finish in Japan in 2019 followed.

It’s another area where investment opportunities are not as popular, however. Schroder Asian Income fund has a small exposure of 0.8%*, while VT Gravis Clean Energy Income has a 4.5% weighting*.


Although the record books show that Australia is the third most successful team in previous World Cups, its two victories came more than two decades ago. The Wallabies won in 1991 and 1999, as well as coming runners-up in both 2003 and 2015. Currently, the team is ranked ninth in the world.

Australian companies are far more popular among our managers. It is the largest country weighting in the Jupiter Asian Income fund at 33.2%*, and Guinness Asian Equity Income has a 10.8%* allocation. The aforementioned Schroder Asian Income and Ninety One Global Gold funds also have 18.5%* and 26.6%* respectively.


The host nation is currently ranked third in the world. While the French have never taken home the Webb Ellis Cup, they’ve been runners up in 1987, 1999 and 2011.

France is again popular with Elite rated managers and is the largest country allocation at 29.4% in the Fidelity European fund*. It also has exposure to Italy, Ireland and the United Kingdom*. It’s also the largest country weighting in Janus Henderson European Selected Opportunities* and BlackRock Continental European Income*.

The home nations

England, Scotland and Wales have all made it through to the finals. Could Scotland or Wales exceed expectations? Will this be England’s year? The team made it to the final four years ago – losing to South Africa at the International Stadium in Yokohama – so the dream is to go one step further. As already mentioned, England’s one and only victory came back in 2003, although the team has been runners up on three occasions: 1991, 2007, and 2019.

While the home nations have separate teams, in the investment world they come under the same banner of the United Kingdom and there is certainly no shortage of funds investing here.

You can research all Elite Rated UK equity funds here.

*Source: fund factsheet, 31 July 2023


Photo by Thomas Serer on Unsplash

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