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Down to business at Rugby World Cup

Written by Pierre McLeod (pierre_mackie)

Posted in :Original Content, RWC 2015, Springboks on 15 Oct 2015 at 14:39
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

The 2015 Rugby World Cup has finally reached the play-off stages and despite a hiccough here and there the eight teams predicted even before the start of the tournament are all in the quarter-finals.

The Springboks will open the business end proceedings on Saturday after topping Pool B and are set to face Wales, who came second in Pool A, at Twickenham. The winner of Pool C, New Zealand are set to face their Rugby World Cup bogey team France who finished second in Pool D. Pool D winners Ireland will face second placed Argentina from Pool C while Pool A winners Australia will play Scotland, who finished second in Pool B.

All qualifying teams have played each other in previous Rugby World Cups either in pool stages or play-off rounds with some rather interesting results.

Overall South Africa have played Wales 30 times, they have won 27, 2 ended in favour of Wales and 1 draw. They have faced each other ones at a Rugby World Cup in 2011 when the Springboks won 17 – 16 in their opening pool match, after trailing 10 – 16 as the game reached the final quarter. The Boks, however, scored the winning try in the 65th minute while Wales had two late opportunities to take it during the closing minutes but failed with a drop goal and a penalty kick.

Probably the most anticipated match-up must be New Zealand and France. With New Zealand being the favourites in any other test match, Rugby World Cup is a different ball game all together. New Zealand won the two finals in 1987 and 2011 and the third place play-off in 2003, while France caused major upsets during the 1999 semi-final and 2007 quarter-final, when they beat them 43 – 32 and 20 – 18.

The one game that could possibly go either way is most likely Ireland against Argentina. Ireland have the upper hand having won 10 of their 15 matches, but it’s at Rugby World Cup where things look slightly different. Argentina have won 3 out of their 4 encounters, with Ireland taking the 2003 pool match 16 – 15. The last time they met at a Rugby World Cup Argentina won comfortably 30 – 15 at the 2007 tournament in France.

The most predictable match of the weekend must be Australia against Scotland. Australia have been quietly going about doing their business as they held on to beat Wales, 15 – 6, on the weekend after being reduced to 13 men at one stage as a strong defensive effort saw them through to face a rather easier path to the semi-finals. They have met each other ones at Rugby World Cup in a 2003 quarter-final when Australia won 33 – 16.

Not to jump the gun, but if all goes according to plan next week’s semi-finals should be South Africa against New Zealand, which is a final in itself, and Australia against Ireland.


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