As I start typing this Ireland are teetering on the brink of elimination, trailing 33-20 to Argentina. This is quite a turn up, the Argentinians are a good team, but Ireland were favourites.
It would be kind of nice for an upset, especially as the first two Quarter Finals stuck to the script.
Wales were knocked out by South Africa in a tight, enthralling match. I’d already made peace with the fact Wales were unlikely to win and only hoped we’d put on a good show. In that respect we definitely did.
Having missed the start I arrived to see Dan Biggar kick a conversion and the scores were close, with Wales leading 10-9. It didn’t last long but Wales kept in it, thanks to some solid defending and Biggar’s kicking.
South Africa looked strong but Wales kept them contained, and just before the break Biggar hit a drop goal for Wales to lead 13-12.
In the second half it was more of the same with the teams trading scores and there was only a point in it as they entered the last ten minutes. With six minutes left South Africa broke from a scrum and a beautiful pass from Duane Vermeulen, set captain Fourie De Preez on course to dive for the line.
The conversion mixed Wales only needed a score to win, but South Africa dug in and repelled them. On balance South Africa deserved their win, but Wales had played well and pushed them, and it was a respectable performance and I was proud of our players.
Ireland are out! A fantastic last try rounded off a strong Argentinian performance and they deserved their win. 43-20.
Scotland are the last Northern Hemisphere team in the tournament!
If the first quarter final was close the second was a different affair. I’d thought New Zealand would win, but anticipated the French putting up a solid resistance. However, this didn’t happen.
It started slowly, with the All Blacks doing some great running but the French looking like they could hold on, but on their first real mistake New Zealand capitalised with an opportunistic, but well taken, try. Brodie Retallick charged down a hesitant clearance, caught it off the bounce and raced for the line.
If the first was lucky and scrappy, the second was smooth and effective, with fantastic passing and running leading to Nehe Miner-Skudder dashing away from everyone to score. The third was just a work of art, Dan Carter threw a beautiful one handed pass to Julian Savea, who showed power and speed to score.
Fence pulled a try back, but their joy was short lived as Savea bagged his second two minutes later and at the interval they led 29-13.
In the second half France looked even shakier, and their I’ll discipline started to show. Nigel Owens sent Louis Picamoles to the bin after a fracas, and the All Blacks added another try.
With just over twenty minutes to go Savea completed his hat trick and it was now a question of how big a margin would New Zealand get. They were clearly having fun, passing and running with almost effortless skill. MWF was mightily impresses, marvelling at their physicality and skill.
It was amazing to watch, a very different entertainment to the close first match, this was one team running rampant, and while one sided matches can be boring or seem cruel it was hard not to enjoy the All Blacks in full flow.
Kieran Read touched down under the posts and Tawera Kerr-Barlow grabbed a brace and it finished a resounding 62-13 win. South Africa vs New Zealand should be a hell of a match, and I’m leaning to New Zealand to win.
I’m currently 2/3 on predictions, I’m off to see if Scotland surprise me or if Australia stay on script.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.