Wales vs Argentina
14/10/2023 – 17:00
Wales wasn’t considered a tournament favourite considering their terrible Six Nations campaign. Pool C looked like a group that the Wallabies would dominate followed by the Welsh. But that wasn’t to be. Apart from the Dragon’s clash against Fiji, which went down to the wire, they won their three games at a canter – smashing the Wallabies, 40 – 6 in the process. They scored an impressive 143 points across their opening matches and conceded a Pool C low of 59 points.
Wales have a decent record at the World Cup. They haven’t won the prestigious event but have reached the semi-finals in two of the previous three tournaments. Their Rugby World Cup stats make them challenging to oppose in the last-eight showdown against Argentina.
The Pumas were the big winners on the last match-day. They secured second place in Pool D after a hard-fought 39 – 27 victory over Japan. Argentina have impressed with their attacking qualities. They’ll need to improve defensively ahead of this clash if they want to reach the semi-finals for the second time in three editions of the World Cup.
Taulupe Faletau is the big miss for Wales, but Dan Biggar and Liam Williams will return to the line-up. The Pumas will fight till the death, but Wales could have the edge and quality that will see them advance to the semi-final.
WALES TO WIN.
Ireland vs New Zealand
14/10/2023 – 21:00
The Six Nations champions along with France and South Africa were labelled as the tournament favourites. Ireland’s current streak and form gives them the edge to book a maiden World Cup semi-final by stretching their winning run to 18 Tests, which would equal the tier-one record shared by New Zealand and England.
But we can’t write off the All Blacks! Coach Ian Foster will have hopes of replicating the Springboks 2019 triumph of having lost their opening game and going on to lift the trophy. If they can get past the Irish, they’ll have a great chance of going all the way. Apart from the opening game loss to hosts France, the All Blacks landed victories in each of their following three matches and ended the pool stage with a group-high of 210 points.
Irish duo Mack Hansen and James Lowe have both been passed fit, but Andy Farrell has named an unchanged XV. Meanwhile, Ian Foster has dropped Mark Telea for breaking protocols, but the big guns, Ardie Savea, Beauden Barrett, Scott Barrett, and Aaron Smith all return to the starting lineup.
Ireland is unstoppable at this point, and it will take a remarkable effort from New Zealand to overcome them. This match is fit for a final, but hearts will be broken and it’s going to be close. This could be Ireland’s time.
IRELAND TO WIN
England vs Fiji
15/10/2023 – 17:00
England’s World Cup expectations were at an all-time low leading up to the start of the tournament. Those expectations were reflected by their betting odds. Pool D was not that easy, but tricky if you allowed it to be. England did well to pick up four wins, despite having to work hard in their final match against Samoa (18-17).
Fiji, meanwhile, is appearing in the knockout phase for only the third time. It’s their first since 2007, raising doubts over their ability to deliver when the pressure is on. The Fijians won two of their group games and they needed a point against Portugal to advance. But Portugal stunned the world by claiming their first-ever win at a World Cup over Fiji. Mighty Fiji snuck into the quarters with a losing bonus point ahead of the Wallabies. If Fiji produces that same performance, England will run through them.
England will play the rest of the World Cup without Jack Willis, who has been replaced in the squad by Sam Underhill. Owen Farrell’s experience could earn him a start. Caleb Muntz remains out for Fiji, while Jusua Tuisova is doubtful.
England will be favourites to go through and Fiji will embrace the underdog tag. It’s going to be brutal, and we should see a more composed Fijian outfit. England should have the BMT (Big Match Temperament) that will see them reach the semi-final stage for the second straight edition of the tournament.
ENGLAND TO WIN.
France vs South Africa
15/10/2023 – 21:00
This game is fit to be the final!
Fans believe that the potential winner of this year’s spectacle will come from this clash of the titans. The hosts have already risen to the occasion at their home tournament, with their standout victory coming against New Zealand in the opening game.
Yet, they have been forced to deploy different tactics throughout the pool stage due to the absence of influential Antoine Dupont. France’s talisman returns for this match on Sunday, and a lot will be on the shoulders of one of the world’s best players. France has never lost on home soil when their skipper has started. They’ll hope this trend will continue.
The Springbok’s only loss came against Ireland. Their stellar defensive record – opponent have scored just 34 points against them – ensures that they remain a key contender in the race for the crown. Mannie Libbok, along with Cobus Reinach, returns to the starting XV, ahead of Handre Pollard and Faf de Klerk. This selection will raise a few eyebrows, but this allows a very different tactical game in the second half if needed. It also gives the Boks some insurance on the goal-kicking front.
South Africa will be colossal and hungry to topple the French on their hallowed turf. They’ve got the quality, skill, and muscle to get the job done. France is incredible and given the crazy home support – they might have enough in them to grind out a narrow win and break South African hearts.
FRANCE TO WIN
TAKE THE SUPA QUADRUPLE – FRANCE/IRELAND/ENGLAND/WALES @ 5/1
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