Rugby World Cup: Quarter-final previews, Wallabies vs England, All Blacks vs Ireland, Japan vs Springboks, analysis
Oct. 13, 2019
And so there were eight.
Japan’s epic 28-21 win over Scotland in the final pool match of the tournament sealed their maiden quarter-finals berth.
By doing so, they became the final side to seal their place in the quarter-finals.
Here is everything you need to know about the 2019 Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.
QF1: England vs Australia at Oita Stadium, 6:15pm AEDT Saturday October 19
Snapshot: The finalists in 1991 and 2003, England are favourites to do what they did in 2007 and that’s beat the Wallabies at the quarter-finals stage.
Since the Wallabies smashed England in their own backyard to see them become the first host-nation not to qualify for the World Cup finals in 2015, Eddie Jones’ side have won six straight Tests over Australia.
During that time, Jones’ side equalled the All Blacks’ record of 18 straight Test victories.
They also won the Six Nations in 2016 and 2017 and after a rocky start to 2018 have made inroads since.
In stark contrast, the Wallabies are coming off the back of their worst year since 1958.
But one clinical 80 minute performance against the All Blacks in Perth showed that the Wallabies have the tools at their disposal to match it with any team in the world.
Consistency has been their worst enemy though and that sentiment has been evident throughout the Wallabies’ run to the finals, where with the exception of a brilliant 20-minute effort in the second half against Wales have failed to fire.
England, too, had their crucial final pool match against France cancelled due to Typhoon Hagibis and could therefore be a bit underdone.
Road to finals:
England: 35-3 win over Tonga, 45-7 win over USA, 39-10 win over Argentina, 0-0 draw to France.
Australia: 39-21 win over Fiji, 25-29 loss to Wales, 45-10 win over Uruguay, 27-8 win over Georgia.
Odds: England $1.30, Australia $3.50
QF2: New Zealand vs Ireland at Tokyo Stadium, 9:15pm AEDT Saturday October 19
Snapshot: Despite winning two of their past three matchups against the world champions, the All Blacks are heavy favourites against Ireland.
After being crowned Six Nations in 2018, winning their maiden series win over the Wallabies in Australia and beating the All Blacks on home soil for the first time, Ireland have struggled to reach the heights of last year.
Joe Schmidt’s men lost to both England and Wales during this year’s Six Nations and their sketchy form continued throughout the World Cup warm ups.
Despite a comprehensive 27-3 win over Scotland in their opening pool match, Ireland’s shock 19-12 loss to Japan showed that they hadn’t yet rediscovered their mojo.
Yet, with Johnny Sexton and Conor Murray in the halves and a disciplined and experienced side around them Ireland can’t be written off.
The All Blacks are the favourites to make it a three-peat in Japan next month.
They might have lost the world No 1 status in August, but there’s little doubt they are the premier side in the world.
Their 23-13 win over the Springboks on the second night of the World Cup was another reminder of that status.
But the fact that the All Blacks, like England, had their final pool match against Italy cancelled does mean they will not have played a match in two weeks.
It’s also robbed the likes of Brodie Retallick some precious game time after a long-term injury.
Road to the finals:
New Zealand: 23-13 win over South Africa, 63-0 win over Canada, 71-9 win over Namibia, 0-0 draw to Italy.
Ireland: 27-3 win over Scotland, 12-19 loss to Japan, 35-0 win over Russia, 47-5 win over Samoa.
Odds: New Zealand $1.17, Ireland $5.10
QF3: Wales vs France at Oita Stadium, 6:15pm AEDT Sunday October 20
Snapshot: Wales are the favourites.
But you can never write off France at a World Cup, particularly a French side that’s in upheaval.
The French are reportedly in a civil war with one another and that means only one thing — danger.
With a young and exciting crop of players coming through the system though France could unsettle Wales.
Warren Gatland’s men, meanwhile, will be holding their breath for playmaker Dan Biggar.
The experienced playmaker suffered another sickening concussion against Fiji and is in doubt for the quarter-final.
Rhys Patchell has been a composed figure for the Welsh.
But it was only three months ago that he was jostling for the third No 10 spot, before injury to Gareth Anscombe allowed an opening for Patchell.
The reserve playmaker was brilliant against the Wallabies in guiding them to an excellent win in their second pool match.
Road to the finals:
Wales: 43-14 win over Georgia, 29-25 win over Australia, 29-17 win over Fiji, 35-13 win over Uruguay.
France: 23-21 win over Argentina, 33-9 win over USA, 23-21 win over Tonga, 0-0 draw to England.
Odds: Wales $1.40, France $2.97
QF4: Japan vs South Africa at Tokyo Stadium, 9:15pm AEDT Sunday October 19
Snapshot: Can Japan do it again and shock the two-time world champions?
Their extraordinary 34-32 win over the Springboks in their opening pool match of the 2015 campaign saw Japan make a movie over the greatest upset in World Cup history.
Now, the Japanese genie is about of the bottle.
Their brilliant 19-12 confirmed that Japan are the real deal and Sunday’s hard fought 28-21 win over Scotland saw them go through the pool stage undefeated.
With one of the best coaching teams assembled, which includes head coach Jamie Joseph and attack man Tony Brown, the Japanese must be given a chance against the Springboks.
Japan’s success has seen the Springboks go under the radar in recent times.
The Springboks’ 23-13 loss to the All Blacks and their relatively easy matches since has meant that Rassie Erasmus’ men have gone about their business quietly.
But with one of the best forward packs and set-pieces in the tournament, as well as a solid halves pairing in Faf de Klerk and Handre Pollard, the Springboks will be a mighty test for the Japanese.
Road to the finals:
Japan: 30-10 win over Russia, 19-12 win over Ireland, 38-19 win over Samoa, 28-21 win over Scotland.
South Africa: 13-23 loss to New Zealand, 57-3 win over Namibia, 49-3 win over Italy, 66-7 win over Canada.
Odds: Japan $5.75, South Africa 1.14
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