The 2015 Rugby World Cup has seen the Southern Hemisphere reigning supreme, as all four Rugby Championship countries have made through to the semi finals that are slated to take place this weekend.
While both South Africa and New Zealand were both generally expected to make it to the semi finals, some doubt hovered over Australia’s ability to make it through the ‘Group of Death’ as well as Argentina’s chances of fighting it out with the Six Nations champions Ireland in the quarter finals.
Having all earned their places in the last four, two mouthwatering ties are slated to take place in England over the weekend that will see the identities of the 2015 Rugby World Cup finalists that will be played Sunday next week in Twickenham, revealed.
The action kicks off Sunday, when the Springboks meet the All Blacks, while the Los Pumas will try to make their way into the finale facing the Wallabies on Monday.
New Zealand vs South Africa
Even before a match was played at this year’s Rugby World Cup, it was largely expected that New Zealand would take control on their way to the final game, and come to their semi final with South Africa undefeated.
The All Blacks were absolutely underdone through the group stages of their campaign, however were also hardly tested by any of the opposition in their pool, except for the hard-fought battle with the 2nd placed Argentina, and their quarter final with France was a cakewalk.
The Springboks moved to long outsiders for to make a deep run after they lost their opener against Japan, but have since then rallied to produce some world-class rugby on the road to the semi finals.
Hardly tested in the rest of their group matches, the South Africans drew Wales in the quarter-finals.
South Africa and New Zealand have indeed produced many unforgettable matches in recent seasons, but so far they have only met once this year; a bruising 27-20 contest in Johannesburg the fell in favour of New Zealand.
As each of the two teams boasts of having one of the best backlines in the world, this encounter will surely be decided in the forwards, and will be won by the team that will dominate the line-out and the scrum.
New Zealand’s performance in obliterating the French last weekend was just too good to look past and they look well on their way to another Rugby World Cup final.
New Zealand to win by 10-21 points
New Zealand wins > 2.10
South Africa wins > 2.99
Australia vs Argentina
The Wallabies’ chances of progressing seemed something of a task when they were pooled together Wales and England, but they showcased plenty of class, skill, and tenacity to top the Group of Death undefeated.
Kick-starting their campaign with a huge win over the ever-perilous Fiji, the Wallabies were not stressed by Uruguay and they looked a class outfit when they ended England’s campaign with one of their most impressive performances at this year’s tournament.
Australia will welcome the return of David Pocock, their number 8 , and fullback Israeli Folau for their semi final against Los Pumas this weekend.
Los Pumas have come on leaps and bounds since they were admitted to Southern Hemisphere premier international tournament, which undoubtedly helped them to make it to this year’s Rugby World Cup semifinals.
Testing the All Blacks in their first group match before seeing off their other pool opponents comfortably, the Argentines were not really expected to go any further after they drew Ireland (Six Nations champions) in the quarter-finals, however they ended up producing one of their great performances leaving the Millennium Stadium with a comfortable 43-20 win.
Argentina can’t be underestimated in this match and considering the fact that they have really established themselves as a very serious Rugby country; climbing to a country-best fourth in the world rankings after their win against Ireland.
Australia will be heading to this match as favorites but simply can’t let the Los Pumas to clinch the upper hand early particularly in the contact araes. Argentina might have emptied the tank against Ireland last week and if that’s really the case, Australia should run out winners.
Australia to win by 11-20 points
Australia wins > 1.50
Argentina wins > 3.55