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Rugby World Cup 2023 – Quarter Finals Review, Semi Finals Preview

The four quarter finals at the Rugby World Cup 2023 produced some of the best rugby in many years. What do the semi’s promise?

Last week, we finalised how the Group Stages of the 2023 Rugby World Cup panned out. And then we previewed each of the four quarterfinals.

Those games have now been played and we know the four teams that will progress into the two semi-finals in Paris this weekend.

We will look at the four quarterfinal results first, before we give you a more in-depth preview of both semi-finals, with a number of tips for you for each game.

Of course, any odds shown are from the bet365 Sport site and were correct at the time of writing but may have changed in the meantime.

So let’s begin with a look back at what was a hugely dramatic World Cup Quarter Final weekend, in which all four games went right down to the wire.

Rugby World Cup 2023 – Quarter Final Results

Wales 17

  • Wales Tries – Biggar 14, Williams 55
  • Wales Conversions – Biggar 16,55
  • Wales Penalties – Biggar 21

Argentina 29

  • Argentina Tries – Sclavi 68, Sanchez 77
  • Argentina Conversions – Boffelli 69,78
  • Argentina Penalties – Boffelli 39,44,45,48, Sanchez 81

A superb second-half fightback from Argentina stymied Wales and ensured that it would be Argentina that would be heading into the semifinals.

It began well for Wales with Dan Biggar converting his own try and then scoring a penalty to put Wales 10-0 up after 20 minutes and as we headed towards the half, the Welsh were looking comfortable.

However, two first half penalties late on in the half from Boffelli cut the deficit to just four points and that proved crucial in the end. Bofelli added two more penalties early in the second half to hand Argentina a 12-10 lead, but Wales struck back with Tomos Williams scoring just five minutes after coming off the bench, which Biggar once again converted.

Leading 17-12, Wales looked set to move on but Argentina grew stronger as the game wore on and two tries proved crucial, Sclavi scored the first, which was converted to put Argentina back in front 19-17 but then as Wales tried to play out, Sanchez intercepted to race through and score the killer try to put Argentina 26-17 up.

A late penalty embellished the scoreline a little, but Argentina deserved the win.

Ireland 24

  • Ireland Tries – Aki 27, Gibson-Park 39, Penalty Try 64
  • Ireland Conversions – Sexton 29,40
  • Ireland Penalties – Sexton 22

New Zealand 28

  • New Zealand Tries – Fainga’anuku 19, Savea 33, Jordan 53
  • New Zealand Conversions – Mo’unga 27, Barrett 54
  • New Zealand Penalties – Mo’unga 8, Barrett 14,69

New Zealand withstood 37 phases of Irish pressure late in the game to record a massive win and not only evict Ireland from the tournament, but also dethrone them as World Number 1s. For Ireland, it is another heart-breaking result at the quarterfinal stage.

They may never have a better chance to win this trophy after a stellar couple of years has seen them win the Six Nations Grand Slam, win a series in New Zealand and move to number 1 in the World.

Despite holding a narrow lead at the half, New Zealand could never pull clear of the battling Irish but the fact that Ireland could only score seven points in the second half, from a penalty try, was the reason the All Blacks hung on to victory.

It was a sensational game of rugby at the Stade de France, and was quickly lauded as one of the best games ever.

England 30

  • England Tries – Tuilagi 14, Marchant 23
  • England Conversions – Farrell 23
  • England Penalties – Farrell 11,34,38,54,78
  • England Drop Goal – Farrell 72

Fiji 24

  • Fiji Tries – Mata 28, Ravai 64, Botitu 68
  • Fiji Conversions – Lomani 29, Kuruvoli 65,70
  • Fiji Penalties – Lomani 20

For an hour of this game, England looked very comfortable, then came two Fijian tries in four minutes which saw the Pacific Islanders draw level and threaten to repeat the win over England that they enjoyed back in the Summer.

However, this time, England dug in and found a way to win, ostensibly from the boot of Owen Farrell, whose late Drop Goal and Penalty put England in a six point lead, which they held onto despite fierce Fijian pressure as the game drifted into added time.

England moved on to the semi-finals, despite suffering a poor run of form in the run up to the tournament and in the Six Nations earlier this year. The winner of the France v South Africa tie would await them next Saturday.

France 28

  • France Tries – Baille 4,31, Mauvaka 22
  • France Conversions – Ramos 5,32
  • France Penalties – Ramos 41,54,73

South Africa 29

  • South Africa Tries – Arendse 8, De Allende 18, Kolbe 26, Etzebeth 67
  • South Africa Conversions – Libbok 10,28, Pollard 67
  • South Africa Penalties – Pollard 69

In what was one of the greatest first halves of rugby ever played, France led 22-19 at the break, but in the end it would be a second half converted try from Etzebeth and a crucial blocked conversion attempt in the first half that would ultimately decide this game in South Africa’s favour.

The first half had so much quality that the pace could not continue after the break and despite a valiant effort by the hosts, it is the holders that moved on to a semi-final with England in Paris next Saturday.

Like two heavyweights in the ring, the two teams traded blows in the first half but a blocked conversion by Kolbe from Ramos proved to be the key point in the game.

That and Etzebeth’s second half try put South Africa in control and while the French did muster a late penalty, it wasn’t enough for them to progress.

Rugby World Cup 2023 – Semi Finals Preview & Tips

Friday 20th October

Argentina v New Zealand

  • Venue – Stade de France, Paris
  • Kick Off Time – 7.00pm
  • Referee – Angus Gardner (Australia)
  • Latest Betting Odds – Argentina – 15/2, New Zealand – 1/12, Draw – 40/1

New Zealand start as the heavy favourites here, having beaten Argentina comfortably 41-12 back in July.

In 37 games between the two teams, New Zealand have won 34 of them, with Argentina winning twice and one test match drawn.

Argentina’s last win came in August 2022, a 25-18 win in Christchurch, but New Zealand have won the last two by big margins 53-3 in September 2022 and 41-12 in July this year.

I can’t see anything other than a solid win for the All-Blacks here.

Score Prediction – Argentina 15-38 New Zealand

Saturday 21st October

England v South Africa

  • Venue – Stade de France, Paris
  • Kick Off Time – 7.00pm
  • Referee – Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
  • Latest Betting Odds – England – 9/2, South Africa – 1/6, Draw – 33/1

England battled hard to beat Fiji in the last round but they are going to have to improve much further if they are to stand a chance against the team that beat them in the 2019 World Cup Final, South Africa.

Despite losing to Ireland in the Group Stages, South Africa have bounced back and ousted hosts France from the tournament last weekend in what was an incredible game of rugby.

The Springboks are the clear bookmakers favourites, but England will much prefer to be the underdog in this game but even so, I can’t see how Steve Borthwick’s men can win this one.

I expect England to put up a valiant effort, but South Africa to land the win.

Score Prediction – England 13-19 South Africa

Ian John

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