And Then There Were Four – RWC 2015 Quarter Finals

Glory and Heartbreak at the Quarter Finals

The first knock-out round of the Rugby World Cup did not disappoint. Some of the best rugby of the tournament was on display but it was the Southern Hemisphere that swept the Quarter Finals, knocking out Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to create a Rugby Championship Semi Final Weekend. We take a look at who made it to the Semi Finals, who missed out and who should we expect to see in the final game.

 South Africa v New Zealand – Semi Final 1

South Africa and New Zealand have arrived at this Quarter Final after very different journeys. South Africa, after faltering against Japan, showed real grit to bounce back and win the rest of their group matches. They then had one of the games of the tournament against Wales, that ultimately was decided by a stunning try from the Springboks.

Tendai Mtawarira - South Africa prop is heald up by the Welsh defence. South Africa v Wales, Rugby World Cup, Quarter Final, Twickenham Stadium, London, England, Saturday 17 October 2015 ***PLEASE CREDIT: FOTOSPORT/DAVID GIBSON*** South Africa v Wales, Rugby World Cup, Quarter Final, Twickenham Stadium, London, England, Saturday 17 October 2015 ***PLEASE CREDIT: FOTOSPORT/DAVID GIBSON***
Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira – South Africa prop is held up by the Welsh defence.

New Zealand, on the other hand, arrived at the Quarter Finals after winning every game in their group (although not as convincingly as people had expected). This led some to expect that their Match against France, seen as their first ‘Big Test’, might be a close run thing. It certainly wasn’t that. France were thoroughly schooled by a blazing All Blacks squad that suddenly looked to be on Rugby World Cup winning form.

Now these two southern hemisphere giants of rugby will meet in the Semi Finals.

As far as winning records against the All Blacks go, South Africa have one of the better ones

As far as winning records against the All Blacks go, South Africa have one of the better ones but New Zealand still have to been seen as strong favourites, especially now Carter seems to be back in form. Combine Carters returned form with the blistering talent of Savea and Skudder; the Springboks have their work cut out for them.

Argentina v Australia – Semi Final 2

The second pair of Semi Finalists are made up from results few were expecting. Ireland were favourites to beat Argentina but the 6 Nation Champions were put to the sword by the Pumas. Ireland were unable to make up the deficit of the first half and that must partly come down to the missing key players. Paul O’Connell watched painfully from the stands as Argentina put on a passionate and ferocious display.

Greig Laidlaw - Scotland captain throws his hands up in dismay as referee Craig Joubert (South Africa) blows his whistle for full time. Scotland v Australia, Rugby World Cup, Quarter Final, Twickenham Stadium, London, England, Sunday 18 October 2015 ***PLEASE CREDIT: FOTOSPORT/DAVID GIBSON***
Scotland players and fans were aggrieved by the decision to give Australia a penalty in the dying moments.

The final and most controversial Quarter Final saw the Wallabies get their spot in the Semis in a down to the wire game with Scotland. A fantastic game of rugby was marred by the controversial penalty given by Joubert at the end of the game and his subsequent quick run off the pitch after the final whistle.

A controversial penalty but Scotland’s Lineout should not have failed.

While World Rugby have come out to say the penalty was the wrong call, many commentators have shared the sentiment that Scotland’s lineout shouldn’t have failed in the first place. The final minutes will be how this game is remembered but these highlights show what a phenomenal full 80 minutes it was:

4 Will Become 2

The Semi Finals of RWC 2015 will be fierce contests and although there are of course favourites, a place in the final is there for the taking for any of the teams. Who do you think will be battling it out for the trophy on Halloween? Let us know over @rugby_store on Twitter.

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