The 2015 Rugby World Cup has seen some fantastic rugby from Tier 1 and Tier 2 sides alike, and it’s only going to get better as we head into the Quarter Finals. All 4 games are being played this weekend and the fixtures and our tips are as follows:
Saturday 17th October
4pm – Wales v South Africa
South Africa -9 at Evens
Special Offer: South Africa 4/1 or Wales 10/1 plus £100 in free bets!
8pm – New Zealand v France
France +12 at 11/10
Special Offer: New Zealand 3/1 plus £100 in free bets!
Sunday 18th October
1pm – Ireland v Argentina
Ireland by 1 to 10 at 7/4
Special Offer: Ireland 4/1 plus £100 in free bets!
Ireland 4/1 plus £100 in free bets
4pm – Australia v Scotland
Australia -16 at Evens
Special Offer: Australia 3/1 plus £100 in free bets!
To start us off with this mammoth weekend of rugby action, we have Wales v South Africa. Wales have qualified from the group but been done absolutely no favours and now have to face an in form South Africa team who brushed Scotland aside without ever having to reach top gear, although they were beaten by Japan in their opening game while still finding their feet. Wales on the other hand, in a tournament plagued by England, played an exceptional game against England to scrape through but couldn’t find the key to cracking open the Australia defense to top the group despite dominating for long periods in terms of both territory and number of men on the pitch.
The last two games between these two teams have been close affairs; Wales beat South Africa 12 – 6 in November in their last meeting, breaking South Africa’s winning streak of 16 – their longest in history. In fact, Wales’s aforementioned victory was their only ever win against South Africa. Combined with their ever increasing injury list – Dan Lydiate, Liam Williams, Rhys Webb, Leigh Halfpenny, Eli Walker, Mike Phillips, Tyler Morgan, Gareth Ansombe, Scott Williams and James Hook are all out – I’m expecting the tough group to have taken it’s effect on Wales who I have no doubt will battle hard. The physicality of the game should prove just a step too far with South Africa having some huge hitters and lightning fast wingers, and I expect the game to slip away from Wales in the second half. A potential value bet is a Double Result on HT Wales, FT South Africa at 5/1.
Next up is New Zealand v France. The current holders have been disappointing so far, although it would always be tough to impress in their group. With New Zealand such overwhelming favourites going into this competition, the pressure is probably off France a little, who not many are expecting to win. Much like in 2007, when France scrapped past them in the quarter finals. New Zealand may have got the better of them in the 2011 World Cup final on the biggest of stages, but it’ll take them some time to get warmed up having essentially played 3 walk overs in a row against Namibia, Georgia and Tonga. This requires a gear up and France will make them fight all the way to the line, matching power with power. Expect a close game but New Zealand to always just about hold the upper hand. The handicap of +12 looks generous.
Time for a hearty breakfast on Sunday morning to set yourself up for the next 2 quarter finals. The low point of Ireland’s campaign so far has been the injury to captain Paul O’Connell, who tore his hamstring on Sunday. Ireland are also missing Sean O’Brien (cited for a stupid punch) but while Johnny Sexton is a doubt he’s expected to play through his injury which would be a big boost. Ireland played an exceptional game against France but Argentina are no walk overs, only losing by 10 points to New Zealand in their opening game before making impressively easy work of some tricky fixtures to finish a clear 2nd in their group. Ireland haven’t been beaten by Los Pumas since 2007 – at the last World Cup – but the Argentina’s put up solid fights in the Irish tour of Argentian last year. With a full strength team I’d be tempted by a big Ireland win, but Ireland seem to be attempting to rival Wales for the accolade of most injuries to important players and this could end up being a close game but the experience of Ireland should see them through here. They’ll need to be strong defensively and take their chances when they come and it could be a low scoring game.
Finally, Australia v Scotland. Scotland were handed a fairly easy group, although their opener against Japan was an impressive display given the outcome of their first group game against South Africa. A poor first half against the USA was followed by a dominant 2nd half display, while they were far from disgraced against South Africa. However, they’ve got a very tough draw here against an Australia team who dismantled England with ease and then showed a textbook defensive performance against Wales with their backs against the wall to top their group. This is the country’s first meeting since 2013 when Australia were narrow winners, but today – based on what both teams have shown so far this World Cup – this could be a big win for Australia who will look to further shout their claims to lift the trophy for the first time since 1999 (when Wales hosted the tournament).