RWC Quarter Finals – Preview and Tale of the Tape
Of the 23 previous World Cup quarter finals in which an undefeated team has faced a team which had already suffered a loss, the undefeated Group Winner has won on 20 occasions (87%).
This makes good reading for England, Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand. To further preview the quarter finals, we examine the team’s previous World Cup records and which side has generally had the advantage throughout history, before making some fearless predictions as to the outcomes of what should be a great weekend of Rugby.
England vs France
France is the 1st team in World Cup history to make the quarter finals having been defeated twice in the pool stages.
This match represents the 7th straight quarter final appearance for both England and France. France has won 5/6 to date, England 4/6. England’s record in all World Cup knockout matches is slightly superior at 8/13 compared to France’s 7/13.
These sides have met on three previous occasions in World Cup history, with all three matches occurring in the knockout stages, and all three going to England. England has knocked France out of the last two World Cups.
England lead the all time record 51 to 36 (7 draws), and have won 4 of their last 5 matches against the French.
While England have failed to sparkle so far in the tournament, they have exhibited a “Rod Macqueen era Wallabies” like ability to get themselves out of jail, sealing both their wins over Argentina and Scotland with late tries. France have been in disarray and statistically come into the quarter finals as the worst performing group stage team ever.
All signs point to another England World Cup victory over the French.
Tip = England
Ireland vs Wales
The winner of this clash will be in unknown territory – Ireland have yet to win a Quarter Final in 4 previous attempts, and while Wales have won 1 of 3 quarter finals, that victory was in the first World Cup in 1987.
These teams have met twice in World Cups, Wales winning in 1987 and Ireland in 1995.
Wales lead the all time record 63 – 47 (6 draws), however Ireland hold a 3-2 edge in the last 5 matches between the sides.
Both sides have impressed so far in RWC 2011. Ireland won Pool C in style by defeating Australia and thrashing Six Nations rivals Italy, while Wales has displayed some brilliant attacking Rugby during their campaign and pushed reigning world champions South Africa to the wire in their opening match.
The bookies have Ireland as favourites, and the grind it out style they displayed against the Wallabies seems tailor made for the latter stages of the World Cup. However I’m backing the Welsh loose forwards to supply enough quality ball to their backs to enable them to ensure victory.
Tip = Wales
South Africa vs Australia
These nations boast the two strongest World Cup knockout round records; South Africa having won 7 / 9 to date and Australia 9 / 13. Neither has ever missed the Quarter finals. South Africa has won 3 / 4 Quarter finals to date while Australia has won 4 / 6.
So far in World Cup history the record stands at 1-1. South Africa beat Australia in its first ever World Cup match in 1995, and Australia more than repaid them by winning the 1999 semi final 27 – 21 in extra time.
South Africa have historically had an edge over Australia, leading the all time series 41 – 31 (1 Draw), however Australia have had the wood on their Tri Nations rivals in recent years, winning 4 of the last 5 encounters.
This match is going to be extremely tight. Australia’s recent strong record against the Springboks has bookies judging them slight favourites. With the weather and refereeing likely to favour the South African’s forward dominated play, I give a slight edge to South Africa
Tip = South Africa
New Zealand vs Argentina
This is New Zealand’s 7th quarter final, and they had been undefeated in their first 5 quarter finals until their shock loss to France in 2007. This will be Argentina’s 3rd quarter final; their record to date is 1 from 2.
New Zealand has never lost to Argentina, winning 12 / 13 encounters (the other was a draw) including the last 5 by an average margin of 29 points. They have only met once in previous World Cups, New Zealand recording a 46 – 15 victory way back in 1987.
While Argentina has often been competitive against the All Blacks at home, in New Zealand it is a different story, with the All Blacks winning the seven encounters to date by an average margin of 48 points.
Difficult to see anything other than a comfortable New Zealand win, providing them with a great chance to acclimatise to life without Dan Carter.
Tip = New Zealand by 30
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