South Africa vs Wales
South Africa have done well to get their World Cup back on track after their loss to Japan. Lood de Jager is the man on form. He along with his second row partner Eben Etzebeth have given South Africa go forward ball and their physicality has worn down defences. Damien de Allende and Jesse Kriel have been a fantastic mid-field combination for the Boks albeit for a Bok team that has been moving forward. Will they look as good when things are not going the South Africans way.
Wales have had a horrendous run of injuries. This will bring them together tighter as a unit, ‘smile in the face of adversity’. The weather may help as its been wet in the lead up to this Test. South Africa don’t like playing in wet conditions. I feel even the fairest of South African supporters don’t understand that Wales are a major force in the 6 Nations and that they are underestimating the Welsh.
SA to win by 5
New Zealand vs France
New Zealand against the team that knocked them out of the 1999 RWC and the 2007 RWC. On those occasions New Zealand were such overwhelming favourites that it made it that more dramatic. New Zealand have had a hard run into the play-offs this time around. They have been worked physically and they came out on top. That is a test of the Kiwi’s right there. New Zealand probably will now want to speed things up a bit. France judging by the last few years won’t be able to stay with them. This RWC has been one of surprises and France love surprising the Kiwis.
New Zealand to win by 15
Ireland vs Argentina
Ireland are going to be without Paul O’Connel (retired injured), Peter O’Mahoney(injured) and Sean O’Brien(suspended for punching). These players are a big loss. I’ve read in articles the scribes are saying one good thing is Johnny Sexton is starting. I am not so sure. Ian Madigan to me has been the form Irish fly-half. Is Sexton really ready for such a big game after limping off injured last week against France.
Argentina have looked very impressive in this RWC. They have those tough, rugged forwards like they usually do but added to that they have backs that can cut you up. It’ll be Irelands phase rugby against a very ambitious and abrasive Puma attacking style.
Argentina to win by 5
Australia vs Scotland
Well done to Scotland for making the knock out stages but this is where it ends. Australia will be without David Pocock and Israel Folau. That doesn’t help Scotland much because Michael Hooper is back in after serving a suspension for a dangerous charge and Ben McCalman, hero vs Wales, replaces Pocock at 8. Kurtley Beale covers full-back.
Scotland hooker Ross Ford and second rower Jonny Gray are suspended and this will hurt the Scots who can ill afford to lose these two excellent players.
Australia to win by 20