We have reached the knockout stage of the Rugby World Cup, let’s just hope that it’s as exciting as the pool stage was. Here are my Quarter Final predictions.
How did the last week of pool game prediction go?
11 from 12, not a bad way to end the pool stage.
South Africa – Wales
Since that opening game against Japan the Boks have been looking like serious contenders. They have suffered injuries but that has perversely made them stronger as it’s removed selection issues. Wales have suffered more injuries than I can count yet perversely they looked the most dangerous when they had a scrum half on the wing. Wales couldn’t put Australia away when they were on top both in the first half and also when Australia players in the bin. It’s true that the win over the Boks back in November should have removed any mantel blocks but that lack of ability to kill off the Wallabies and the injuries mean I think this is a step too far. But this is the one I’m most uncomfortable calling.
South Africa by 10
New Zealand – France
The perfect story, time travelling back 8 years and with some of the same players in the game this weekend. Kiwis have been wanting to avoid this game ever since the draw was made. France looked good in their first games but came up well short against Ireland. The All Blacks have got the comfortable wins but the performances have been lacking with lots of dropped balls. Will France turn up and can New Zealand switch it on? There will be no complacency and I think the All Blacks will take it but it will be tight.
New Zealand by 5
Ireland – Argentina
Ireland have done what they have needed and have stepped it up with each challenge as it’s got harder. They lost a key player in O’Connell and we have to see the outcome of some of the other injuries. Argentina looked poor in the Rugby Championship except for that emotional game in South Africa. Since then though they have been looking good at the Rugby World Cup. I described this as the pragmatism v exciting back play on the #RugbyChat with it being a reverse of historic stereotypes. I think that Ireland will be able suffocate the Puma’s attack and kick their way to victory.
Ireland by 5
Australia – Scotland
This is the easiest of the Quarter Finals to pick. For many people Australia’s performances against England and Wales have put them as favourites to take the cup home. Scotland have finally managed to turn performances into results. However the loss of 2 key players to bans for a tip tackle will have a huge impact. Australia will take this one comfortably.
Australia by 15
It ends up that I have gone with all the pool winners, which is the easy option. But apart from the possibility of Wales winning I can’t see there being any upsets.
The Aviva Premiership starts next week and I’m running a prediction league again. Join here as I give you my predictions and reviews for every round.