4 Rugby World Cup Quarter-Final Match Predictions
It's that time! We've managed to make it through pool play and the quarter-finals have arrived. It has been a long few weeks, but it has definitely been worth it. This World Cup has been the most even across the board. We have not seen a 100+ point match, Tier 2 sides have not only held their own but even competed, and Japan has turned in multiple upsets to solidify themselves as a real contender.
Has the World Cup gone smoothly? No... But the lives of people matter much more than our beloved sport. World Rugby has some things to think about for the future, but this was a special case hosting the tournament during typhoon season in Japan.
Another major talking point of the tournament has been the refereeing. Whether it's the abundance of cards given or the imposing use of TMO, nearly every fan of every country has had something to say.
As you can see from our Facebook poll, a majority do not agree with the way World Rugby has handled the tournament. We have to agree that there are things which could have improved the Cup:
- Better contingency plans in case of scheduled match cancellations.
- TMO used as a reference for the referee, not to interfere with the active match
- The use of Red/Yellow cards & a potential rule change to punish the player and not the team.
With that being said, let's get to our 4 match predictions for the 2019 Rugby World Cup Quarter-Finals...
1. England V Australia
England fans may not like to hear this, but they strolled through to the quarter-finals not building up much of a portfolio. They beat two unimpressive teams in Tonga & the USA before winning against 14 Argentinians due to a red card in the 16th minute. Finally, the final big match of the "Pool of Death" turned into the "Pool of Disappointment" when their match against France was called off due to Typhoon Hagibis. This aside, England is playing fast, physical, and with a fierce mentality and have built a real contender.
Australia, on the other hand, has had to battle their way through their pool to reach the quarter-finals. They started with a thriller against Fiji showing their resilience in coming back and winning the match in the final 15 minutes. They then went toe-to-toe with the Welsh and lost by 4 points in a wonderful match on the eyes. A dominating performance over Uruguay followed up by shaky match against a defensively sound Georgia capped off their pool. Australia is strong and appears ready for anything after a tough pool.
England will be well-rested after an extended break and Australia likely bruised after a very tough pool. With this said, Australia has been showing their grit and will grind out a victory against England. The loose forwards and centers will be key to both sides.
England 24 - 28 Australia
2. New Zealand V Ireland
No team in the tournament has looked as strong as the All Blacks in the 2019 Rugby World Cup. They started off the tournament by beating the South Africans convincingly. They then thrashed Canada and Namibia exactly how they were expected to, although Namibia put up an excellent first half. Their final match against a very prideful Italy was canceled because of the typhoon. While South Africa was the only strong team they faced, they were firing on all cylinders and showed us what we all knew they were capable of doing.
Ireland. Oh, Ireland... With so much hype heading into the World Cup and a good opening match against Scotland, they then fell to the hosts and underdog heroes, Japan. Ireland did not play particularly bad in the match, but Japan has just "had it" in their tournament. A surprisingly strong Russian side held their own in the next match, but Ireland got the win and the bonus point. Ireland's final match against Samoa was exactly how they would want to cap off an underwhelming pool play.
New Zealand is too strong for the Ireland we have seen in this tournament. Sure, Ireland has shown the All Blacks defeat in recent memory, but it just isn't likely to happen again.
New Zealand 31 - 21 Ireland
Wales V France
Wales started off against the always physical Georgians and hit them like a torpedo in the first half. The second half was not as pretty, but still, Wales looked strong. The biggest Welsh match of the tournament so far was against the Australians. This was a much-needed win for Wales mentally. They followed this up with a beautiful match against Fiji which showed how dynamic Wales can be. Finally, in a gimme match (respectfully) against Uruguay, Wales did not impress but did enough to get their points.
Has any team in the tournament flown under the radar as much as France? Barely a word has been spoken about them outside of another potential mutiny (it seems planned at this point). In their first match, they beat Argentina and were in a position to battle for the top spot in the Pool of Death. Two rather poor matches against the USA and Tonga finished off their pool play as their final match (and biggest test) against England was canceled. France is a huge question mark.
We should pick Wales. Wales looks like the team to make the Semi-Finals. There is just something about France and their World Cup history that makes us go with our gut. This is a bit of a bold prediction, but watch out for France.
Wales 22 - 24 France
Japan V South Africa
If you did not have a favorite team or if you had to choose your second favorite team in the tournament, then it is now probably Japan. They have been the most exciting team to watch, hands down. They have been magical. They started the tournament a bit questionable against a stronger than predicted Russian side and then took down the pre-World Cup #1 team, Ireland. They then showed they can stand up to a reckless, physical, and World Cup experienced Samoa team. Finally, a match we all held our breaths to see if it would be played. Japan not only showed up but secured its place as #1 in their pool.
South Africa is a very strong team, but their pool play did not show us much. They lost to the All Blacks in their first match and New Zealand clearly looked like the better team. A pummeling of Namibia then followed. Next up was Italy. The 49 - 3 score is not the whole story. Italy looked much better before one of the dumbest rucks by a player (or two) we've ever seen. South Africa obviously destroyed a 14-man Italian team. Finally, South Africa demolished the pool punching bag, Canada.
Japan has been heroic in this entire tournament. They have punched above their weight and look like a Tier 1 nation. Unfortunately for Japan, they are not at the level of South Africa. South Africa will win this match in a convincing fashion.
Japan 17 - 34 South Africa
- England 24 - 28 Australia
- New Zealand 31 - 21 Ireland
- Wales 22 - 24 France
- Japan 17 - 34 South Africa
Let us know what you think will happen in the quarter-finals!