Rugby World Cup 2019 Semi-Final Predictions
We've reached the Semi-Finals! Only four teams remain... Since the majority of the countries are out of the tournament, many are looking for a new team to support through the finals (sorry, we all lost Japan). Who to choose?
- New Zealand
- South Africa
These four teams all deserve to be here. Plus, we are set up for a spectacle of Northern against Southern Hemisphere. For all of the banter between the North and the South, we will finally have some resolution and bragging rights moving forward. Will the finals be North vs South? North vs North? South vs South? In but a couple of days we will know for sure. Until then, we will take our best guess.
Semi-Final Match 1: England V New Zealand
Of the four Quarter-Final matches, both New Zealand and England utterly dominated their opponents. England beat down Australia and delivered the final blow for Michael Cheika to not seek an extension with the team. New Zealand crushed what appeared to be an Irish side who decided to play more similarly to Scotland (it didn't work).
New Zealand beat fellow Semi-Finalist South Africa in their opening match of the tournament and has skipped through each of their matches since. In a similar fashion, England has not looked challenged or threatened in any match yet. All of that is ready to change.
Given the eye test, New Zealand and England look like the two best teams in the tournament. Each team brings an aggressive attack strategy and a relentless defense. This very well could end up as the best match in the entire tournament. Some have called it the "real final", but that truly is not fair to the other players who are rightly battling for their spot in the finals. All four teams could win the Cup, but in our opinion, one of these two will be bringing home the hardware.
We could really go one way or the other. Both teams could realistically win this match. We think it will be a battle and end up very close (unlike their quarter-final matches). Not to brag, but we predicted these exact four teams to make the Semi-Finals in our previous article. Like in the article, we have England beating New Zealand and we are not going to change that prediction here.
England 28 - 24 New Zealand
Semi-Final Match 2: Wales V South Africa
Wales has been an interesting team thus far. While they are undefeated and have looked incredibly strong at times, it just does not look like they are on the same level as New Zealand and England. Fortunately for Wales, they are not playing either of those teams. South Africa lost to the All Blacks in their opening match, but have since looked very good.
In the last four meetings between the two teams (2016, 2017, and two in 2018), Wales has walked away victorious each time. While every match matters, those pale in comparison to the Rugby World Cup stage. South Africa had some hardships which resulted in some poor play since the last tournament, but things seem to be straightened out and they are playing well again.
Both teams are facing injuries in the backline. Wales just announced they have lost Liam Williams for the Semi-Final matchup. Williams has been one of the best full-backs in rugby, so the blow will surely hurt Wales. On the opposite side, South Africa will be without their deadly winger Chelsin Kolbe. Both players are nursing ankle injuries.
This will be another very close match. It seems we will be blessed with a very competitive Semi-Finals this tournament. Unfortunately, for every winner, there is a loser. Following our earlier predictions, we are going to stick to what we thought and pick South Africa to advance to the finals.
South Africa 17 - 14 Wales