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Review of the RWC Quarter Finals

Rugby World Cup Quarter-Finals: A Remarkable Weekend of Rugby

What an exhilarating weekend of rugby it turned out to be, with eight teams whittled down to four in a thrilling fashion. The matches that took place in Saint-Denis were nothing short of astonishing and would have made for fitting finals in their own right. However, they set a remarkably high standard for the remaining four games of the Rugby World Cup 2023.

The two standout matches were between Ireland and New Zealand and France and South Africa. Both contests could easily have been finals in their own right.
On Friday, Argentina and New Zealand will battle it out in the first semi-final at Stade de France, followed by England’s clash with defending champions South Africa at the same venue.

Here’s how these four teams secured their places in the semi-finals:

Wales 17-29 Argentina

In a dramatic match in Marseille, veteran fly-half Nicolás Sánchez intercepted Sam Costelow’s pass just three minutes from the end and dashed under the posts to score the crucial try that sent Argentina into the semi-finals at the expense of Wales.

Emiliano Boffelli successfully converted, and Sánchez added a vital penalty, making the final score 29-17 in favor of Los Pumas. Argentina had to come from behind twice, with Dan Biggar scoring the game’s opening try, giving Wales a 10-0 lead in the first 20 minutes.

However, Argentina fought back with Boffelli’s penalties, taking the lead in the second half. Wales briefly regained the advantage with a try from scrum-half Tomos Williams, but Joel Sclavi scored a crucial try for Argentina, and Sánchez’s penalty sealed the deal.

Ireland 24-28 New Zealand

In another epic showdown, New Zealand’s Sam Whitelock, playing in his 151st test match, secured a penalty in injury time that propelled New Zealand into the semi-finals.

New Zealand triumphed 28-24 after defending against an astonishing 37 phases of relentless Irish pressure at the end of the match. The All Blacks had taken an early 13-0 lead but saw it reduced to 18-17 by halftime.

Despite spending 20 minutes with a player in the sin-bin, they managed to hold on for the victory.

The match featured tries from Leicester Fainga’anuku and Bundee Aki, and Ardie Savea and Jamison Gibson-Park scored, but the highlight was Will Jordan’s fifth try of the tournament. Ireland’s relentless efforts fell short, and they needed a try to break their quarter-final curse.

England 30-24 Fiji

In a match reminiscent of Fiji’s remarkable 2007 Rugby World Cup quarter-final performance in Marseille, the Fijians came from behind at halftime to level the scores at 24-24 on the 70-minute mark against England.

Tries from Peni Ravai and Vilimoni Botitu played a crucial role in this comeback. However, England’s fly-half and captain, Owen Farrell, proved to be the difference-maker, contributing 20 points to his team’s effort.

He kicked a drop goal to regain the lead and added a late penalty to secure a 30-24 victory, echoing England’s 2003 World Cup triumph.

France 28-29 South Africa

The quarter-final in Saint-Denis between France and South Africa delivered a titanic battle. Six tries were scored in the first 30 minutes, setting the tone for an enthralling encounter.

Despite coming from behind twice, the defending champions, South Africa, managed to prevail. France had their moments, with prop Cyril Baille scoring a try, and livewire hooker Peato Mauvaka also found the scoreboard.

Thomas Ramos and Eben Etzebeth made crucial contributions, and Handre Pollard’s conversion and penalty sealed the deal.

The match ended with a late reply from Ramos, but South Africa emerged victorious with a score of 29-28.

For everything about the Rugby World Cup 2023 check out our guide here.

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