Rugby World Cup 2015 Semi Final predictions

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Rugby World Cup 2015 Semi Final predictions

Saturday 24th October 2015 New Zealand V South Africa Sunday 25th October 2015 Argentina V Australia

RWC2015 Vivomed Semi Final New Zealand V South Africa
RWC2015 Vivomed Semi Final New Zealand V South Africa
RWC2015 Vivomed Semi Final Australia V Argentina
RWC2015 Vivomed Semi Final Australia V Argentina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that the dust has settled on Ireland’s unfortunate departure from the Rugby World Cup, it is time to look ahead to the semi-finals and what should be a cracking weekend of Rugby.

It pains me considerably that I am not writing about Ireland this week but my sorrow is somewhat lessened when I think about the poor misfortune Scott’s. However dismayed and confused Joe Schmidt and his players are at this time it is nothing to the anguish that our Celtic cousins are experiencing.

Imagine devoting four years of your life to achieving something extraordinary and then for it to be snatched away at the last moment by an error of judgement. When the Irish players look back at their game they will take some comfort in the fact that they were beaten on the day by a better side however, for the Scottish players their heartache will only grow and grow as the years roll by, especially now that the game’s governing body openly declared that referee Craig Joubert got it wrong.

Referee Craig Joubert awards a late controversial penalty to to Australia Copyright www.Dailymail.co.uk
Referee Craig Joubert awards a late controversial penalty to to Australia Copyright www.Dailymail.co.uk

 

I don’t think there was any hidden agenda on Joubert’s behalf; he simply made a wrong decision in the heat of the moment. Who would ever want to be a referee?

So after twenty teams set out on their journey in search of glory only four now remain and for the good of the game it is very disappointing that all four are based South of the equator.

Before this competition started it was felt that the gulf between the Southern hemisphere and the Northern hemisphere sides had diminished to the point where it was now a level playing surface however, those sentiments have since been blown clean out of the water and for teams like England, France, Ireland and Wales it is back to the drawing board once more.

First up on Saturday at 4pm will be the clash of South Africa and New Zealand.

For most; and rightly so, it is very hard to look beyond the All Blacks for this one. Up to now they have rarely had to move beyond third gear and their ruthless dismantling of the shambolic French gave us a good indication of what they are capable of.

The one aspect of their play that stands them apart from all the rest is their ability to create space from seemingly hopeless situations. How many times have we gleefully watched with bewilderment as they make passes without even looking beforehand?

From number one right through to twenty Steve Hansen’s players seem to have a telepathic ability to find support runners even in the heaviest of traffic. For players like Dan Carter, Ma’a  Nonu, Conrad Smith and Sunny Bill Williams who incredibly can’t even make the starting fifteen, their only focus with ball in hand is to go forward, keep the play alive and score tries.   Coupled with this incredibly positive philosophy they also have wingers who not only have the capabilities to go around you but also over you if required.

Winger Julian Savea who is the joint top try scorer in the competition is probably the closest player to mimicking the achievements of the great Jonah Lomu.

Julian Savea of the New Zealand All Blacks scores his second try against France. Copyright Getty Images
Julian Savea of the New Zealand All Blacks scores his second try against France. Copyright Getty Images

 

So far Savea has racked up eight tries in this World Cup. His hat-trick last Saturday against Les Blues took him to thirty eight international tries, fifth on the All Blacks list, one place and try ahead of Lomu. For a man who was dropped for being overweight only three months ago it is quite the turnaround and his devastating finishing capabilities will be a feature in this game.

The only side who I think that can beat the Blacks at this stage are themselves but that’s not how the Spring Boks will be thinking although, their coach Heyneke Meyer reckons that this New Zealand side are the best ever team to have played the game.

Ever since their first pool game when Japan incredibly took the spoils, the Boks have been forced to play knock out rugby to remain in the tournament. Without question they have been improving with the passing of every game however they are a far cry from the side they once were.

All week the word emanating from the Boks camp was that they had to be mentally prepared for this game which for me indicates they are already looking for excuses. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but when the 6’3”, 113 kg Savea comes hurtling towards them it is not their mental ability that will stop him.

Being set in their ways I think we can expect this South African side to keep it tight in an attempt to frustrate Richie McCaw and his team. I can’t see them kicking long because of the threat presented by New Zealand’s back three, so they will probably implement a similar type of game plan to that used by Ireland which involves building multiple phases in an attempt to creating an opening at some point.

My prediction – New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup 2015 Semi Final by 15-20 points.

 

Sunday at 4pm will be Argentina V Australia

The other semi-final that will take place on Sunday should be a far better contest. It will absolutely kill me if Argentina wins it however, they will have their work cut out.

There is no way on this earth that they will be allowed the same leeway as Ireland afforded them last week. From watching that game Michael Cheika and his players will know exactly what to expect and will be ready from the off.

It is widely agreed at this stage that Argentina have developed their game to include a wider attacking structure albeit their philosophy is still very much built around passion and pride. Their participation in the Rugby Championship has allowed them to establish a squad of players that are now rated as some of the best in the world and they have every right to feel confident ahead of this game. If they did have a weakness it would be that their Latin blood has on occasions a tendency to boil over, hence their biggest asset is also their greatest nemesis.

A good start will again be key to their chances of progressing through to their first ever final and they will need key players like fly half Shanchez, wing forward Lobbe and flying winger Imhoff to be at their imperial best.

Argentina's Nicolas Sanchez Wales V Argentina 16.11.2013 AFP PHOTO PAUL ELLIS
Argentina’s Nicolas Sanchez Wales V Argentina 16.11.2013 AFP PHOTO PAUL ELLIS

 

I think the scare against Scotland might give the Aussies the edge in this one but as long as Argentina are allowed stay within sniffing distance they will fight till the death.

It will be the biggest kick in the teeth to everyone associated with Irish rugby if they manage to pull it off but never the less we wish them well.

My prediction – Australia to win the Rugby World Cup 2015 Semi Final  by 10 points.

 

A personal overview of the Rugby World Cup (RWC 2015) from Ex Munster and Ireland International David Corkery.

David Corkery

Vivomed Sales Manager – Ireland

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