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Only 8 teams are left to contend for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The 4 match-ups will determine who will go to the medal rounds.
Ireland vs Wales
October 8th 2011, h. 18:00
Ireland, the World No. 5 is quite confident coming into this game as they topped Pool C in the group stages. The team has never made it to the top 4 in any of the past stagings of the World Cup but many of its loyal fans believe that they will go far in New Zealand. Ronan O’Gara is expected to be at the forefront of the Irish’ quest for a Semifinal spot. Wales is ranked No.6 in the latest IRB ranking making this match-up a toss-up between the 2 teams. Wales finished second in Pool D as they suffered a heart-breaking 16-17 defeat to defending champions South Africa in their opening match of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Fly-halfs Rhys Priestland and Stephen Jones will lead a Welsh side that last brought home a bronze medal in 1987.
England vs France
October 8th 2011, h. 20:30
This match-up is between 2 teams that played in the semi-finals in the last 2 editions of the Rugby World Cup. England eliminated France in the semifinals in 2003 and 2007. England is brimming with confidence as they topped the very tough Pool B in the current World Cup beating Argentina and Scotland on their way to a quarterfinal date with France. Winger Chris Ashton and Fly-half Jonny Wilkinson are the top scorers for England so far in the tournament. England is hoping to repeat its 2003 win after finishing 2nd in 2007. France will try to exact revenge on their past exists caused by England. They will fell 3 notches in the current rankings owing to their defeat to Tonga. They will go to quarters without Centre Fabrice Estebanez who was suspended for committing tackle contrary to Law 10(4)(j). Dimitri Yachvili and Morgan Parra will lead the Les Bleus hoping to duplicate their win in 1995 over England that earned them a bronze medal. France has finished runner-up twice (1987 and 1995).
South Africa vs Australia
October 9th 2011, h. 18:00
This pairing will be one of the most anticipated games in the quarterfinals. World No.2 South Africa battle No.3 Australia. The Springboks needs to win this match to defend their crown. They want to be the first team in history to repeat as champions. They had easy victories in their pool matches save for the game against Wales. They will play the quarters without centre Frans Steyn who suffered a tournament-ending injury. South Africa will have to rely more on super fly-half Morné Steyn. The Wallabies are out to redeem themselves after not making the semifinals in 2007. They already tasted defeat early in the tournament to Ireland. James O’Connor, Adam Ashley-Cooper and company will have to step up in order to give Australia a chance to win its first world cup in the 21st century.
New Zealand vs Argentina
October 9th 2011, h. 20:30
The final pairing will pit the 2003 Bronze medal winner New Zealand and the 2007 Bronze medal winner Argentina. This year’s hosts New Zealand won Pool A with no team scoring more than 17 against them. The world No.1 All Blacks would want to win the title in front if its loyal fans. Colin Slade and fullback Israel Dagg are currently leading the team in scoring. Argentina, the pool B second-placer will try to repeat their 2007 run. Felipe Contepomi currently leads the scoring of the Los Pumas in 2011 World Cup.
Let’s see who will be the teams that vying for medals in the 2011 Rugby World Cup. We will know them in less than a week.