Rugby World Cup Semi-Final Predictions
After six gruelling weeks, only 80 minutes of rugby now stands in the way of England, New Zealand, South Africa and Wales and a place in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.
Which two nations will be stepping out in Yokohoma in just over a week’s time for the chance to lift the Webb Ellis Cup?
Here are our Rugby World Cup betting tips ahead of the semi-finals…
Rugby World Cup Semi Final Predictions – Which Teams Can Go All the Way to the Yokohama Final?
England v New Zealand, Saturday, 9:00am (UK time)
This is a semi-final of a World Cup. Whether you’re back-to-back World Champions or not, nerves will play their part – and Eddie Jones’ side will surely look to exploit any signs of a wobble.
There’s a reason that New Zealand have remained rock-solid tournament favourites in the Rugby World Cup odds. The All Blacks haven’t lost a game on the world stage since 2007.
England will be living in hope the well-justified hype around the All Blacks might just play on the holders’ minds as Jones looks to guide his underdogs to a first final in 12 years.
Both teams came out comfortable winners in their respective quarter-finals and looked very strong defensively when they needed to be. England’s defence will need to similarly disciplined to keep the formidable New Zealand attack at bay.
The kicking game will also be crucial in this one in what could be a low-scoring, tactically cagey first half. In fact, the value could lie in there being nothing to separate the two sides at half-time. England have been ahead or all-square at the break with the All Blacks on six of their last nine meetings.
For all of England’s strength in depth, New Zealand’s is on a different scale with the likes of Sonny Bill Williams to come off the bench if Plan A shows signs of faltering for Steve Hansen. That extra quality should give New Zealand the edge in what will be an enthralling encounter.
Wales v South Africa, Sunday, 9:00am (UK time)
Wales could count themselves very lucky to be lining up in the final four of a Rugby World Cup for the first time in the nation’s history.
Despite looking far from their best through the game, a moment of madness from French lock Sébastien Vahaamahina helped Warren Gatland’s side scrape to a one-point victory in the quarter-final. That said, Gatland will impress on his side they now have a golden opportunity to reach their maiden World Cup Final against a side they know how to beat – having won all of their four previous meetings with the Springboks.
South Africa made far lighter work of their last eight encounter, cruising to a 26-3 victory against hosts Japan. The win might have been expected. However, the Springboks coped well in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of playing against a partisan crowd, and they looked very strong in the closing stages after a difficult opening 40 minutes.
South Africa have only lost against favourites New Zealand so far in this tournament.
It could be nip-and-tuck, but their explosive pace and power should be a potent enough force to see them across the line at Wales’ expense.
Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.
See all Rugby Predictions here.
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