Wow!! Couldn’t believe what a Saturday it has been to kickstart the first two Quarter-Final matches of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. The day belongs to two Southern Hemisphere teams who will now be on its way for next weekend’s semi-final match (6am Saturday AM AEDT) against each other – All Blacks (New Zealand) & Los Pumas (Argentina).
Final score: Wales 17-29 Los Pumas & Ireland 24-28 All Blacks
ABs did well to not just get the ball rolling but respond well to Ireland’s fight both in defense and attack, which is brilliant to watch as they’re still alive in the hope of winning a fourth World Cup title. Plus, the Pumas may have only collected just the 1st-half penalty goal, but made a remarkable turnaround by spotting the isolated Welsh attack under pressure before the rewards are there quick smart as the clock ticks down. Credit to Michael Cheika for that tactical masterclass where he could be in a shot for another World Cup final but this time with the Pumas. And for the other two losing Northern Hemisphere sides, Wales fired off well but looked lost as the game goes on to the Pumas & World No.1 Ireland did their best to stay in the fight all along before they just couldn’t get past the ABs under pressure in the end. Wales will now look to stay on the up since Warren Gatland is back for another spell at the top job (Head Coach) while Ireland would want to come back better & win for it next time – having still not yet won a Quarter-Final match in the World Cup knockout stages before.
The tables will now turn to the remaining two Quarter-Final games tomorrow that will set up the 2nd semi-final next Sunday AM AEDT – England v Fiji followed by the Host Nation France v Defending champions Springboks (South Africa). Could we see a 2019 Final rematch between England v Boks? Will the Flying Fijians wow the English with pace en route towards their first ever semi in RWC history? or is it going to be France’s year still in the search of their first World Cup title after entering the tournament as one of the favourites for the Webb Ellis Cup? It all remains to be seen going into the 2nd week of Finals.