RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Semi Final 2
Sunday, 25 October 02:00
For the first time in history the four World Cup semi-finalists all derive from the Southern hemisphere. We said in the pool stages that it may take a quarter-final for New Zealand to show their true colours and they certainly didn’t disappoint, sealing a record-breaking 62-13 rout against a woeful French outfit. The All Blacks were ruthless as they ran in nine tries, three of which belonged to Julian Savea, whose performance was reminiscent of a certain Jonah Lomu. No side has ever won a quarter-final match by such a margin and it’s the fourth time in their last six knockout victories that New Zealand have won by 20 points or more.
Since being crowned World Champions for the second time New Zealand have a phenomenal W40-D2-L3 record and 32 of those successes have covered the -7.5 pre-match handicap. Two of the defeats have come in the Rugby Championship where they’ve won 18 of their last 21 with 16 successes by at least eight points.
South Africa have smashed their way back into form by playing physical and direct rugby. It was in this manner that they were able to scrape victory against a valiant Welsh side with Fourie du Preez crossing the white line with just five minutes to spare. Against opposition in New Zealand’s class, the Boks physical game plan has often come unstuck, best evidenced by six defeats out of seven under Heyneke Meyer and just two wins in the last dozen going back to 2010. Although the last two defeats were by fewer than eight points, the previous eight losses were by an average margin of 16 points.
The Springboks lost all three Rugby Championship games this year to finish bottom, while against the same opposition they’ve only beaten Argentina at a World Cup this century (2007) – losing out to New Zealand in 2003 and 9-11 to Australia in the last edition. This is South Africa’s sixth tournament and the fourth time reaching the semi-finals. They’ve yet to been defeated in 80 minutes, it took Australia extra-time to prevail in 1999, whilst they’ve triumphed on the other occasions. The All Blacks, meanwhile, have reached six out of seven semi-finals but have lost half of them.
Only two of the last six World Cup semi-finals have been decided by less than the spread here and they only involved Northern hemisphere sides. New Zealand have nullified the Springboks power game in recent years and we expect more of the same here.
- In their last 45 matches New Zealand have W40-D2-L3
- Four of New Zealand’s last six knockout victories have been by 20 points or more.
- South Africa have lost 10 of their last 12 against New Zealand
- This is South Africa’s fourth semi-final in their sixth tournament.
Recommendation: New Zealand -7.5 points 1.82