Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

What Next as We Look to Last-Eight Battles?

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

What Next as We Look to Last-Eight Battles?

Article excerpt



South Africa v Wales at Twickenham

New Zealand v France in Cardiff

Ireland v Argentina in Cardiff

Australia v Scotland at Twickenham

RUGBY: With the preliminaries out of the way, the World Cup now gets serious.

England aside, the best eight teams have won through to the quarter-finals to be held in London and Cardiff this weekend.

Scotland, the only team outside the top eight in the world rankings, snuck in to the knockout stage, but have been installed as the rank outsiders at $151 to lift the William Webb Ellis trophy.

At the other end of the market, the All Blacks are not surprisingly the $2.10 favourites to defend the title they won in New Zealand four years ago, with Australia not far behind at $3.10.

After recovering from a shock first-round loss to Japan to finish on top of Pool B, South Africa is rated a $7.50 chance to go all the way, with Ireland next at $9.

Argentina and Wales (both $26), France ($34) and Scotland are given little to no chance of winning their next games after finishing runners-up in their pools.

With 40 games done and dusted, it's time to look at what we learned from the pool games, and what we can expect from here.

ENGLAND: Three into two in the 'Pool of Death' just didn't go, and unfortunately for England it was the team to miss out, the first time a host nation has been eliminated in the pool stage.

Most of the blame so far has been directed at coach Stuart Lancaster for selecting inexperienced players and sticking to a conservative game plan.

While plenty of critics have called for his head, Lancaster seems determined to hang around, pointing to the 60-3 demolition of Uruguay as a indication of what might be to come.

He may not get the choice, however.

JAPAN: The real surprise packets of the tournament under former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones. …

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