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There’s nothing quite like the Rugby World Cup knockout-stage. Since the inaugural tournament in 1987 the quarter-final stage has provided the fans with seismic battles between giants in their peak. Who could forget England vs Wales 2003, New Zealand vs France 2007 or Ireland vs Argentina 2015 and France vs Wales 2019.
Today there will be two games that will decide the tournament, with two proud competitors exiting the tournament and two advancing with a valuable boost in confidence. Neither result is certain, the only guarantee is that of drama, tension, passion, elation and agony and two fixtures destines for the record books and entry into the archive of classics.
England vs Fiji prediction
The first game of the day takes us to to the Stade de Marseille for a 16:00 kick-off between two teams in curiously indecipherable for. While England swept aside Argentina and Japan, they curiously struggled versus Samoa, ultimately lucky to escape with a win. While Fiji stunningly triumphed over Australia only to hand Portugal their first ever Rugby World Cup win last weekend.
England to win by 1-10 points @ 15/8 (2.87)
As previously alluded to, neither of these teams are in brilliant form and have taken blows to their confidence. The first 30 minutes or so will be nervous and cagey.
Furthermore, England have not been known for their try-scoring this tournament, preferring to grind out wins building from kicks at goal. Not only that but England also conceded the least tries of any team in the group-stages, just three, and will look to build this victory off the back of their defence.
The difference will come in the last 20 minutes when England’s experience in this arena will shine through and Fijis’ inexperience will hurt the. Under the stewardship of Ford and Farrell, England will push themselves to a narrow win in the dying moments.
France vs South Africa predictions
The big one. Personally, I always wanted to see this matchup, no matter the stage of the tournament, although, admittedly, I assumed it would be the final. It is both hard to comprehend and sad to consider that we will lose one of these teams from the tournament this evening, both have given so much and played so brilliantly. However, one must fall, will it be the defending champions or the hosts?
Damian Penaud to score the first try @
Do you really think France would play a Rugby World Cup quarter-final at the Stade de France and not score the first try? The noise will be deafening and the first few collisions ferocious and the French will emerge having struck the first blow.
France, ironically, have not made a habit of scoring first at this tournament, it has been one of their weaknesses, against New Zealand and Uruguay their opposition scored first. However, there is no way France don’t win this match and eliminate the former champions and so the first try will be a French one.
And who else to score it than Damian Penaud? The man with 35 tries in his 47 France appearances is probably the best winger in the world right now and already has six tries in three games at this tournament to show for it. There is no chance he doesn’t add another one tonight.
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