After a fantastic match between Ireland and New Zealand the day before, on Sunday, in Saint-Denis, the second ‘expected final’ of the 2023 World Cup quarter-finals once again reached an impressive level. At the Stade de France, host France faced World Cup champion South Africa, and in a match played at a fast pace – six attempts in the first 30 minutes -, the match was decided by one detail: an extraordinary block on a conversion from Tomas Ramos’s attempt succeeded in snatching two points from the French, making The difference at the end of 80 minutes. With the 29-28 win, the Springboks will once again face the England team that beat Fiji (30-24) in the 2019 World Cup final.
In the second confrontation in the quarter-finals between the favorite teams that pitted the Northern Hemisphere against the Southern Hemisphere, the European teams were defeated again, but as happened with Ireland against New Zealand, France fell at the expense of South Africa.
In a game that already had three tries for each team after the half-hour mark, junior Cheslin Colby ended up playing a crucial role. In the 23rd minute, after Beto Mufaka scored France’s second try, the Springbok winger made a rare save to convert Ramos, and three minutes later, Kolbe scored South Africa’s third try.
With 22-19 to the French at half-time, the second half saw less giddiness and more interest, but Eben Etzebeth’s effort, in the 67th minute, was quickly followed by a penalty kick more than 50 meters wide of Handre Pollard’s posts. It put South Africa ahead by four points (29-25), which the experience of the world champions – the team with the highest average age in the competition – was able to control in the final minutes.
With a one-point victory in the Battle of Saint Denis, South Africa ended the French dream of winning a first World Cup, just as New Zealand had done the day before with Ireland.
In the other match, a week after its loss to Portugal in Toulouse, Fiji presented itself against England with five changes to the “fifteen” compared to the duel with the “Wolves”, and in the end it may regret the mistakes it made, which may have cost the Pacific team. An unprecedented presence among the top four teams in the competition.
However, in the end, there was no surprise: the favored team won and the English became English again. With cynical and unattractive rugby, but very effective and true to its game of gaining ground at their feet, the English came out better and, in the blink of an eye, scored two tries – Manu Tuilagi (14 mins), Joe Marchant (23 mins) -, winning 12-0. .
Since then, the game has changed and only Fiji, three times – Viliami Mata (28), Benny Rafai (64), Vilimoni Potito (68) – have managed to score tries, but Owen Farrell’s usual reliability has found the game at the foot. (The opener scored 20 points), and made the difference in the end: 30-24.
With the four quarter-final matches of the 2023 World Cup completed, the Stade de France will, starting next Friday, host the battle for the two places in the final on October 28. Thus, in the first semi-final, New Zealand and Argentina will face each other, with patronage falling entirely on the side of the “All Blacks” in the confrontation with “Puma”.
On Saturday, also in Saint-Denis at 8pm, the world runners-up will struggle to replicate the attendance they achieved in Japan in 2019. However, without a convincing rugby show, England will have to make the case (which they haven’t done). (not yet featured) to prevent the Springboks from appearing in the final again.
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