Northern Hemisphere sides will contest the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup this weekend at Twickenham.
South Africa v New Zealand – Sat 4pm
Heyneke Meyer has gone to great lengths this week to tell the world just how good New Zealand have been over the last four years. His compliments will have hardly registered with Steve Hanson and his players as they’ve played South Africa too many times to be lulled into a false mental state of believing the hype of Meyer. This is a New Zealand side who look to be on a mission as it will be the final World Cup for a group of players who could well be regarded as the best to have pulled on the All Blacks jersey in that position – Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma’a Monu, Conrad Smith. These guys are the heartbeat of the All Blacks and they will cement their legacy if they can retain the World Cup. South Africa will look to make this a very physical encounter early on but New Zealand should be able to pull clear in the second half. Tip: New Zealand – 9
Argentina v Australia – Sun 4pm
Australia are lucky to still be in the competition, they played poorly against Scotland and needed a poor refereeing call to get them out of trouble. The scrum needs work, the decision-making needs work and the defence has yet to scale the heights reached against Wales in the group stages. Argentina’s impressive form will be a handful for the Wallabies, they demolished Ireland in all facets of the game and really only had a tough 25/30 mins against the Irish. The Pumas have quality throughout their side, they’re confident, well-drilled and skillful. If both of these sides turn up in the same form as the quarter-finals then Argentina will simply demolish this Australian side. The return of David Pocock will help Australia’s cause but I don’t see enough improvement coming in the space of a week. Tip: Argentina to win at 5/2.
Best bet of the semi-finals is Argentina +6 at Evens (bet365, Boyles, Ladbrokes)