Ireland 10 Wales 22
Welsh try-scoring legend Shane Williams led his country to a famous victory after grabbing an early score in an entertaining clash. Tommy Bowe and Jamie Heaslip both looked dangerous every time they ran with the ball, but the Welsh defended in numbers and were excellent at the breakdown, managing to limit the Irish to just one try. With the scores level, the turning point came in the second-half as the Welsh scrum-half accelerated away from the Irish to give his a lead they would go on to increase. Despite the high score line, it was the heroic efforts of the Welsh defence that will be remembered from this hugely exciting game. The question on everyone’s lips is can Shane lead his side to victory?
England 12 France 19
Les Blues progressed to the last four courtesy of an explosive first half of rugby which saw them establish a 16-0 lead against a shell-shocked English side. After soaking up early pressure, the French scored two quick tries and struck a further two penalties to establish a lead they would not surrender. In the second-half Steve Thompson, Nick Easter and Tom Palmer led the line well and Manu Tuilagi looked dangerous on the counter-attack as they pulled a well-worked try back. But with time running out PUMA Rugby star Franois Trinh-Duc slotted home a drop-goal before England scored another try as Les Bleus emerged victorious and progressed to the semi-finals.
South Africa 9 Australia 11
The Wallabies turned in an outstanding defensive display against their Tri-Nation rivals to send the Springboks out of the tournament. Gurthro Steenkamp and Danie Russouw dominated possession and territory, but the Boks failed to transfer their superiority into points on the board - and found themselves reduced to penalties and drop-goal efforts. The decisive moment came after 72 minutes when the talismanic James O’Connor slotted home a penalty to nudge his side ahead. Whilst the Aussie side came of age over 80 minutes, the legendary Victor Matfield brought down the curtain on an illustrious playing career. He is undoubtedly one of the best in the world and it’ll be a tall order to replace ‘Big Vic’!
New Zealand 33 Argentina 10
The Pumas dream is over for another four years as they lost to the hosts in what was a tough, physical and memorable encounter in Auckland. After a close fought opening 40 minutes that saw the Kiwis establish a 12-7 lead, they came out all guns blazing in the second-half and ran in 21 more points following some expansive and ruthless rugby. Despite being eliminated from the tournament, Argentina stars Manuel Carizza and pacy winger Gonzalo Camacho will take heart from their impressive performance against such strong opposition. The Kiwis however look very strong at the moment and remain the team to beat on home soil.
Who are you tipping for glory from the quartet of teams left in the tournament?