Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup Quick Hits: Ireland to topple New Zealand in huge showdown

Garry Ringrose and Bundee Aki celebrate
Ireland overwhelmed Scotland to set up a quarter-final agains the All Blacks

Ireland face New Zealand in a huge World Cup quarter-final and Simon Mail previews Saturday's showdown...

  • Ireland bid to reach first semi-final

  • Dangerous All Blacks finding form

  • Wales favourites in Pumas clash


Ireland v New Zealand
Saturday, 20:00
Live on ITV

Ireland ready to break new ground

Ireland attempt to reach their first World Cup semi-final with New Zealand standing in their way of achieving this milestone. The two heavyweights collide in a mouthwatering showdown on Saturday night with Ireland marginal favourites after their relentless run.

Andy Farrell has masterminded Ireland's remarkable progress to the top of the world rankings. Ireland dismantled Scotland last weekend, with the 36-14 victory their 17th successive Test win. There appear to be no weaknesses in their current team with an ability to adapt and win with attacking width or defensive discipline.

It is no surprise Farrell has opted to keep the team which defeated Scotland, with wing Mack Hansen fit to play after recovering from his calf injury. The Six Nations grand slam winners have answered every question over the past year and appear ready to end their quarter-final hoodoo.

New Zealand have recovered strongly since their opening defeat to France, with the All Blacks scoring 25 tries in back-to-back routs over Italy and Uruguay. It will be a very different challenge facing them on Saturday though with recent meetings pointing towards Ireland.

After years of dominance, the All Blacks were beaten by Ireland for the first time in 2016. Ireland have since landed a series victory in New Zealand which completed their fifth win over them in the last eight clashes. The fear factor is long gone and Ireland arguably hold the edge.

Ireland are 1.84/5 favourites to win and their form over the last year merits this position. Four years ago they were hammered in the quarter-final by New Zealand but Ireland are a different beast now and can finally break through to the last four. A bet on Ireland to win by no more than 12 points stands out at 2.8615/8, with all of their victories against the All Blacks falling within this range.

Back Ireland to win by 1-12 points @ 2.8615/8

Bet now

Wales v Argentina
Saturday, 16:00
Live on ITV

Wales resurgent in France

Wales were in disarray less than a year ago but Warren Gatland's return has rejuvenated the team and led them back to a World Cup quarter-final against Argentina. Gatland's focus on the team's fitness in the buildup has paid off with Wales making a record tackle count in the opening win over Fiji.

The record destruction of Australia was a statement victory and Wales topped their pool winning all four matches. Louis Rees-Zammit scored a hat-trick against Georgia in the 43-19 win to take his tally to five tries at the tournament in France. Full-back Liam Williams and fly-half Dan Biggar are fit to start for Wales but Gareth Anscombe is injured and Taulupe Faletau's tournament is over after breaking his arm against Georgia.

Argentina started the World Cup woefully after a limp defeat to England, despite facing 14 players for almost the entire match. The Pumas have rallied though and three victories, including a hat-trick for Mateo Carreras in the 39-27 win over Japan, sealed second place in the pool to set up this tie.

Wales have beaten Argentina in five of their last seven contests, including most recently last year in a 20-13 win in Cardiff. This has the makings of another tight encounter but Wales have the upper hand with their defensive strength likely to prove the difference. Backing Wales to win by up to 12 points appeals at 2.747/4.

Back Wales to win by 1-12 points @ 2.747/4

Bet now

Who will win the Rugby World Cup? Latest betting odds

Ireland and France are joint 11/4 favourites to win the World Cup. Both teams are kept apart in the draw with a potential final meeting if they can go the distance. But New Zealand and South Africa, both 7/2 in the outright betting, will provide huge challenges in the quarter-finals.

England failed to convince despite topping their pool and are 13/1 to win the tournament with Wales available to back at 20/1.


Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster

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