As expected, the 2019 tournament has been a fantastic watch and we could be set for one of the best Rugby World Cup finals of all-time. However, let’s not wish time away – we have 160 minutes (and possibly more) of semi-finals to get through first.
England and New Zealand will do battle in Saturday’s semi-final before Wales take on South Africa 24 hours later. Can the northern hemisphere teams prevail or will one of the Rugby Championship sides spoil the party? Let’s take a look at the best semi-final bets…
England vs New Zealand
Eddie Jones has done a fantastic job to try and take the pressure off England ahead of this weekend’s semi-final. England were outstanding against Australia and the scoreboard reflected their dominance but the All Blacks pose a much greater threat.
Cast your minds back to November 2018. England had just lost to New Zealand by a single point but confidence was sky high. On another day, Jones’ side could’ve won that match and it showed us that England can push the All Blacks to their limits.
New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has allowed Jones to get on with his mind games – the All Blacks boss has refused to respond thus far. Instead, Hansen will allow his team to do their talking on the pitch. A third successive Rugby World Cup triumph could be on the cards…
If New Zealand play like they did against Ireland, England will need a minor miracle to reach the final. At their brilliant best, the All Blacks are a class above their peers and Hansen’s side will be full of confidence ahead of Saturday’s clash.
Expect the defending champions to make a fast start in Yokohama. Discipline will be key this weekend and England will need to stay focused. The 10/13 on offer for New Zealand to lead by three or more points at the break should be snapped up.
TIP: New Zealand to lead by 3 or more at half-time (10/13)
Wales vs South Africa
Wales have been grinding out results and winning when you’re not playing tremendously well is an excellent trait to have. However, they will need to raise their game to stand any chance of beating South Africa and it all boils down to mentality.
The 2019 Six Nations Grand Slam champions have forgotten how to lose. Warren Gatland will have his troops fired up and ready for battle this weekend – expect a war of attrition on Sunday morning. This one could go down to the wire…
It took South Africa a little while to adjust to Japan’s high-octane style of rugby last weekend but the Springboks pulled away in the second half. One of the most versatile teams in world rugby, South Africa deserve their favourites status ahead of this clash.
The Springboks have struggled against Wales in recent years but this South Africa team has come into its own in recent months. Winning the Rugby Championship gave South African rugby a real lift and convinced fans that they can win the World Cup this year.
A real tough one to call but the value bet is Wales at 11/4. Is Gatland destined to go out on a high with Wales’ first World Cup success? There is a general feeling that Wales can go all the way – and they can secure their fifth win in a row over South Africa this weekend.
TIP: Wales to win in regular time (11/4)