The Quarter-Final stages of the Rugby World Cup come to a close on Sunday with the hosts Japan facing South Africa. This is preceded by Pool D winners Wales facing Pool C runners-up France in Oita Dome at 8:15AM (UK).
Wales vs France
Six Nations rivals Wales and France face each other in Oita on Sunday. Wales have lost out in difficult circumstances in the last two tournaments. In 2011, they lost 9-8 to France after losing captain Sam Warburton to a red card after 17 minutes. Six of the squad that day will take to field on Sunday. Warren Gatland’s side also suffered defeat in the 2015 Quarter Finals. On that occasion they lead the Springboks for the majority of the game before conceding a try in the 75th minute.
They come into this one as odds-on favourites, listed at 2/5 with Genting Bet. Since that semi-final defeat to Les Bleus in 2011, Wales have won seven of their eight meetings. Gatland will also be boosted by the return of key players Dan Biggar, Jonathan Davies and George North for this clash.
Like New Zealand and England, France have had an extra week to prepare for this match owing to the cancellation of their final pool game. That has given them the opportunity to rest some weary legs but rustiness might come into play too.
All in all, the momentum is with Gatland’s Wales and they could be set for a memorable run deep into the tournament.
Our partners Genting Bet have once again provided us with a full preview of this weekend’s games. Pete Colley is joined in studio by Jim Hamilton and Andy Goode to preview Wales and France on Sunday.
Match Betting with Genting Bet
Wales 2/5 Draw 22/1 France 5/2
Japan vs South Africa
Stars of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Japan, are preparing for the biggest game in the nation’s rugby history. The first-ever Tier 2 side to reach the knockout stages of the World Cup have been immense in the last month. Their exciting brand of attacking rugby has gathered a whole host of new fans. The stadiums have been packed out for the Brave Blossoms and there is sure to be an electric atmosphere inside the Ajinomoto Stadium on Sunday.
If South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus had been offered this Quarter-Final match before the start of the tournament there is no doubt he would have been delighted. Of course, Japan famously beat South Africa in Brighton in the 2015 World Cup, a result that sent shockwaves around the rugby world. The public perception might be that there is another underdog victory on the cards. However, fans who have been paying closer attention might recall August’s World Cup warm-up between the two nations. A full-strength Japan was beaten 41-7 by South Africa in Kamagaya.
Another common perception is that South Africa are the bruisers in this World Cup while Japan play quick rugby, always looking for the offload. Funny then that South Africa have probably the quickest player at this World Cup – Cheslin Kolbe (cousin of Olympic champion sprinter Wayde Van Niekirk) returns for South Africa hoping to add to his two tries at this tournament. We tipped him to be the tournament’s tryscorer in our Rugby World Cup preview and a good performance here will bring him one step closer. The Toulouse wing can mesmerize opponents, travelling like a bullet from a gun down the sideline. How the Brave Blossoms handle the nippy winger will be crucial to the outcome on Sunday.
Japan have been brilliant so far but this could be the end of the road for Jamie Jones’ team. The bookies are giving them a 15 point boost in the handicap betting and they should keep it within that margin so that’s our tip for the weekend. Back Japan (+15) with Genting Bet.
Match Betting with Genting Bet
Japan 11/2 Draw 33/1 South Africa 1/6