After a thrilling round of quarter-final matches we are down to the final four nations in the 2023 Rugby World Cup, without hosts France or favourites Ireland in the mix.
The semi-finals are set to provide exciting action which you won’t want to miss a single second of. Below we take a deep dive into the World Cup’s penultimate stage, which sees high-flying Argentina taking on the formidable All-Blacks, whilst a resilient England face off against defending champions South Africa.
We preview both matches below.
Argentina v New Zealand, Friday 20:00
The first semi-final clash is an all-southern hemisphere affair between Argentina and New Zealand, which could also be touted as David and Goliath.
Argentina are very much the underdogs here and neither history nor form is in their favour, which sees them head into Friday evenings match at odds of 6/1.
Despite reaching the final four, Argentina have not lived up to expectations at this year’s tournament, having finished second in what was deemed to be one of the weakest pools at the tournament. Many fancied them to walk over England in their first pool match, but Los Pumas fell to a disappointing 27-10 defeat.
Not many will fancy them to go all the way even if they do manage to win here, and that is their status as the 33/1 rank outsiders to lift the World Cup trophy.
At the other end of the spectrum, New Zealand have been incredibly impressive throughout the tournament, no more so than they were in their 24-28 quarter-final victory over favourites Ireland.
The All-blacks didn’t get off to a flying start when they faced a formidable France side in the tournament’s curtain raiser, where they lost 27-13. With all factors against them in that match against the fired-up hosts, they have since put that well behind them and looked unstoppable ever since.
The Kiwis head into this match as the 1/10 favourites, and although they have every reason to be, those odds do not present any real value. With New Zealand quite clearly the superior side in this matchup we feel that New Zealand to win with a -18 point handicap at 10/11 is where the best value can be found.
England v South Africa, Saturday 20:00
Not many would have predicted England to make it to the final four before the tournament, but with some low-risk hard fought performances the Red Roses find themselves in a rerun of the 2019 final against the world’s number one ranked side.
With expectations low at the start of the World Cup, England will be overjoyed with reaching the final four, but their odds of 4/1 suggest that this will likely be the end of the line for Steve Borthwick’s men.
They will not be able to outplay South Africa and their main chance lies in playing a boring yet pragmatic style. They will try to kick three points whenever possible, so we find value in the First to score points market where England are 5/4.
South Africa are now the number one ranked team in the world and that is with good reason. Their backs possess great physical attributes as well as bags of flair and talent, whilst their forward pack is the most feared in world rugby.
The Springboks head into this game as worthy favourites at 1/6, whilst also favourites to lift the trophy at 10/11. They will certainly be expecting to turn over England on Saturday evening, but Borthwick’s side will not make it easy. South Africa will not be stupid and will play a safer brand of rugby and try to ensure a professional victory, so we think odds of 5/1 for South Africa to win by 11-15 points present the best value.
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