The semi-finals of the #Rugby World Cup will have no Six Nations’ representation, after Scotland joined Wales, Ireland and France in crashing out at the last-eight stage. That leaves an all-Southern hemisphere tussle at Twickenham next week as the tournament reaches the decisive stages. For Scotland it was a particularly heart-breaking outcome as a dubious late penalty decision thwarted their ambitions against Australia by a single point.
Irish eyes not smiling
With Wales and France having succumbed to South Africa and New Zealand respectively in the Saturday ties, hopes were high that Ireland could buck the trend against the Pumas from Argentina.
Despite their usual strong vocal support against the South Americans, the Irish gave themselves an uphill struggle from the outset. Early scores for the Argentinians established a 17-0 lead to stun the marginal favourites going into the game.
However, rather than bemoan the absence of crucial players such as Johnny Sexton and Paul O’Connell through injury, they battled back into the game. Luke Fitzgerald’s brilliant try gave them hope and reduced their arrears to 20-10 at the interval.
Irish hopes were heightened after Jordi Murphy scored a try after the break to leave them trailing by just three points. But their opponents proved the stronger in the latter stages and ran out deserved victors thanks to tries from Joaquin Tuculet and a second score for Juan Imhoff. The final score of 43-20 was perhaps slightly flattering for the victors, but indicative of their potency as an attacking threat.
Scotland bemoan lack of TMO referral
Scotland fans will have plenty to ponder over once the dust settles on their agonising defeat by 35-34 at the hands of the Wallabies. Players and pundits alike were left to bemoan the non-usage of the TMO for the crucial decision that cost the Scots the game at the death.
A see-saw game seemed to have finally swung the way of Scotland, when an aberration at the back by the Aussies handed an interception try to Mark Bennett. The subsequent conversion put Scotland 34-32 ahead, with the inclement conditions reminiscent of a rainy afternoon at their home of Murrayfield instead of Twickenham.
Yet they failed to run down the clock for the remaining seven minutes and fell foul of the officials, as the wet ball ricocheted between the rival players. Referee Craig Joubert somewhat controversially gave a deliberate offside as Scottish players instinctively seized the ball in front of their own players. The calmest man in the stadium was Bernard Foley who struck the penalty between the posts to snatch the game for Australia.
Afterwards, Scottish scrum-half and goal kicker Greig Laidlaw was unhappy with the manner of the decision, believing that the TMO should have been referred to for such a crucial decision. Indeed replays after the game suggested that there may have been a deflection off a Wallaby player in the decisive action.
As it is, the four teams left in the competition can look forward to the semi-finals next week. With both matches being played at Twickenham and having 4pm kick offs, the line-up has been confirmed as:
Saturday 24th October
South Africa v New Zealand
Sunday 25th October
Argentina v Australia
Wales and France defeated
Saturday’s quarter-finals had seen Wales push South Africa all the way before losing 23-19, after leading narrowly at half-time. In the evening tie, reigning champions New Zealand had far too much firepower as they demolished France 62-13. Julian Savea scored a hat-trick of tries as the All Blacks look ominously close to their best form at just the right time. #Show #Games