RWC Quarter-Finals: England v Australia / New Zealand v Ireland5 min read
A huge day of rugby on Saturday starts with England facing Australia in the first World Cup Quarter-Final before defending champions New Zealand take on Ireland.
England can maintain dominance over Wallabies
England have cruised into the last-eight, barely raising a sweat, but the hard work starts now for Eddie Jones’ side. After sweeping aside Tonga and the USA, England overpowered 14-man Argentina in their 39-10 win.
A tougher test was anticipated against France last weekend but Typhoon Hagibis resulted in the match being cancelled.
It means England take on Australia after a fortnight since their last match but this is unlikely to be a problem especially with a fully-fit squad. Jones has opted to move Owen Farrell to fly-half, with Henry Slade brought in at outside centre and George Ford unlucky to be dropped to the bench.
Australia yet to peak in Japan
Australia reached the quarter-finals after finishing second in their pool and Michael Cheika’s side have certainly not produced their best form in the competition.
The Wallabies have started their group games slowly and this proved costly against Wales in their 29-25 defeat in Tokyo.
Australia laboured to a 27-8 win against Georgia last weekend and an improvement will be required if they are to dump England out of the World Cup.
England have won their last six clashes against Australia and the momentum is certainly with them this weekend.
Jones’ powerful unit have had all the answers in recent meetings and it should be the same story in Oita with England fancied to reach the semi-finals.
England’s last three wins against Australia have been by at least 16 points and another comfortable victory could be in the offing. A win by 15 points or more is an appealing price at 7/4.
All Blacks closing in on third successive triumph
New Zealand are strong favourites to win their last-eight tie against Ireland in Tokyo with the team unbeaten in the World Cup for 12 years.
The All Blacks may not be the impenetrable force of old but still remain the team to beat in Japan as they seek to win the competition for the third successive time.
New Zealand resisted early pressure in their opener to defeat South Africa in a huge physical encounter. Steve Hansen’s side eased to top spot in the group with victories over Canada and Namibia before their game against Italy was cancelled due to the typhoon.
Ireland eyeing another shock win over New Zealand
Ireland’s progress in Japan has not gone as smoothly as Joe Schmidt would have planned in his final tournament in charge.
After a convincing win against Scotland in their opener, Ireland were beaten 19-12 by outstanding hosts Japan.
Ireland managed to go through as runners-up after comfortably defeating Russia and Samoa but the pool stage again exposed weaknesses which have affected them this year.
It is staggering Ireland have never made it beyond the quarter-finals of the World Cup and they have given themselves an uphill challenge again this year with their tie against the All Blacks.
But it is worth bearing in mind Ireland have beaten New Zealand in two of the last three meetings. Their 16-9 victory last November in Dublin was an exceptional defensive performance but in truth Ireland have not looked the same team in 2019.
Nevertheless, only one of the last six matches against the world champions have seen them lose by more than 12 points and Ireland are capable of putting up a dogged defensive effort this weekend.
Toppling New Zealand may ultimately prove beyond them but Ireland merit support with an 11-point handicap advantage in a match which could prove another tight encounter.
England to win by 15 points or more
Ireland +11 points to win