Southern hemisphere dominance in rugby union is nothing new, but the north is now guaranteed at least two places in this tournament's semi-finals
Quarter Finals, Day One
England 40-16 Australia
New Zealand 46-14 Ireland
The knockout stages of the 2015 World Cup made uncomfortable viewing for European fans. All four semi-final places went to southern hemisphere teams, and the consensus was that New Zealand, Australia and even Argentina were playing a different class of rugby with high-tempo, expansive styles built around skilful offloading. While New Zealand thoroughly outplayed Ireland today, England’s thumping win on Kyushu Island was just as impressive. This is the ninth Rugby Union World Cup, and the global scoreboard reads 7-1 to the south. Three titles for New Zealand and two each for Australia and South Africa stand against England’s win in 2003. But Europe is guaranteed one more semi finalist with Wales and France meeting tomorrow, and while the All Blacks remain worthy favourites, the picture is far brighter for the north than it was at this point four years ago. Of course, the wildcard in all of this is the rise of Japan. The hosts have lit up the tournament, and tomorrow they have a realistic chance of continuing their adventure by beating South Africa. While Japan might be far closer to Australia and New Zealand than it is to Western Europe, it’s still in the northern hemisphere.
DID YOU KNOW?
Southern hemisphere dominance in rugby union is nothing new. From 1906 South Africa went 59 years without a single defeat against European opposition. New Zealand first toured Britain in 1905 and over the next 67 years they played 124 matches against England, Scotland and Ireland, losing just one.
England (17) 40
Tries: May (2), Sinckler, Watson
Cons: Farrell (4)
Pens: Farrell (4)
Australia (9) 16
Pen: Lealiifano (3)
New Zealand (22) 46
Tries: A Smith (2), B Barrett, Taylor, Todd, Bridge, Barrett
Cons: Mo'unga (4)
Ireland (0) 14
Tries: Henshaw, Penalty try
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