Rugby World Cup Semi-Finals – One Step Away

We have arrived at the semi-final stage of this year’s Rugby World Cup and the four remaining sides read like a who’s who of the sport. Followers of this competition have been treated to a fair share of upsets and surprise results since Japan hammered Russia in the opener but there can be no arguments over the fact each of the teams remaining fully deserve their slot. Four teams left and each will fancy their chances of, at least, contesting the final.

The quarter-final matches throw up some fascinating results. England hammered Australia by 40 points to 16 on Saturday morning and that was followed by an eye-catching 46-14 win for The All Blacks over Ireland later that morning. Ireland was blown away by a determined-looking opponent. Sunday saw Wales edge France by a single point in what was a nail-biter and South Africa crushed the host nation 26-3.

England v New Zealand

England v New Zealand

The first of the semi-finals pairs England and New Zealand on Saturday 26 October with a 9.00am GMT kick-off slot. The betting makes for interesting reading with New Zealand marked as hot favourites, backers able to find no more than the 2/5 being offered by Unibet. That’s the market best price at the time of writing and it’s a little shorter than was expected. England is certainly capable of upsetting the odds and catapulting themselves towards the final.

The underdogs carry a 13/5 price tag going into this match but there’s a degree of uncertainty amongst traders at major bookmakers. Bet365 make 13/5 available to backers but many firms offer only 11/5 on the same result. The draw is 28/1 top price at bet365 and we wouldn’t be in a mad rush to put anyone off a shot at the bigger price either. The handicap betting has England with a converted try head start at even money with bet365, the same firm offering evens on New Zealand -7 points. That could give England backers a bit of a safety net.

Wales v South Africa

Wales v South Africa

The second semi-final is scheduled to be played 24 hours later as Wales and South Africa lock horns from 9.00am GMT on Sunday morning. This match, like the one before it, can be followed live on ITV as well as a number of live streaming services offered by major bookmakers. If you bet on the game with a firm, you will be able to watch the HD quality live stream at no extra cost.

Wales is the number one ranked team in the world at present but that isn’t enough to win them favour with traders who have been quick to throw the weight of their support behind South Africa, making them favourites for the prize. That will come as a massive shock to many punters and the fact SA are available at no better than 1/3 with William Hill means there’s no value in their prize.

The underdogs are more than capable of springing a surprise here and there’s a reason to take a punt on them as Unibet serve up a market best price of 11/4. That’s better than the 12/5 you’ll get with some other online bookmakers. The draw is 28/1 at bet365 and that’s difficult to ignore after Wales won by just one point in the quarter-finals. The handicap betting has Wales trading at 11/10 with bet365 to win with a seven points start and there’s 10/11 about South Africa -7. Bookies seem convinced The Springboks will win this one, but value hunters are sure to be sniffing around the Welsh and taking a chance on them showing just why they are the number one ranked team in world rugby at the minute.