Wales and France are set to clash in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals, on Saturday, October 15, 2011, in Auckland, after beating Ireland and England, in the quarter-finals, respectively.
In particular, Wales had a brilliant second half and Ireland struggled to get into the game. Soon after half-time, Ireland scored to level the score at 10-10 and just when the Irish thought they had the momentum going for them, Wales scored an easy try, and never looked back after that. Ireland made a few defensive errors, and the Welsh were quick to pounce on the opportunities afforded.
Irish player Stephen Ferris backs Wales to beat France, in their semi-final match, and to go on to win the world cup. Ferris was extremely impressed with the nature of Wales’s 22-10 win over the Irish, last week, at the Wellington National Stadium.
“If Wales play like they did against us, there’s no reason why they can’t win the World Cup. They were very smart and took every opportunity. They have big, strong ball carriers and a magnificent back row. They’ve brought in a lot of young guys who have confidence and self-belief. They have the right blend of youth and experience. Fair play to them, they beat us,” the Ulster back row is reported to have said.
Wales coach Warren Gatland praised his side’s brilliant defence against Ireland as the main reason for the win in the quarter-final clash. Before that win, Wales came close to upsetting reigning world champions South Africa, in their pool, and followed up that opening match with wins over Samoa, Namibia and Fiji.
Ahead of the semi-final clash with France, Gatland has a fitness worry, in lock Luke Charteris; a blow on the shoulder kept the towering lock from taking further part in the quarter-final with Ireland after half-time. Gatland is hopeful of Charteris’s recovery to match fitness, before the semi-final with France.
France head coach Marc Lievremont was confident ahead of next week’s last-four clash with Wales, after his side rode
a mediocre performance by England to win on the back of first-half tries from Vincent Clerc and Maxime Medard. France at one led 16-0 and England fought back as Ben Foden registered a second half touchdown before a drop goal from Francois Trinh-Duc pushed France further adrift. Mark Cueto’s try, in the closing minutes, proved a trifle too late for England and France set up their last four clash with Wales.
Lievremont, under pressure after France’s shock loss to Tonga, was full of respect for Wales. “Wales have a very good team, a very brave team in the forwards, a lot of talented defence players. They control their game very well. It’s not going to be easy, but I would like to start thinking about it already now. I’m going to encourage my players to celebrate this win, but I’m going to encourage them to start focusing on the semi-final as quickly as possible.”
Four years ago France prevailed over favourites New Zealand in the quarter-finals, before going down to England in the last four encounter. Captain Dusautoir hopes that France can avoid a similar fate this time around and get to the final.
France have announced an unchanged squad, from the one that played against England, to take on Wales in the semi-finals.
France: Maxime Medard, Vincent Clerc, Aurélien Rougerie, Maxime Mermoz, Alexis Palisson, Morgan Parra, Dimitri Yachvili, Jean-Baptiste Poux, William Servat, Nicolas Mas, Pascal Pape, Lionel Nallet, Thierry Dusautoir (c), Julien Bonnaire, Imanol Harinordoquy
Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Fabien Barcella, Julien Pierre, Louis Picamoles, Francois Trinh-Duc, David Marty, Cedric Heymans
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.
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- Rugby World Cup 2011: Semi-finals Line Up, Schedule & Match Times | October 12, 2011