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Rugby World Cup: Thrilling semi-finals in store this weekend

After some epic quarter-final encounters, the 2023 Rugby World Cup enters the semi-final stage this week with two massive clashes on Friday and Saturday at the Stade de France.

Argentina will be hoping they can cause a major upset to reach their first World Cup final by finding a way past a formidable New Zealand side on Friday.

Saturday night’s showdown in Saint-Denis will see a repeat of the World Cup final in Japan four years ago, as reigning champions South Africa take on England.

All Blacks put down a marker before Pumas clash

New Zealand made a statement in the quarter-finals with their 28-24 victory over fellow title contenders Ireland.

In a match worthy of the final, the All Blacks’ resolute defence was enough to stop the Irish staging a late comeback at the Stade de France.

It was a brutal Test match and means the Kiwis will be battle-hardened for Friday’s encounter with Argentina.

The Pumas were disappointing in their opening game of the tournament in a 27-10 loss to 14-man England but have responded well since, as they managed to come through a pool which also included the likes of Japan, Samoa and Chile.

Beating Warren Gatland’s Wales 29-17 in the quarter-finals, Michael Cheika’s Argentina will be looking for their third-ever win against New Zealand when they meet in this semi-final.

The All Blacks are the heavy favourites at 1.083 to win the match, while Argentina are available at 8.00 to cause a major upset against the three-time world champions.  

A one-sided affair could be on the cards in this one, with New Zealand at 2.00 to fall on the right side of a -17 point handicap.  

England set for Boks challenge

Having scraped past Fiji 30-24 in the quarter-finals, England face their first major test of the World Cup when they take on South Africa on Saturday. 

The draw has been favourable to England so far but Steve Borthwick’s side now have a mammoth challenge ahead of them to beat the Springboks.

In another match worthy of the final, South Africa spoiled the party in Saint-Denis to beat hosts France 29-28 in the quarter-finals.

The Boks held their nerve after going behind to an early try amidst the fevered atmosphere at the Stade de France.

Skipper Siya Kolisi and his side know what it takes to overcome England in the latter stages of a World Cup and are the firm favourites to reach the final once again.

South Africa are 1.14 for the win, while England are available at 5.50 to claim a famous victory at the Stade de France.

In the handicap market, England are 2.00 with a +13 point head start.

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