The pool stage of the Rugby World Cup 2023 in France is over and it’s now time for the knockout phase of the competition. Let's look back at some of the key moments from the first phase and launch the quarter-finals of RWC.
Pool Stage Moments
After five weeks of competition, with twenty teams giving their all to reach the next stage of the competition, the knockout phase of the Rugby World Cup has finally taken shape.
Ireland confirmed their status as one of the big favourites to win the competition with two big wins, first against South Africa 13-8 and then 36-14 over Scotland, securing first place in the so-called ‘pool of death’.
France in the opening match of the competition showed their strength with a decisive 27-13 victory over mighty New Zealand, and Fiji sprang a surprise by seeing off Australia.
But none of these victories generated as much buzz as one in particular: Portugal's 24-23 win over Fiji in Toulouse. In a historic match, “Os Lobos” secured their first-ever victory in a World Cup, creating a global stir about their achievement as a semi-professional team against a professional one. (We have to admit, we know we're biased, but we're incredibly proud!) This victory made Portuguese rugby the talk of the world.
Who qualified for the RWC quarter-finals?
Ireland, South Africa, Wales, England, France, New Zealand, Argentina, and Fiji are the eight teams to have made it past the group stage of the competition.
In pool A, France secured first place with a 60-7 win over Italy, and New Zealand booked their passage in second place. Ireland and South Africa proved to be stronger than Scotland and progressed in first and second place respectively, in pool B. In pool C, Fiji finished second behind Wales, who secured the top spot with perfect four wins. Finally, in pool D, Argentina beat Japan, in Nantes, to secure second place in a group led by England. The main surprise is that Australia had their first-ever World Cup pool stage exit.
Here is the line-up for the quarter-finals (kick-off times @ Lisbon and UK time):
Saturday, October 14
Wales v Argentina (16:00, Marseille)
Ireland v New Zealand (20:00, Paris)
Sunday, October 15
England v Fiji (16:00, Marseille)
France v South Africa (20:00, Paris)
Now, the bookies make Ireland and France the great favourites to win the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Let's wait for the next chapters of the competition, as the quarter-finals promise exciting and highly competitive matches!
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