Rugby World Cup: Springboks, All Blacks to Battle in Semis

Defending champions New Zealand demolished France in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final battle to set up a semi-final clash against South Africa who battled past Wales.

Julian Savea touched down twice in the opening half with Brodie Retallick and Nehe Milner-Skudder adding one apiece to give the All Blacks a 29-13 lead at the break.

A try by Louis Picamoles had kept France afloat but when he was sent to the sin-bin French hopes evaporated.

Savea hat-trick

Savea completed a fine hat-trick and Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read and Tawera Kerr-Barlow (two) also crossed to give Steve Hansen’s side a 62-13 victory.

France had hoped to draw inspiration from their World Cup upsets over the All Blacks in 1999 and 2007, when they beat them in the quarter-finals in Cardiff, as well as their near-miss in the 2011 final, when they narrowly lost 8-7.

But New Zealand, who have now beaten France nine times in a row and equalled Australia’s record of 12 consecutive World Cup wins, never looked like losing against a Philippe Saint-Andre side forced to deny they are in outright rebellion.

Boks in Semis

The All Blacks will face South Africa’s Springboks who they have lost to only twice in their last 12 meetings.

South Africa were left grateful to Fourie du Preez’s 75th-minute try which ended battling Wales’ World Cup dream in a colossal quarter-final at Twickenham which ended 23-19 in favor of the African side.

Wales led going into the final 10 minutes but finally succumbed after enduring a second-half battering.

Fly-half Handre Pollard kicked five penalties and a drop-goal for the Springboks.

Wales’ Dan Biggar scored 14 points and created the chance for Gareth Davies to score his fifth try of the tournament.

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