South Africa 18 New Zealand 20
South Africa’s campaign to become three time champions ended on Saturday evening with a narrow loss to old foes the All Blacks- whose own campaign to be the first team to retain the title continues. It was as close a match as you’d expect between the rugby elite. After destroying France, New Zealand were brought back down to earth by the Boks, who seemed intent on proving their worth against the world’s best. Although Kaino crossed over for a converted All Black try in the first half, South Africa’s determined play set up four Handre Pollard penalties.
Into the second half, Dan Carter masterfully stroked over a drop goal to hand the lead back to New Zealand, before Barrett crossed over for another converted try and all of a sudden the defending champs were 5 points up. Despite Habana being sin binned, the Boks held on and got back within two points. But, the All Blacks were too strong in their territory and saw the game out to hand them a place in the final.
Australia 29 Argentina 15
Argentina’s fairytale run came to an end after a composed and controlled performance from the Wallabies saw Australia put their names in the final. A second minute interception gave Australia the early points, and allowed them to create a lead to defend- which they managed the entire match. The Pumas were fantastic to watch going forward, but were sloppy at the break down and couldn’t convert the chances they created. They managed to put points on the board with a Sanchez penalty, but the Wallabies then made it 14-3 with a great Ashley-Cooper try.
Another Argentina penalty lessened the Australian lead, but they lost Lavanini to the sin bin, and then captain Creevy with an injury. Australia didn’t need a second invitation as Ashley-Cooper scored another. They traded penalties at the beginning of the next half, and Argentina started to build momentum. The Aussie defence, so strong this year, remained firm, and the win was sealed by a third Ashley-Cooper try on the counter.
They’re now set to meet New Zealand in an all-southern final.