Venue: Wellington Regional Stadium
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
This is the start of the agonising process of trying to pick the winners of the 2011 Rugby World Cup quarter finals. In my opinion there are two factors that influence the outcome of these matches. 1) All teams are very evenly matched at this stage of the competition, and 2) anything can happen in the winner takes all knockout stages.
The pressure that is on these two teams is immense. One will be going home and I’m struggling to drag them apart.
Ireland is a new team since that fantastic win over Australia. That was a powerful performance with so much passion. With that passion they could be unbeatable. There is no weakness anywhere.
Wales has been the quiet achiever. That display against South Africa showed a team with all that it takes to win. They nearly did.
I’m going for Ireland. A team who can play like they did against Australia deserves a win. But then so does Wales.
Last Five Encounters
12.03.2011 Wales 19-13 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
13.03.2010 Ireland 27-12 in Dublin (6 Nations)
21.03.2009 Ireland 17-15 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
08.03.2008 Wales 16-12 in Dublin (6 Nations)
04.02.2007 Ireland 19-9 in Cardiff (6 Nations)
Ireland This World Cup (Pool C)
11.09.2011 v USA W 22-10 in New Plymouth
17.09.2011 v Australia W 15-6 in Auckland
25.09.2011 v Russia W 62-12 in Rotorua
02.10.2011 v Italy W 36-6 in Dunedin
Wales This World Cup (Pool D)
11.09.2011 v South Africa L 16-17 in Wellington
18.09.2011 v Samoa W 17-10 in Hamilton
26.09.2011 v Namibia W 81-7 in New Plymouth
02.10.2011 v Fiji W 66-0 in Hamilton
GWC Rugby Rankings
World Table-Ireland 2nd, Wales 10th
Europe Table-Ireland 3rd, Wales 4th
IRB Ranking Points
Ireland 83.14, Wales 80.73
Prediction: Ireland by 3 points
15 Robert Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, Capt. 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Conor Murray, 8 James Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien,
6 Stephen Ferris, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Michael Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
16 Sean Cronin, 17 Thomas Court, 18 Donnacha Ryan, 19 Denis Leamy, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Jonathan Sexton, 22 Andrew Trimble.
Head Coach: Declan Kidney
15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 James Roberts, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Michael Phillips, 8 Tobias Faletau, 7 Samuel Warburton Capt., 6 Daniel Lydiate, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Huw Bennett, 1 Gethin Jenkins.
16 Lloyd Burns, 17 Paul James, 18 Bradley Davies, 19 Ryan Jones, 20 Lloyd Williams, 21 James Hook, 22 Scott Williams.
Head Coach: Warren Gatland