Wales (ranked 5th) vs South Africa (4th)
If we didn’t think we were blessed enough with the first semi-final, the rugby gods have conspired to produce what should be an epic encounter for this second semi-final of the weekend. Wales and South Africa, in what is the closest ranked match of the whole tournament.
A few injuries have left some players out of both squads this weekend but this won’t detract either side from what is at stake. Now, a final against England! Something both teams would relish.
Wales and South Africa have been conducting a colossal ranking battle during this tournament, with no fewer than eight swaps in ranking position between the two sides. The last two matches saw South Africa claim and hold onto the 4th ranking spot, but their advantage over Wales is only by the slimmest of margins.
These two great teams are focusing on that place in the final, but this game also represents an opportunity for either team to claim and keep hold of the 4th placed ranking. Wales could slide back into the 4th position with a victory of a certain magnitude as demonstrated by the plot below.
Victories of 6-0, 12-3, 15-5 up to 30-15 and beyond, would provide Wales with not only a place in the first World Cup final in their history, but also confirm their status as the 4th best team in the competition, with the potential to grow further from there.
And don’t expect South Africa to be anything less than an equally matched opponent, as this bout is set to be a ferociously contested encounter. We can’t wait!