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Rugby World Cup: Rampant Wales and Ireland set for quarter battle

| 02.10.2011

Wales and Ireland have completed their seamless progression to the Rugby World Cup knockout stages thanks to comfortable wins against Fiji and Italy respectively.

Warren Gatland’s men smashed Fiji 66-0 in a performance that showcased not only their excellent finishing but their extremely solid defence.

Gatland said: “We knew we were in a really, really tough group and the first goal was to try and win a few games in this group and make the quarter-finals.

“We’ve achieved that so it’s one game at a time now.

Ireland were equally as impressive in their 36-6 demolition of Italy that saw Keith Earls run over two tries.

Speaking to the BBC, Ireland skipper Brian O’Driscoll said:”Delighted with the win. We knew we needed it and I’m glad we were able to deliver in that second half, ably helped by the best crowd we’ve played in front of so far.

“We owe them a huge debut of gratitude.”

Having the crowd on their sides could make all the different for the men in green who – having topped Pool C ahead of Australia – now face Wales in what should be a thrilling quarter final clash.

The betting is extremely close, with Ireland heading into the game as narrow favorites at 8/11and Wales out at 1/1 to make the semi finals.

There hasn’t been much to separate the teams recently, with their previous four encounters seeing both sides win two games apiece and all evidence suggests this will be an equally close encounter.



Richard Anderson