Rugby World Cup 2011: Wales, France Claim Wins in 1st Quarterfinals

Jeff Cheshire@@jeff_cheshireAnalyst IIOctober 8, 2011

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 08:  Vincent Clerc of France celebrates his opening try with Alexis Palisson (R) during quarter final two of the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup between England and France at Eden Park on October 8, 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
Phil Walter/Getty Images

Wales and France have both won brutal games to see them progress through to the semifinals of Rugby World Cup 2011. The results see that Ireland and England both go home, in what was a massive disappointment for both teams.

Wales 22 Ireland 10

Wales defence held strong as they withstood wave after wave of attack from Ireland to claim a famous victory in one of the most anticipated games of the Rugby World Cup thus far.

After an early try, Wales were made to defend for nearly the entire first half, as Ireland applied continuous pressure, looking to attack through all areas of the Welsh defence. But they held strong, holding them to just three points in the first half, taking a 10-3 lead into the break.

The second half saw Ireland finally cross, taking the score to 10 all, but Wales were able to gain dominance late in the game and two late tries saw Wales get home.

Sam Warburton was outstanding, effecting multiple turnovers at crucial times. He has emerged as one of the stars of the 2011 tournament and has been arguably the best openside flanker there.

The inside back combination of Mike Phillips, Rhys Priestland and Jamie Roberts were also key, all proving dangerous with ball in hand and taking good options. Phillips scored the decisive try late in the second half, while Roberts provided the go forward that got Wales on the front foot. Priestland kicked remarkably well and was very cool under pressure.

France 19 England 12

France have again caused an upset in the knockout stages of a Rugby World Cup. They have become famous for their ability to find one big performance after playing average rugby throughout the tournament, and on this occasion it was England who felt their wrath.

Although in saying this, the loss was as much due to England's blunders as it was France's brilliance.

France were outstanding in the first half, with Dimitri Yachvilli controlling play well, taking good options and kicking very well, pinning England inside their own half.ย 

Their backs were dangerous with ball in hand, cutting through the woeful England defence time and time again, helping them shoot out to a 16-0 lead at the break.

The second half saw England mount a comeback, but the game was gone and England's lack of creativeness and ability to be clinical ended up being their undoing, as they struggled to cross the line despite having countless opportunities.

France now have the task of facing a Welsh team on top of their game in the semifinal, which will be a much tougher task than last night. Historically France have struggled the week after recording an upset win, having never gone on to win the next week, only time will tell if this trend continues.ย 


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