Rugby World Cup semi-final turns into all-Southern Hemisphere affair

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Fourie du Preez’s 75th-minute try ended battling Wales’ World Cup dream in a colossal quarter-final against South Africa at Twickenham.

Wales led going into the final 10 minutes but finally succumbed after enduring a second-half battering.
Fly-half Handre Pollard kicked five penalties and a drop-goal for the Springboks.
Wales’ Dan Biggar scored 14 points and created the chance for Gareth Davies to score his fifth try of the tournament.

Defending champions New Zealand hit top gear to demolish France in their quarter-final encounter. The All Blacks were almost out of sight at half-time, Julian Savea scoring two tries and Brodie Retallick and Nehe Milner-Skudder one apiece.

A try by Louis Picamoles had kept France afloat but when he was sent to the sin-bin French hopes evaporated. Savea completed a fine hat-trick and Jerome Kaino, Kieran Read and Tawera Kerr-Barlow (two) also crossed.

Their win set up a highly anticipated semi-final against South Africa.

Scotland suffered a devastating loss as Australia won with a controversial late penalty. In a pulsating eight-try match Mark Bennett’s interception try with seven minutes to go seemed to have sealed one of the great World Cup upsets.

But with time running out referee Craig Joubert called a deliberate offside when replays seemed to indicate the ball had come off a Wallaby player.

Bernard Foley stroked over the three points to steal the game away. At the final whistle Joubert ran for the tunnel to a deafening chorus of boos, Scotland’s players and vast support shattered by the cruel finale.

Argentina’s early scoring blitz helped them dash Ireland’s hopes of earning a first World Cup semi-final spot. Brilliant tries from Matias Moroni and Juan Imhoff saw the Pumas take a 17-0 lead over the under-strength Irish by the 13th minute.

Luke Fitzgerald’s terrific score helped cut the margin to 20-10 by the break. A Jordi Murphy touchdown reduced the gap to three points but late tries from Joaquin Tuculet and Imhoff sealed a deserved Argentina win.

The victory sets up a semi-final for the Pumas against either Australia at Twickenham next Sunday with an all-southern hemisphere last-four line-up now a reality.