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in which case I would expect Ireland might meet them in the Semi
Until this weekend, my expectation was a final between the All Blacks and (diplomatically) whoever wins next weekend's France/Ireland. (And after Ireland's display today against Italy, perhaps we can envisage that it might be France).
But indeed, and it pains me to say it, Australia will be a serious obstacle to either one.
Other notes from this weekend : South Africa are back, they looked very decent beating Scotland. This result knocked Japan out of the competition (they needed Scotland to win, in order to qualify ahead of SA). That's a shame; but with their rate of progress, I would be very surprised if, like England, Japan were to be eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup they will host in 2019.
I'm looking forward to seeing SA playing Wales in the quarters (assuming Australia beat Wales. But one should never assume anything with the Welsh.)
On the whole, I fancy France to beat Ireland next weekend, thus getting an "easy" quarter final against Argentina. On the other hand, if Ireland win, France are capable of knocking out the Blacks in the quarters (yes, it's happened before). Then losing in the semis (they did that too).
It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue
- Queen Elizabeth II
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