Brodie Retallick Rugby World Cup: How the remaining four teams shape up ahead of the semifinals

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The All Blacks lock was in doubt heading to Japan but has come back in style.

ANALYSIS:And then there were four. The favoured sides all won through their Rugby World Cup quarterfinals last weekend with mixed degrees of ease, leaving the All Blacks, England, South Africa and Wales to line up in the looming semifinals.

Steve Hansen’s New Zealanders made short work of an outmatched Irish side in the second of the quarterfinals in Tokyo, crossing for seven tries en route to a 46-14 victory to send a clear message to their rivals hoping to prevent a hat-trick of Webb Ellis Cup triumphs. The road to glory still runs through the All Blacks.

Earlier in Oita Eddie Jones’ England had been no less impressive, mixing defensive fortitude with attacking efficiency to comfortably see off the challenge of Australia 40-16 and end the Wallabies coaching career of Michael Cheika who, as usual, would have plenty to say on that matter.

Brodie Retallick Kieran Read waves to the crowd after the All Blacks' win over Ireland.


Kieran Read waves to the crowd after the All Blacks’ win over Ireland.

The two sides meet in the juicy opening semifinal in Yokohama on Saturday at 5pm local time (9pm NZT) – their first clash in the RWC knockout stages since Jonah Lomu bestrode the outmatched England backs in 1995.

* Brodie Retallick: Let’s get physical
* English talk up semifinal chances
* Injured Todd out of semifinal
* Barrett: We had to lift standards
* RWC results and pool standings
* RWC results and pool standings

On Sunday it was not quite so imperious from the two victors, with Wales scraping to an unconvincing 20-19 victory over 14-man France, while South Africa finally found the formula in the second half to overwhelm the gallant hosts 26-3, after leading just 5-3 at the break.

These two will meet in the second semifinal in Yokohama on Sunday at 6pm local (10pm NZT), though already talk is that All Blacks-England might be the real final.

Here then are your rankings in order of likelihood of winning the World Cup:

1 New Zealand              

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Teams rise, others fall, but Hansen’s men just keep on keeping on.

The word was they might be short of a gallop after their typhoon-induced inactivity. Instead they came out firing on all cylinders, producing a defensive masterclass and a typically ruthless display of finishing . They made 74 of 75 first half tackles and finished with a 93 per cent hit-rate on that side of the ball,  unsettling the Ir

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