All Blacks set for Boks in World Cup semi

Julian Savea scored a bulldozing hat-trick as New Zealand delivered a record-setting rugby masterclass to rout France 62-13 and set up a Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa.

The Springboks earlier had a tougher time getting past Wales with captain Fourie du Preez touching down with five minutes left to snatch a 23-19 win at Twickenham.

The Southern Hemisphere powers are set to dominate the tournament with Australia favourites against Scotland in their quarter-final on Sunday when Argentina hope to score an upset against Ireland.

New Zealand went into their match at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium facing romantic hopes from their rivals that France could pull off a repeat of their upset last-eight win over the All Blacks in the same stadium in 2007.

But the defending champions dominated from the first kick and set a new record for points scored and the winning margin in a World Cup quarter-final.

They scored nine tries in all and France were so battered by the All Black tsunami that they did not manage a point in the second half. Louis Picamoles got their only try in the first half.

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw declared himself “very proud” of the performance.

“We were very clinical,” he said highlighting how the All Blacks had piled on the pressure from the start.

In addition to Savea’s triple, Tawera Kerr-Barlow touched down twice and Nehe Milner-Skudder, Brodie Retallick, Jerome Kaino and Kieran Read also crossed. Dan Carter added 17 points from the boot.

Savea is now the tournament’s leading try scorer with eight.

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said he was impatient to play the semi-final against South Africa.

“We can’t wait,” he said.

“We are playing against great opposition in South Africa, they are a great team.

“Unless we bring the same intensity and the same edge that we had this week to the next contest then our opponents will take advantage. And even if we do, it may not be good enough.”

French coach Philippe Saint-Andre was booed by his country’s fans at the end of his last game in charge of the team.

He said he accepted “a large part” of the blame for the defeat which French media quickly condemned as a “fiasco.”

Saint-Andre called the All Blacks “the Brazilians of rugby” because of their sublime skills.

The day’s other quarter-final could not have been more different.

With Wales leading 19-18 and with just five minutes left, South Africa captain du Preez picked up a sublime Duane Vermeulen backhand pass and drove through to the corner to touchdown.

In a dramatic ding-dong battle, the lead changed hands five times after Handre Pollard kicked the first penalty for South Africa and before Du Preez snatched victory.

“The whole game from minute one was on a knife-edge,” said man-of-the-match Schalk Burger.

“We obviously knew that this game was going to be won in the last 10 minutes.”

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer, who had to apologise to the nation after South Africa’s sensational 34-32 loss to Japan in their opening pool match, said he wanted to “kiss” du Preez.

“He is a tactical genius. He came up with that move and the try was pure genius,” the coach added.

The Springboks had proved they can win under pressure, he added.

“If you put pressure on charcoal it turns to diamonds,” said Meyer.

Wales coach Warren Gatland was disconsolate.

“The players emptied the tank. Unfortunately, we weren’t good enough to hold for on the full 80 minutes,” he added.

Wales new star kicker Dan Biggar, who claimed 14 more points and set up a try for Gareth Davies, was furious to be taken off for treatment to a head injury just before the Du Preez try.

But amid controversy over injuries at the World Cup, Gatland said the medical staff were right to bring Biggar off.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!