With all eight quarter-final spots now filled - and a week off to let the Rugby World Cup pool rounds sink in - Scott Yeoman looks at seven things you need to know going into tonight and the next few days.

1. All Blacks

The All Blacks are now in Swansea, their Welsh quarter-final base. The team arrived in the coastal city yesterday. Assistant coach Ian Foster will be joined by five players for a press conference overnight tonight at 1am (NZ time). There will also be a gym training session later that afternoon (UK time).

Visit nzherald.co.nz tomorrow morning for coverage from both sessions, including video footage and reaction from our team on the ground.

2. Quarter finals



South Africa v. Wales is being played at Twickenham at 4am on Sunday morning (NZ time). The TAB has the Springboks as the favourites, paying $1.27 to win. Wales is paying $3.50 to win.

QF2: New Zealand v. France is being played at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff at 8am on Sunday morning (NZ time). The All Blacks are strong favourites at the TAB to win, paying $1.16. France is paying $4.75 to win.

QF3: Ireland v. Argentina is being played at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff at 1am on Monday morning (NZ time). The Irish are paying $1.45 to win at the TAB, while Argentina are paying $2.60.

QF4: Australia v. Scotland is being played at Twickenham at 4am on Monday morning (NZ time). Australia are the clear favourites at the TAB, paying $1.11 to win. Scotland are paying $5.75.

In comparison, at the 2011 Rugby World Cup the eight quarter-finalists were Ireland, Wales, England, France, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina.

Gregor Paul and Patrick McKendry are touring with the All Blacks, and went to the France v Ireland pool match in Cardiff, Hera their opinion and analysis of the knockout match in Cardiff between the All Blacks and France.

3. Injury/suspension news

The Springboks look set to field a full-strength side for their quarter-final against Wales. The South Africans have no fresh injury concerns, and Victor Matfield (hamstring) and JP Pietersen (knee) are expected to be fit in time for the Twickenham game on Sunday morning (NZ time).

Wales has lost winger Liam Williams to a foot injury, adding to the long list of Welsh players that have been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup at different stages of the tournament.

Veteran All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock suffered a tournament-ending hamstring injury against Tonga and has been replaced in the squad by Canterbury's Joe Moody. At this stage, it appears there are no other injury concerns for the All Blacks going into the France quarter-final clash this weekend. Whether it will stay that way will become clear in the next few days.


Australia has some minor injury worries after their win over Wales on the weekend. Fullback Israel Folau is still battling his ankle injury despite playing on the weekend, centre Matt Giteau is still getting treatment for his rib knock, and now star flanker David Pocock has a calf niggle to overcome.

However, Aussie coach Michael Cheika is again hopeful all three will be alright for the quarter-final clash against Scotland. The Wallabies can also look forward to the return of flanker Michael Hooper, who was suspended for one week for not using his arms when he charged into a ruck during the game against England at Twickenham.

Meanwhile, Irish flanker Sean O'Brien could miss his side's quarter-final, and possibly more, for punching Frenchman Pascal Pape in this morning's Pool D match. The incident was even caught on film.

O'Brien will struggle to get away with the blatant act - the last thing Irish coach Joe Schmidt needs after the serious injury doubts over captain Paul O'Connell (hamstring tear), blindside flanker Peter O'Mahony (knee or ankle) and star first-five Jonathan Sexton (ribs and groin). Centre Keith Earls also left the field during the match.

At this stage it looks like France, Argentina and Scotland are relatively injury free going into their quarter finals. This could change, however, as we get closer to the weekend and teams are named - revealing who's being left out and for what reason. It is also early days, both France and Argentina only played this morning.

With All Blacks centurion Tony Woodcock invalided out of the Rugby World Cup, replacement prop Joe Moody has arrived after thirty odd hours in a plane and then three hours by train to Swansea to join the AB's as they get ready for France in the Quarter finals.

4. Odds to win the tournament

The All Blacks are still the bookies' favourite to win the Rugby World Cup, paying $2.20 at the TAB to be the outright winner.

Australia - after strong performances in their pool and especially after wins over England and Wales in the past two weeks - is following closely behind at $3.25 to lift the World Cup.

South Africa are paying $6.50 and Ireland $8. The rest of the teams are paying over $20 to win - France $21, Wales $26, Argentina $31, and Scotland $61.

5. Player rankings

6. Team rankings

7. Standings


Whether we like it or not, the next week is going to be full of stories building up to the All Blacks v. France quarter-final, for obvious reasons. So if the 2007 "Nightmare in Cardiff" tale isn't so familiar to you, have a look through this great big read by the Herald's Dylan Cleaver.

It will act as a good base and provide some vital context for the tonne of stories set to be published over the next six days - everything from who will referee the game (Will it be Wayne Barnes again?), to what colour jersey the All Blacks will wear, as well as more than a few emotional 'looking back' pieces.

I, for one, can't wait for Sunday morning - there's nothing like a bit of history and drama to make sport even more exciting.