South African prop Jannie du Plessis has backed Ireland to make it to their first ever World Cup final after being impressed with their performances so far in the tournament.
Ireland and Wales have both upset the southern hemisphere apple cart, with Declan Kidney’s men putting in a disciplined performance to beat Australia while the Welsh came agonisingly close to beating the 2007 champions, only to lose out by a point.
Despite preparing for his side’s crunch tie against the Wallabies, du Plessis took time to speak to the Guardian and admitted to being intrigued by the opposite side of the quarter final draw which features all four Northern Hemisphere sides; with out of sorts England and France set to face each other.
The Sharks star said “Ireland have been playing incredibly well, They have really stepped up and brilliant is the only word to describe them. Wales have also made a mark.
“They nearly beat us in the opening group game and any side that puts 66 points on Fiji commands respect. It is going to be some game between them on Saturday.”
“The other quarter-final is intriguing. France and England both know how to win big games. France have knocked out New Zealand in two of the last three World Cups, while England showed again against Scotland that when they look down-and-out they can dig deep to come through.”
Having started in the one point win over Wales in their Pool D encounter du Plessis knows all about the quality Warren Gatland has in his ranks and is full of admiration for their progress in recent years.
However despite Wales’ good form, the prop forward fancies Ireland to advance to the final, something he hopes his Springbok side can also achieve.
“They (Wales) have always had bags of talent but now they seem to have a belief in each other and they have developed a structure that works for them. I like the way they are playing an exciting brand of rugby, but if I had to make a choice for the final it would be Ireland. They just look in really great shape.”