What will a World Cup win mean to each nation?
Four teams are left in the tournament after one of the most incredible weekends in Rugby World Cup history.
England are attempting to go one better after coming up short in the 2019 final, while the All Blacks and South Africa are both looking for an unprecedented fourth title. Argentina is on the other end of the spectrum and still searching for their first title.
Let's break down what a Rugby World Cup win will mean for each nation.
South Africa enter uncharted territory
Ever since their World Cup victory in 2019, the mighty green powerhouse of South Africa has had a target on their back, with every team in the world trying to knock them off their perch. The All Blacks managed to do it back in 2022, as did Australia and Wales. They battled through and continued to get better and better. Even after losing Malcolm Marx and not having Handré Pollard for most of their World Cup campaign, they have continued to battle through and find ways to win. Now they are back in the semifinals and are looking unstoppable after beating France in a quarterfinal. With Handré Pollard back, their goal-kicking Achilles heel is no longer.
If they win, they will be the second team to go back-to-back and become the first team to win four World Cup titles. They will form a new dynasty of South African rugby. Siya Kolisi will surely be regarded as the greatest South African captain of all time, winning back-to-back titles. The crazy thing about this is that just a few months ago, Kolisi had torn his ACL and wasn't even sure he would play in this tournament. He's now just two games away from another victorious World Cup campaign.
Argentina achieve a rare sporting double
Argentina opened their World Cup campaign in disastrous fashion, losing to a 14-man England side 27-10. It was a bad start for Los Pumas and one that could’ve spelt the death kneel for their tournament hopes. However, Los Pumas won their next three matches convincingly to qualify for the quarterfinals. Coming up against Wales, they found their Argentina magic to set up a semifinal with the All Blacks.
Not only would Argentina win their first-ever Rugby World Cup trophy, but they would become the first country to reign as both FIFA World Cup and Rugby World Cup men’s champions.
Head Coach Michael Cheika would also find redemption after coming up short as Wallabies coach in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final.
England cap off remarkable resurgence
If England won, their resurgence to the top would be extraordinary. After losing to Wales and Fiji before the World Cup, and having pivot Owen Farrell suspended for two games, their World Cup hopes looked bleak. Now they remain the only unbeaten team left in the tournament.
England would win their second World Cup title and redeem themselves from falling short in the last tournament, and England rugby would overtake Ireland and France to be the best team in the Northern Hemisphere, somewhere they haven't been in recent years.
All Blacks are once again at the top
Eighteen months ago, if you predicted that the All Blacks were not only in the World Cup semifinals but would also beat Ireland to get there, people would have called you crazy. Thanks to Sam Cane having the game of his life and withstanding a thirty-phase attack from the Irish, the men in black won a turnover and punched their ticket to a semifinal.
There's a lot for the All Blacks to gain if they end up lifting the Webb Ellis Cup. They will become the most successful rugby nation in history, winning the cup four times. Players like Sam Whitelock and Aaron Smith will ride off into the sunset with the perfect ending to their All Black careers. Whitelock will solidify himself as one of the greatest All Blacks ever with three World Cup titles and the most capped player in New Zealand history; Ian Foster exits on a high and shows why he deserves to be the coach. Even the younger players will use this experience for the rest of their careers and usher in the next generation of All Blacks to a culture of success.
Before this World Cup, many analysts and coaches were saying this could be one of the greatest Rugby World Cup tournaments ever. If what we saw in the quarterfinals is replicated even a tiny amount in the semifinals, then that argument could well be correct.