The odd stat that all World Cup quarter-final losers had in common

The top four teams faced off against each other on one side of the draw, while the remaining teams faced off on the other, in each of the four Rugby World Cup quarterfinal matches.

The two epic quarterfinal matches between South Africa and France and Ireland and New Zealand were decided by a total five points, making them the two best quarterfinal matches in history.

But there was one thing the weekend losers all had in common. The team with the most handling errors lost each of the four games, according to X user Just Doc.


Due in part to their execution skills, New Zealand overcame two yellow cards and 20 minutes of being short a man, committing just one handling error the entire game.

Unusual and unintentional dropped balls occasionally troubled Ireland and France.

Irish No. 8One important turning moment occurred when Caelan Doris fumbled a goal-line dropout after Ronan Kelleher was stopped over the line, and another occurred when France prop Cyril Baille attempted to pick up and throw an errant pass from Antoine Dupont that resulted in a fastbreak try for Cheslin Kolbe.

Even if it’s probably a coincidence, mistakes in knockout games can result in significant momentum swings that determine games by a slim margin.

While it may not come as a surprise to anyone that the two most successful World Cup teams will play in the semi-finals, expert Simon Gleave discussed on X the historic significance of the quarter-final outcomes.

It wasn’t unusual for three of the top five most successful teams to advance to the semi-finals, but this was the first time the top two countries in victory percentage didn’t.

Ireland and France, two of the most successful teams between World Cups, created history by exiting.


Ireland’s 28-24 loss to the All Blacks created unwanted history on the level of the 2007 All Blacks who were stunned by France 20-18 in the quarter-finals.

Those two teams are the only teams to not make the semi-finals after holding the highest win rate against the other top nine countries.

Only the seventh team in the history of the World Cup to reach the semifinals while winning fewer than 50% of its games was Argentina, which had just eight victories in 30 tests over the course of a four-year span.

Los Pumas have now achieved this feat three times, joining 2007 and 2015 on their list of years with less than a 50% winning rate in the top four.

After defeating Fiji to qualify, England also joined them as the eighth team in history. During the cycle, England had won 14 out of 30 Test matches.

The 2019 Springboks, who are also on the list, managed to win the entire tournament despite winning less than half of their games throughout the cycle. Argentina and England should learn from their success.


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