Quarter-final line-up complete
October 3, 2011
Sean O'Brien salutes Ireland's fans after Sunday's defeat of Italy in Dunedin © Getty Images
New Zealand 33 - 10 Argentina Australia 11 - 9 South Africa England 12 - 19 France Ireland 10 - 22 Wales
Ireland's 36-6 victory over Italy in their pivotal Pool C clash in Dunedin on Sunday evening saw Declan Kidney's men claim the final berth in the quarter-finals of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
The Irish progress as winners of their group for the first time in their history and, by pipping Tri-Nations champions Australia to top spot, they have ensured that the northern hemisphere's finest will line up on one side of the draw for the knockout stages with their southern hemisphere rivals on the other.
Indeed, Ireland will now face Wales, runners-up in Pool D, in the last eight in Wellington next Saturday, before England, who saw off Scotland to seal top spot in Pool B, will tackle Pool A runners-up France in Auckland later that night.
Sunday's action will kick off with the mouth-watering match-up between the Wallabies and defending champions South Africa, who have marched ominously into the knockout stages on the back of four successive wins in Pool D.
The All Blacks, meanwhile, will put their 100 percent record on the line in Auckland on Sunday evening when they face Argentina, who secured second place in Pool B with a hard-fought win over Georgia on Sunday.
Elsewhere, while Tonga, Scotland, Italy and Samoa are all heading home early, the can at least take some consolation in the fact that by finishing third in their respective pools, they have ensured that they will not have to qualify for the 2015 World Cup in England.
Rugby World Cup 2011 Quarter-Finals:
Saturday, October 8
Sunday, October 9
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September