The Rugby World Cup semi-finals are all set after South Africa defeated France 29-28 to knock the host nation out in an epic quarterfinal clash.
Defending champions South Africa will take on England in the semi-finals after the Poms claimed a narrow 30-24 win over Fiji.
In the other semi-final, New Zealand will play Argentina after the All Blacks eliminated Ireland in another thrilling quarterfinal.
The weekend’s results mean three of the four remaining teams are from the southern hemisphere (New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina) after the European nations were tipped to progress further.
The elimination of Ireland and France in particular so early in the tournament has tipped the World Cup on its head given they were among the top favourites to win.
“It is disappointing seeing two of the best teams in the World Cup go out so early, but that’s just the reality of when they do the draws,” former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles said on Stan Sport.
“They do it years out for planning, but it makes it difficult to see two of the best teams are no longer playing.”
The Springboks kept their hopes of a record fourth title alive thanks to fly-half Handre Pollard’s second-half points, setting up a last-four meeting with England back in Paris next Saturday.
The Springboks trailed 22-19 at half-time but a try by Eben Etzebeth and a Pollard penalty sealed the narrowest of wins.
In-form France were knocked out at the quarter-finals despite leading at the break in a huge disappointment for the expectant home support.
France captain Antoine Dupont made his return from a cheekbone fracture he suffered last month as the host nation eyed a first semi-final spot since they finished runners-up for a third time in 2011.
French President Emmanuel Macron was present among the 79,500 crowd expecting a match of the highest quality between Fabien Galthie’s France team, third in the world rankings, and Jacques Nienaber’s Boks, in second place.
Owen Farrell scored a late drop goal and penalty to send England into the Rugby World Cup semi-finals with a tense and nervy 30-24 victory over Fiji.
First-half tries from centres Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marchant had looked to have sent England on their way to a semi-final against either hosts France or reigning champions South Africa.
But Fiji, who scored tries through Viliame Mata, Peni Ravai and Vilimoni Botitu, produced a stirring fightback in Marseille although in the end Farrell’s 20 points with the boot proved decisive.