Latest: Southern hemisphere take early honors in WC quarters

LONDON (AP) The latest at the Rugby World Cup (all times local):

10:20 p.m.

Northern hemisphere 0, southern hemisphere 2.

Europe was put in its place on the first day of quarterfinal action at the Rugby World Cup, with Wales failing to hold on against South Africa, and France demolished by New Zealand.

Over to Scotland and Ireland on Sunday.

The Scots have their work cut out against Australia, arguably the form team from the pool stage.

So it might be the Irish who are flying the flag for the continent by the end of Sunday, as they start marginal favorites against Argentina.

9:48 p.m.

Defending champion New Zealand has crushed France 62-13 to record the biggest-ever winning margin in a Rugby World Cup quarterfinal, with left winger Julian Savea scoring three of the All Blacks’ nine tries.

The margin eclipsed the previous record quarterfinal win when South Africa thrashed Samoa 42-14 in 1995.

The All Blacks will play South Africa in the semifinals and, on this form, will take some stopping.

Replacement scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow came off the bench to cap the win with two late tries.

The other tries came from lock Brodie Retallick and Nehe Milner-Skudder in the first half, and No. 8 Kieran Read and Jerome Kaino in the second.

No. 8 Louis Picamoles got France’s lone try in the first half and was sin-binned early into the second half.

8:50 p.m.

Julian Savea has scored two of New Zealand’s four tries to help the defending champions to a 29-13 lead over France at halftime in the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals in Cardiff.

Lock Brodie Retallick charged down Frederic Michalak’s clearance to pull clear for the All Blacks’ first try, before winger Nehe Milner-Skudder cut inside off the left, beat two Frenchmen and cruised over.

Then it was the Savea show, as the left winger took an offload from Dan Carter for the third try and bulldozed over two covering defenders to crash over for a stunning fourth just before halftime.

No. 8 Louis Picamoles went over for France’s sole try between Savea’s scores.

The winner plays South Africa in the semifinals at Twickenham.

7:30 p.m.

France captain Thierry Dusautoir was forced on the eve of the quarterfinals to bat away a story in a newspaper back home that his team has lost faith in coach Philippe Saint-Andre.

There’s no such concern inside the All Blacks, with players and coach Steve Hansen content with their progress this tournament after four wins from four in the pool stage, while acknowledging the team has yet to reach its usual high standards.

It’s all part of a grand plan, according to Hansen, who is on the field with his assistants under the Millennium Stadium’s closed roof as some of his players practice their kicks and perform stretches. Hansen shook hands with Saint-Andre in the center circle after France’s players jogged out.

From now on, every New Zealand match could be the last for captain Richie McCaw and flanker Daniel Carter – two of the greatest players to wear the All Black jersey. McCaw will be fresh after sitting out the last pool game.

6:40 p.m.

Few contests get the heart racing as much as New Zealand against France at a Rugby World Cup.

Invariably, it produces a classic, and the 10,000 spectators who filled the fan zone in Cardiff city center a full five hours before kickoff are expecting another one at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

France supporters – some dressed as cockerels, others as mime artists – were in buoyant mood in a heaving Welsh capital also containing thousands of All Blacks, Ireland and Argentina fans on a weekend of World Cup action here.

Perhaps they were sensing another upset. In 2007, at the same stage of the tournament, at the venue and also on a Saturday night, France stunned the rugby world by beating New Zealand 20-18 after a second-half comeback.

Can they upset the odds again eight years on and knock out the defending champions?

6 p.m.

Captain Fourie du Preez dived over in the left corner with five minutes to go for South Africa to defeat Wales 23-19 in an enthralling Rugby World Cup quarterfinal at Twickenham.

The lead changed six times in a match in which 79,500 spectators dared not leave their seats, and it took a moment of brilliance to finally separate the teams.

With the scrum feed, South Africa wheeled it toward the left touchline. No. 8 Duane Vermuelen picked up at the back and broke away with the ball and drew replacement scrumhalf Lloyd Williams and winger Alex Cuthbert. Du Preez, who had been standing on the open side, suddenly came into view and received a back pass from Vermuelen and a free, curving sprint into the corner.

The try wasn’t converted, but Wales needed a try to win, and didn’t look like getting it in the last minutes, pinned in their own half.

So South Africa advanced to only its second semifinal in this century, and awaited the winner in the following match in Cardiff between New Zealand and France.

5:10 p.m.

The narrow streets of downtown Cardiff are bustling with fans in black, blue and also green jerseys, and the local bars and restaurants are filling up.

With three hours to go until the World Cup quarterfinal between New Zealand and France at Millennium Stadium, supporters of nations are mingling in a friendly atmosphere, sharing drinks and taking photos of each other.

Joining the party, the Irish fans in green are also in abundance – and their match against Argentina isn’t until Sunday lunchtime.

While it’s busy in the Welsh capital, the national team of Wales is playing a knockout quarterfinal in London against South Africa.

4:50 p.m.

Wales leads South Africa 13-12 after a half as close as the scoreline suggests in the first of the Rugby World Cup quarterfinalsl at Twickenham.

Dan Biggar landed a dropped goal from 30 meters in the second minute of first-half injury time to give Wales the lead for the second time.

Biggar also sets up the only try. He caught his own up-and-under inside South Africa’s 22, and passed out to scrumhalf Gareth Davies, who crossed for the try.

Biggar converted for 10-9, but Wales immediately conceded a fourth penalty within range of the posts, and Handre Pollard nailed it to regain the lead the Springboks hold until injury time.

4 p.m.

With the first Rugby World Cup quarterfinal about to kick off at Twickenham under a gray sky, here’s the good news: South Africa and Wales are unchanged.

There was plenty of drama before the match, as Ireland linchpin Jonny Sexton had to withdraw from their quarterfinal against Argentina on Sunday, and Scotland suddenly gained forwards Ross Ford and Jonny Gray, who won their appeals and were cleared to play in their quarterfinal against Australia, also on Sunday.

Sexton hurt his groin in a big tackle by France’s Louis Picamoles last weekend, but was picked to play this weekend. However, the groin tightened up after training on Friday, and Ireland decided not to risk its star flyhalf. Ireland therefore starts without four major players: Sexton, captain Paul O’Connell, and flankers Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony. Ian Madigan will start against the Pumas at flyhalf.

Ford and Gray were cleared of making a dangerous tackle against Samoa last weekend, but whether they are late inclusions in the Scotland team is in doubt. They were not picked in the matchd squad of 23 on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Springboks and Welsh have warmed up at Twickenham and are set to meet in a quarterfinal for the first time, and in the World Cup for only the second time. Despite Welsh fans having the advantage of being almost on home soil, there’s a huge amount of fans in Springboks colors. They had the benefit of believing their team would win their pool, and bought the appropriate tickets. Although, that opening loss to Japan would have given them chills.

New Zealand and France were playing later Saturday at Cardiff in the second quarterfinal match.