The Cup 19 podcast: Win over South Africa books All Blacks' semi-final spot

Listen to the full episode above 

New Zealand's opening win over South Africa has virtually earned them a spot in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals, according to Newshub's John Day.

On the ground in Japan, Day believes the 23-13 result on Saturday night was crucial in mapping out both sides' pathways through the tournament.

While South Africa now face the prospect of facing Ireland - ranked world No.1 entering the tournament - in the quarter-finals, the All Blacks' opponent will come from either Samoa, Scotland or Japan. 

A New Zealand loss against any of those three would mark the biggest upset in World Cup history.

Speaking to The Cup 19 podcast, Day says the All Blacks can all-but book their ticket to a semi-final in Yokohama on October 26.

"It's very, very handy from an All Blacks perspective in winning that game," says Day. "It means they probably play Scotland or Japan in the quarters, so they are pretty much through to the semi-finals now.

"A great first-up win."

Meanwhile, Day is lauding the performance of Beauden Barrett against the Springboks. The converted fullback produced a man-of-the-match display, terrorising the South African defence with his trademark runs, kicking game and ball-playing ability.

By the end of the tournament, Day believes the new Blues recruit could be the world's best custodian.

"From what I saw, it's Barrett leading the backline," Day noted. "When he demanded the ball, Aaron Smith gave it to him - not Richie Mo'unga.

"Against South Africa, it just seemed Barret had so much time, kind of what we have seen from Dan Carter, when he was at the peak of his powers. 

"You get that from Barrett - he has this uncanny knack of knowing where the ball will bounce. Positionally, he was brilliant from fullback as well. 

"I just get the feeling that this is his time - Barrett's time to emerge as a great No.10, who is playing No.15 as good as anyone in the world."

The All Blacks have plenty of time to ponder their future in the tournament - they next play Canada on October 2 in Oita. 

Join us at 10:15pm Tuesday for live updates of Russia v Samoa Rugby World Cup clash