Pumas face the All Blacks for a spot in the Rugby World Cup final

The semis match is this Friday at 4 p.m. Argentina time

Los Pumas will play its opening match this Saturday. Credit: Pixabay

Argentina’s men’s national rugby team, the Pumas, will face one of the most important games in its history on Friday. The team will go up against New Zealand’s All Blacks in the semifinal of the Rugby World Cup for a chance to make it to the final. This will be only the third time the Pumas have reached the semis, after doing so in 2007 and 2015. England and South Africa will play in the other semifinal following the Pumas-All Blacks game.

The Michael Cheika-led team achieved a historic result in the quarterfinals, coming from behind to beat a much more favored Wales team 29-17 to clinch its semis spot. The Australian coach has confirmed a very similar team to the one that beat the Red Dragons, with scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou making a return to the starting lineup in place of Tomás Cubelli.

“You don’t get many opportunities like this in life,” Cheika said in the build up to the game. “For us, playing a semifinal is even more unexpected, so we don’t want to leave anything on the table; we don’t want any regrets.”

The days leading up to the game haven’t been easy for the Pumas. The Argentine team had to shorten its training schedule due to some logistics issues since the hotel assigned to them was occupied by the eliminated teams until Monday. This left the Pumas stranded in Marseille, as there was nowhere to house them in Paris.

The challenge is also daunting on the sporting front. The New Zealand All Blacks have been a dominant force in rugby for a very long time: they are in search of their fourth World Cup title after lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in 1987, 2011, and 2015. 

“We know New Zealand has been the best team in the world for many years,” said Cheika. “We know of the challenge we have ahead of us. We’re happy to be here, but we don’t want to settle. When you have a negative tally against a team, it’s up to you to change it, and we have that opportunity on Friday.”

The clash between Pumas and All Blacks will kick off this Friday at 4 p.m. Argentina time. It  will be broadcast live on Argentina’s national public broadcaster, TV Pública, or through the cable sports channel ESPN. It can also be streamed online on the digital platforms Star+, Cont.ar, Flow, DGO, and Telecentro Play.


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald