Third time wasn’t the charm for Argentina’s men’s national rugby team in the Rugby World Cup semifinals. The Pumas fell 44-6 to the All Blacks, who were in control all game. Argentina will now play in the third-place playoff against whoever loses tomorrow’s semifinal between England and South Africa.
Playing New Zeakand, Argentina were up against a very tough challenge. The Albiceleste, led by Australian coach Michael Cheika, was looking to make it into its first-ever Rugby World Cup final after a hard-fought win against Wales. However, the All Blacks showed why they’re a perennial favorite to lift the Webb Ellis Cup.
The Pumas started the game winning, when right wing Emiliano Boffelli scored from a penalty to take the lead. However, very quickly the All Blacks recovered, scoring their first try 10 minutes in, and nearly doubling that advantage six minutes later, with Richie Mo’unga missing one of the conversions.
Despite Argentina’s best efforts, New Zealand’s defense stood strong. Boffelli scored once again from a penalty to shrink the lead in minute 33, but four minutes later the All Blacks made it 15-6 from a penalty by Mo’unga. In the very next play, New Zealand recovered the ball quickly and scored its third try of the game. Mo’unga missed his second conversion of the game, but it was enough for the All Blacks to wrap up the first half with a comfortable 20-6 lead.
The second half would be much the same story. A missed catch by the Pumas from the kick-off allowed New Zealand to score another try within the first two minutes, and just six minutes later a well-constructed play allowed Shannon Frizell to score the fifth try in the 48th minute to make it 34-6.
In the 61st minute, the All Blacks forced a line out and built their sixth try to make it 39-6, with Mo’unga missing his third conversion of the game. Four minutes later, a yellow card to Scott Barrett allowed the Pumas more room, with New Zealand limited to 14 men on the pitch, but to no avail. A kick counter attack by the All Blacks led to wing Will Jordan scoring his third try of the game, widening the lead to 44-6, with another miss by Mo’unga.
‘Let it sting when it has to’
Despite the Pumas’ best efforts, that was the final result, sending the All Blacks to their fifth World Cup final.
“I want to thank all the Argentine fans who supported us,” said Pumas captain Julián Montoya. “I’m sad, very frustrated, this wasn’t the match we were aiming for. They are a great team and they took advantage of every opportunity to score.”
“It hurts a lot but there is one more week to go for this group,” he added. “You have to look at yourself in the mirror, let it sting when it has to, and move on. We still have something to fight for and we are going to play for a medal.”
Argentina will play for the bronze medal in the third place game against the loser of the remaining semifinal on October 27.