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It doesn’t get much bigger than this! With a place in the 2023 Rugby World Cup Final up for grabs, it’s New Zealand vs Argentina in the first semi-final at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis on Friday evening.
Both of these teams come into this semi-final having won three and lost one in the pool stages ahead of close quarter-final triumphs last weekend. New Zealand conquered Ireland 28-24, in a match which had enough quality to be the final, with Argentina scoring late tries to get the better of Wales 29-17 in Marseilles. But only one of the teams can progress to next Saturday’s final, read on as we preview this exciting semi-final clash between New Zealand and Argentina.
New Zealand vs Argentina team lineups and news
This is not the time for experimenting or resting players and both teams have selected their strongest possible XV for this match.
Team news: New Zealand
After missing the quarter-final match with Ireland due to falling foul of team protocol, winger Mark Telea is expected to return to the team for the semi-final. We are also expecting to see Ian Foster find a place for Sam Whitelock as an option in the second row for this match with Brodie Retallick likely to drop out.
Team news: Argentina
The excitement, passion and commitment of the Argentina team was something to behold in their quarter final victory over Wales and we are anticipating a minimum of changes from coach Michael Cheika. Prioritising keeping as much of the feelgood factor in place as possible, the only expected change is Tomas Cubelli missing out at scrum-half with Gonzalo Bertranou replacing him.
New Zealand’s predicted lineup
1 Ethan de Groot, 2 Codie Taylor, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 4 Sam Whitelock, 5 Scott Barrett, 6 Shannon Frizell, 7 Sam Cane (c), 8 Ardie Savea, 9 Aaron Smith, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 11 Mark Telea, 12 Jordie Barrett, 13 Rieko Ioane, 14 Will Jordan, 15 Beauden Barrett,
Replacements: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell, Brodie Retallick, Dalton Papalii, Finlay Christie, Damian McKenzie, Anton Lienert-Brown.
Argentina’s predicted lineup
1 Thomas Gallo, 2 Julian Montoya (c), 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 4 Guido Petti, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 7 Marcos Kremer, 8 Facundo Isa, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 10 Santiago Carreras, 11 Mateo Carreras, 12 Santiago Chocobares, 13 Lucio Cinti, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 15 Juan Cruz Mallia
Replacements: Agustin Creevy, Joel Sclavi, Eduardo Bello, Matias Alemanno, Rodrigo Bruni, Lautaro Bazan Velez, Nicolas Sanchez, Matias Moroni.
New Zealand to be too strong?
Argentina have fallen at this semi-final hurdle in two of the last four Rugby World Cups and have never made it to the final. For the All-Blacks, this is familiar territory as they have only not made it to the semi-final stage in one of the previous nine World Cups and gone on to lift the trophy on three occasions.
New Zealand lead the head to head 33-2 but both of those Argentina victories have come over the last four years, including a 25-18 win in Christchurch back in August of last year.
Venue- Stade de France
Time- 20:00 GMT
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