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After five rounds of enthralling and exhilarating pool play safely contributed to the record books, it is finally time to commence the Rugby World Cup knockout stages. The reason almost every fan watches and almost every team competes, the chance to advance to a Rugby World Cup Final and maybe am even bigger prize after that, is up for grabs for one of our eight lucky teams.
Our first clash takes us to the Stade de Marseille for a cataclysmic Six Nations vs Rugby Championship matchup which appears impossible to call.
Wales vs Argentina match predictions
Wales have massively overachieved at this Rugby World Cup, topping their group with four wins from four. On the other hand, Argentina have disappointed and looked slightly undercooked at times but recovered well from a crushing loss to England in the opening round to sweep aside Samoa and Japan and book a place in the last eight.
Argentina to win with a + 4.5 handicap @ 10/11 (1.90)
It is pretty unheard of for a team to show very little promise in the group stages of a Rugby World Cup and then transform their form and fortunes in the knockout stage and it is hard to see Argentina doing it.
Meanwhile, Wales look water-tight. They aren’t perfect by any means but they make little errors, concede little points and their conversion rate when they enter the opposition is excellent.
With all that being said, Wales aren’t a team who often blow away their opposition, not ever and especially not recently and so a tense and passionate affair will end with Wales winning by 1-4 points.
Jac Morgan to score the first try @ 16/1 (17.0)
Wales’ newest captain has simply been inspirational at Rugby World Cup 2023. He has been Wales’ star man, king of the match-defining play and Jac of all trades (see what I did there).
If it isn’t scoring a try versus Australia and Portugal, it’s topping the tackle, dominant carry, metres in contact and carry stats and if it isn’t that then it is kicking a 50/22 from inside his own 22 after stealing Australia’s lineout to completely shift the momentum and result.
Morgan has forged himself, unexpectedly, as somewhat of a prolific try scorer in a Wales shirt, with six in his fourteen caps, however, regardless of that fact, it just feels inevitable that he will score, he so often picks the Wales team up and puts them on his back that him having a big hand in the first try is set in stone.
Wales vs Argentina match preview
Funnily enough, both teams have been to two Rugby World Cup semi-finals in their history, with neither progressing to the final. Two nations with eerily similar fortunes at Rugby World Cups will meet tomorrow for the chance to separate themselves from the other in the history books and, more importantly, find themselves in the final four in Rugby World Cup 2023 and one step from the final.
The second-coming of Wales’ most successful ever coach, Warren Gatland has proved a stroke of genius far quicker than anyone could have expected. After back-to-back fifth-place finishes in the Six Nations and one of their worse runs of form, a World Cup quarter-final seemed like a pipe-dream.
Gatland has his team playing like the glory days, like they did in their historic Rugby World Cup semi-final runs in 2011 and 2019 and their numerous Six Nations titles, the signature slow, calculated, gritty, determined style of rugby labelled, Warren-ball, and encapsulated by the likes of Dan Biggar and George North.
You could say that if they went out now, the tournament would still be regarded as a success, even though they should beat Argentina but just the thought of them being in the final four is sensational, a nation down and out, now, right in the mix.
Michael Cheika’s men are extremely Michael Cheika-like. They are passionate and fun but inconsistent and unpredictable, when they run hot they look unbeatable and when they run cold they look useless and desperate. They have showed glimpses of being worthy of a place in the final four, against Japan and Chile but more of the time they have showed unworthy of being in the final eight, unable to put together an eighty minute performance.
We do know they can be untouchable when they put it together though and Wales will know their World Cup could hang on a potential moment of brilliance. They have the foundations and they certainly have the personnel, the likes of Montoya, Kremer, Petti, Matera, Carrerras and Boffelli are proven game winners and help form what is definitely a better team, on paper, than Wales.
As the old adage goes, usely attributed to France, which Argentina team will show up?
Wales vs Argentina match details
- Date and Time: Saturday 14th October, 16:00 GMT
- Stade de Marseille, Marseille
- How to Watch: See Here
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