New Zealand are just 80 minutes away from writing the next chapter in their storied rugby history. No country has ever won four Rugby World Cup titles before and, handily, they have an extra day to recover before the final next Saturday. Whoever they end up playing for the All Blacks will have to pause for a bit.
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Argentina, of course, had no answer: they missed seven tries and ended up finishing in second place. Even when not at their best, the Kiwis’ ability to hold the scoreboard allows them to dictate terms, and their midfielder Richie Mo’unga remains the competition’s best orchestrator.
They also have the lethal Will Jordan, whose three tries saw him leapfrog Frenchman Damian Penaud to become the tournament’s top scorer. Jordan, who now has a record eight tries, will be the first to pay tribute to an All Black team that makes the tough yards, but New Zealand’s hallmark remains their ability to take a higher percentage of their chances than most others.
Referee Controversy Shadows All Blacks Rugby Semi-Final Triumph
It didn’t hurt that Australian referee Angus Gardner made almost every decision in the first half against the Pumas, to the point where they seemed almost resigned to their fate. Refereeing is hard work, but again, here was an English-speaking referee who seemed to be on a completely different wavelength than the Latin American side. Although New Zealand would have benefited either way, this situation is still in dire need of a solution.
The lopsided nature of this semi-final didn’t look good either. The All Blacks may have reached their fifth Rugby World Cup final, but it wasn’t as exciting as it could have been. The result of the knockout was impossible to plan, but it was impossible to hide the thousands of conspicuously absent friends from Ireland.
Among the black-shirted New Zealanders and the blue-and-white-hooped Argentines, there were a few bright splashes of green trying to put a brave face on a zombie-free reality. A semi-final involving Ireland and Wales would truly be an event.
However, the pumas were not at all bothered by the brooding Celts. They deliberately lingered in a cheeky line for a few moments after the end of the hack and then started brightly, moving the ball deftly to secure an early penalty from Emiliano Boffelli. It wasn’t exactly what New Zealand expected.
On a rainy evening, when the surface was greasy and the ball slippery, the more obvious solution was to look into the air. The All Blacks batted too long at first but soon found their range and began to pile on the pressure. A series of lineout runs widened the Pumas’ cover and a deft pass left the increasingly prolific Jordan untouched on the right flank.
Rugby World Cup – Jordie Barrett Shines as New Zealand Extends Their Lead
If this seemed ominous for Argentina, worse was yet to come. New Zealand kept the ball smartly again and this time Jordie Barrett raced past three defenders to score. Mo’unga’s conversion was a long way off, but the number 10 was undoubtedly among the best players of the tournament.
It helped to have some turnover ball to work with. New Zealand knew the crisis would be a key moment and attacked it decisively, with some success. The Cougars responded with a lineout but received absolutely no joy or help from the useless Gardner. Argentina captain Julián Montoya lives and plays in Leicester, but even a few words of Spanish wouldn’t hurt. Rugby fans can book Rugby World Cup Tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.
However, the Pumas pressed on and the All Blacks were lucky to avoid a yellow card for killing the ball on their line. Boffelli did score three more points to make it 12-6, but Mo’unga did the same at the other end of the pitch as an increasingly irritated Montoya was penalized for being tripped.
For a while, the one-way whistling became almost a farce. Argentina could seemingly do nothing right and almost every minor decision went against them. This proved doubly costly when New Zealand were allowed back into the opposition’s 22 in stoppage time at the break. Mark Telea made a good hit down the middle and Shannon Frizell sauntered over to claim his side’s third try.
Aaron Smith’s Early Second-Half Try Cements New Zealand’s Dominance
With the score 20-6 at the break, the last thing Argentina needed was to concede another score immediately and Aaron Smith rushed forward to register a try in an increasingly fine individual tournament. From then on it was just a matter of how many times New Zealand slowly turned the screw.
Jordan, whose pace is matched only by his sense of anticipation, has a knack for being in the right place at the right time and did it twice more with a minimum of fuss. Frizell, quickly becoming a vital cog in the All Black wheel, helped himself to a second and even after Scott Barrett was sent to the bin for a deliberate knockdown, there was no sense that Argentina could potentially respond.
Not only were New Zealand able to remove many of their frontline players in the build-up to the final, but they even decided to finish the game with 14 men after Barrett’s sin bin expired. Argentina’s reward, if that’s the right word, will be a place in the third-place playoff next Friday. All Blacks? Having lost in the semi-finals to England four years ago, they now have a chance to make up for lost time.
Rugby World Cup – Seven-try New Zealand overwhelm Argentina to reach final
New Zealand will have a chance to win a record fourth Rugby World Cup after thrashing Argentina in seven tries at the Stade de France to secure a place in next Saturday’s final. Los Pumas took the lead with an early penalty from Emiliano Boffelli, but two tries in five minutes from Will Jordan and Jordie Barrett gave the All Blacks the lead.
Shannon Frizell’s third with the final play of the half and Aaron Smith’s individual tally early in the second period further extended their lead. Frizell scored his second and Jordan scored a hat-trick to level Jonah Lomu (1999), Brian Habana (2007) and Julian Savea (2015) for a record eighth try in a single Rugby World Cup and seal the All Blacks’ place. in a record fifth final.
“Jordie Barrett put in a huge defensive effort to be named Mastercard Man of the Match. That’s so sweet, he said. These are special times. I thought our forwards did an outstanding job, New Zealand captain Sam Cane said. Standard, they say, won a few penalties, dominated a little, and that put a lot of pressure on the Argentines.”
Argentina captain Julián Montoya admitted his side were in second place: “Amazing team, they were much better today but we could have been better; standard, too many mistakes… they score at every opportunity, so we need to look inside each other.
“Today we are far from the level we wanted to show. I’m upset and very disappointed about this.”
Ian Foster Acknowledges Argentina’s Early Challenge at Rugby World Cup
However, New Zealand boss Ian Foster paid tribute to Argentina: They threw a lot at us early in the game. We held back a little defensively but kept our cool, stayed in control and when we won the ball we were able to punish them. Three or four minutes before the break were very important, these eight points gave us a buffer.
New Zealand return to the Stade de France next Saturday to play either South Africa or the 2019 All Blacks winning team in the final four, England. Four years ago we didn’t get past the semi-finals, Barrett said. It’s not done yet.
Argentina head coach Michael Cheika also wants his team to reach a high level: We want to come home with a medal. So next week [the bronze final] is very important for us. We’re going to have to get through this evening because we really believed that we could go there and do something and it would hurt.
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