On Saturday in Marseilles, Los Pumas are set to face off with the Dragons to reach the semifinals in this year’s World Cup tournament.
Both teams were plagued by injuries leading up to this weekend’s game, as Wales’ Taulupe Faletau and Argentina’s Pablo Matera were sidelined.
Wales took the top spot in Pool C with four victories out of four matches, while Argentina claimed second in Pool D by earning 14 points over four games, just four behind England in finishing position.
Wales will aim to reach their second Rugby World Cup semifinal since 1987 by reaching the semifinals twice, back then and again in 2019.
Argentina were expected to open up against England as winners; however, they fell short as George North’s Red Roses secured a 27-10 victory against them. Los Pumas then beat Samoa with their second-string side for their first tournament victory.
Argentina beat Chile before qualifying for the final eight by defeating Japan 39-27 last week, yet will find this match difficult given their 13-20 loss to Wales back in November last year and have only ever managed six wins out of 21 meetings against them (los Pumas won six, lost 14 and tied one).
Welsh victory against Georgia came at a significant cost, as Taulupe Faletau suffered a broken arm expected to keep him out for this World Cup.
Concerns have also been expressed over the fitness of fly-half Gareth Anscombe, who had to withdraw before Georgia’s match due to suffering a groin injury during warm-ups before kick-off.
Wales have several options available to them when it comes to filling their No. 10 shirt. They have decided to shift Aaron Wainwright down a number for Tommy Reffell’s debut as openside flanker.
Argentina have grown in stature as the World Cup has progressed and, after suffering only a narrow defeat against an underwhelming England side in their opening match, have looked increasingly impressive since.
Argentina were worthy winners after an intensely hard-fought matchup against Japan.
The winner of this match will face either Ireland or New Zealand in the semi-finals, and both teams will want to enter that challenging match full of confidence; there could be fireworks!
The Pumas have historically proven difficult to beat. Yet, recent performances suggest they do not possess enough strength in depth to challenge the Dragons when the going gets tough during second-half matches.
Considering Wales’ performance against Australia in their pool matches, an outright victory would probably not surprise. Win margins of five or 10 points wouldn’t be out of line given how dominantly Wales have performed so far in international matches.
Welsh injuries will likely balance each other out, leading us to trust Wales to cover a -3.5 points handicap. Wales 42 Argentina 25
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