New Zealand defy Ireland’s comeback to win epic Rugby World Cup quarter-final
The Rugby World Cup is quickly approaching its end with only three games left to be played before one of the remaining four teams is crowned world champions. Argentina, New Zealand, England and South Africa are the last four teams remaining in the competition and will compete in this weekend’s semi-finals for a place in the tournament’s showpiece.
First up is Argentina versus New Zealand. The Pumas reached the semi-finals after beating Wales quite comfortably 29-17 in the quarter-finals, while the All Blacks saw off Ireland, narrowly edging out the world No.1s 28-24. The teams will now face each other on Friday evening and their starting lineup will be announced later in the day.
On Saturday England will face reigning world champions South Africa in what should be an exciting duel. Steve Borthwick’s side had a relatively comfortable route to the semi-finals, but if they want to lift the trophy for the first time in 20 years they will hope to continue their strong form. Their quarter-final win over Fiji was their strongest performance of the tournament so far, but they will need to improve again against the Springboks.
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Rugby World Cup power rankings: evaluating the final four
After an exciting quarter-final weekend in France, the final four players for the Rugby World Cup have been determined.
How do the four remaining nations fare in our power rankings? Here, The Independent evaluates the semi-finalists:
But the Pumas will be in contention against the All Blacks, a team they have beaten twice in the four-year cycle leading up to this tournament and who may have a few physical weaknesses that Argentina’s gainline winners can exploit.
Mike JonesOctober 18, 2023 6:00 p.m
Mark Tele’a returns as All Blacks make shock switch in semi-final
Mike JonesOctober 18, 2023 5:45 p.m
Argentina make a single change for New Zealand’s semi-final
Gonzalo Bertranou replaces Santiago Cubelli at scrum-half, with last week’s starting nine dropped entirely from the 23.
Mike JonesOctober 18, 2023 5:30 p.m
New Zealand selects the team to face Argentina
Head coach Ian Foster has set New Zealand’s matchday 23 for his team’s semi-final against Argentina on Friday. Left winger Mark Tele’a is back in Leicester Fainga’anuku’s starting line-up.
Sam Whitelock comes into the second row as a direct swap for Brodie Retallick, who moves to the bench where he is joined by substitute hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho, while Dane Coles leaves.
New Zealand XV: 15-Beauden Barrett, 14-Will Jordan, 13-Rieko Ioane, 12-Jordie Barrett, 11-Mark Tele’a, 10-Richie Mo’unga, 9-Aaron Smith; 1-Ethan de Groot, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-Samuel Whitelock, 5-Scott Barrett, 6-Shannon Frizell, 7-Sam Cane, 8-Ardie Savea
16-Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17-Tamaiti Williams, 18-Fletcher Newell, 19-Brodie Retallick, 20-Dalton Papali’i, 21-Finlay Christie 22-Damian McKenzie, 23-Anton Lienert-Brown
Mike JonesOctober 18, 2023 5:19 p.m
Argentina names the team that will face New Zealand
Argentina head coach Michael Cheika has brought in scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou for Tomás Cubelli. This is the only change from the team that beat Wales in the quarter-finals for Friday’s Rugby World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in Saint-Denis.
Argentina XV: 15-Juan Cruz Mallia, 14-Emiliano Boffelli, 13-Lucio Cinti, 12-Santiago Chocobares, 11-Mateo Carreras, 10-Santiago Carreras. 9-Gonzalo Bertranou, 1-Thomas Gallo, 2-Julián Montoya, 3-Francisco Gómez Kodela, 4-Guido Petti Pagadizabal, 5-Tomas Lavanini, 6-Juan Martin Gonzalez, 7-Marcos Kremer, 8-Facundo Isa.
16-Agustín Creevy, 17-Joel Sclavi, 18-Eduardo Bello, 19-Matias Alemanno, 20-Rodrigo Bruni, 21-Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22-Nicolas Sanchez, 23-Matías Moroni
Mike JonesOctober 18, 2023 5:15 p.m
Argentina’s coach is excited about the chance to face New Zealand
Argentina coach Michael Cheika will be delighted if his team reach the Rugby World Cup final in their semi-final against the All Blacks on Friday.
“We knew the first game would be a bit tough for us. We learned a lot because there were many first world champions there.
“They (his players) learned a lot from that game in terms of dealing with what is knockout football and what is not knockout football – every game since has been knockout.
“Even in the game against England we showed a lot of fight but we didn’t handle the situation well. We still gave plenty. We have to remember that there were nine shots in this game, we didn’t give up a shot.
“You have to look at your squad, the team you’re going to be playing against, the turnaround time and just try to plan everything so that it works, to add a little variety.”
Mike JonesOctober 18, 2023 4:55 p.m
Warren Gatland plans to lead Wales at the 2027 World Cup
After his side’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to Argentina on Saturday, Gatland placed his future in the hands of the Welsh Rugby Union.
The 60-year-old New Zealander pointed to a termination clause in his contract and said: “If the union wants to get rid of me, that’s up to them.”
But asked at a press conference on Wednesday whether he would stick through the next World Cup in Australia, Gatland said: “Absolutely. That is the plan.”
Mike JonesOctober 18, 2023 4:45 p.m
All Blacks are determined to take on the Pumas
Defense coach Scott McLeod said the All Blacks were determined to be fully prepared for their semi-final with the Pumas at the Stade de France.
“Last week I thought our level of detail, energy and focus was first class and gave the players the confidence to perform under pressure,” McLeod said. “In 2019 we didn’t do that well in our week before England and that’s not necessarily because of the competition but just the quality of what we put in that week.
“Our captain Kieran Read was unable to train and there were disruptions. So we have to make sure that we don’t have any disruptions like that and that we build the week with the quality and focus that we did last week. And we respect Argentina, they are a different beast to Ireland and we will build up the week slowly. We have to be enthusiastic about that, and that’s what we will do.”
Mike JonesOctober 18, 2023 4:35 p.m
Antoine Dupont criticizes the referee after France were eliminated from the Rugby World Cup
Mike JonesOctober 18, 2023 4:24 p.m
Johnny Sexton reflects on his career after Ireland’s devastating World Cup exit
Irish captain Johnny Sexton had tears in his eyes as he reflected on the “devastating” end to his illustrious career following the heartbreaking World Cup exit to New Zealand.
Andy Farrell’s Class of 2023 wanted to make history in Paris by becoming the first Irish team to reach the last four of the tournament.
But the world’s top-ranked team trailed for most of a thrilling contest before falling agonizingly short, and the quarter-final curse continued with a 28-24 defeat.
Mike JonesOctober 18, 2023 4:14 p.m