Impressive Pumas Can Upset Aussies
The second Rugby World Cup semi-final on Sunday sees the conquerors of Ireland and Scotland line up for a place in next weekend’s final at Twickenham.
Australia came into this tournament having lost just once in 2015 and came through a tough Pool with flying colours, battling past Fiji, thrashing Uruguay, dumping England out of the competition and holding off a spirited Welsh resurgence. But they were made to work hard by Scotland in their quarter-final and sneaked into the last four thanks to a controversial late penalty.
Argentina came into the World Cup with some momentum following a solid Rugby Championship campaign and have been one of the most impressive sides in the tournament. They gave New Zealand a scare in their opener and beat Georgia, Tonga and Namibia to reach the last eight, where they took Ireland apart with a thrilling display to earn their second World Cup semi-final appearance.
Australian loose-head prop Scott Sio suffered a twisted arm in the quarter-final against Scotland and finished the night with his arm in a sling. It’s not clear if he’ll be fit for Sunday, but James Slipper is the most likely replacement. There’s better news about a couple of other important players. Loose forward David Pocock and Israel Folau, who both missed the last game, are expected to be fit.
After being banned for a week following a dangerous tackle in Argentina’s last Pool game against Namibia, Saracens centre Marcelo Bosch will be available for this match, but may have to start from the bench as Nicolas Sanchez and Juan Martin Hernandez formed such an impressive partnership in midfield against Ireland.
Since they first met in 1979, Australia have dominated the head-to-head record with Argentina, winning 18 of their 24 matches.
That dominance has been particularly strong in recent years. Four of Argentina’s five victories against the Wallabies came in the last century and since 2000, Australia have won ten of their eleven meetings.
The sole Argentina success amid that run of defeats came last October in Mendoza, when they overcame a 14-8 half-time deficit to win 21-17 and record their first ever victory in a Rugby Championship game.
Australia are the clear favourites in this game, but I think the market is underestimating Argentina’s chances. Their victory against Ireland was no fluke and even allowing for the absence of some key Irish stars, the way they sliced through the Irish line at will was impressive. This flair and precision, combined with their traditional forward strength makes the Pumas dangerous for any opponent, and they have the potential to cause Australia problems. In what should be a feast of running rugby, Argentina look good value to pull off a shock. Back them at 21/10 in the Match Betting market. And don’t forget, if you have a bet in the first tryscorer market, Boylesports will give you your money back as a free bet if the first try of the game is unconverted.
Back Argentina @ 21/10
*Price correct at time of publication