A few years ago, a World Cup semi-final against Argentina would have been merely a formality for the All Blacks.
The New Zealanders won a host of consecutive Tests against the South Americans and it did not look like this dream run would simply come to an end.
Until 14 November 2020 when Argentina beat the All Blacks 25 – 15 in Sydney.
Two years later in Christchurch they pulled an even bigger rabbit out of the hat when they caught the Kiwis off guard 25 – 18 on their home field.
Now, even though the All Blacks have just won a titanic quarter-final against Ireland with 28 – 24, they do not want to put the proverbial cart before the horses.
The two teams clash on Friday evening at the Stade de France in the first World Cup semi-final of the weekend. And Ian Foster expects a tough battle against the Argentines.
“You have never heard us say that we are the favorite team. We are all too aware of the fact that anything can happen in these games,” said the All Blacks coach.
He referred to the two recent defeats against the Pumas to underline his statement.
“We know what Argentina has done against us before and we do not believe that there is a favorite or outsider team for the game. They are at the same level as us and they came up with great performances to qualify for the semi-final.”
The match starts at 21:00 on Friday and it will be broadcast live on SuperSport.
All Blacks: Beauden Barrett (full back), Will Jordan (right wing), Rieko Ioane (outside centre), Jordie Barrett (inside centre), Mark Telea (left wing), Richie Mo’unga (fly-half), Aaron Smith (scrum-half), Ardie Savea (eighth man), Sam Cane (captain and flank), Shannon Frizell (flank), Sam Whitelock (lock), Scott Barrett (lock), Tyrel Lomax (prop), Codie Taylor (hooker) and Ethan de Groot (prop). Substitutes: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Tamaiti Williams, Fletcher Newell, Brodie Retallick, Dalton Papali’i, Finlay Christie, Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown.
Argentina: Juan Cruz Mallia (full back), Emiliano Boffelli (right wing), Lucio Cinti (outside centre), Santiago Chocobares (inside centre), Mateo Carreras (left wing), Santiago Carreras (fly-half), Gonzalo Bertranou (scrum-half), Facundo Isa (eighth man), Marcos Kremer (flank), Juan-Martin Gonzales (flank), Tomas Lavanini (lock), Guido Petti (lock), Francisco Gomez Kodela (prop), Julian Montoya (captain and hooker) and Thomas Gallo (prop). Substitutes: Agustin Creevy, Joel Sclavi, Eduardo Bello, Matias Alemanno, Rodrigo Bruni, Velez Bazan, Nicolas Sanchez and Matias Moroni.
- Results of the last ten matches between New Zealand and Argentina:
New Zealand 46 – 24 Argentina in Nelson
New Zealand 35 – 17 Argentina in Buenos Aires
New Zealand 20 – 16 Argentina in Buenos Aires
Argentina 25 – 15 New Zealand in Sydney
New Zealand 38 – 0 Argentina in Newcastle
New Zealand 39 – 0 Argentina in the Gold Coast
New Zealand 36 – 13 Argentina in Brisbane
Argentina 25 – 18 New Zealand in Christchurch
New Zealand 53 – 3 Argentina in Hamilton
New Zealand 41 – 12 Argentina in Mendoza.