Argentina secures first semifinal spot
MATCH REPORT: An intercept try by Los Pumas legend Nicolas Sanchez secured a semifinal berth for Argentina as his side beat Wales 29-17 in the quarterfinal of the World Cup in Marseilles on Saturday.
Wales crashed out of the World Cup as Argentina came from 0-10 down to win 29-17
Early on there were some worrying signs for Argentina as Wales made two quick breaks.
And then it was Argentina on the attack as they built some nice phases looking sharp and winning them a penalty.
They opted to go for goal, but Emiliano Boffelli missed.
Argentina was fielding the aerial attack well but their own high kicks were just forced down the throats of the Wales backs, who responded with sweeping attacks by their backs.
But it was Wales who was on the board first through a try by Dan Biggar after Aaron Wainwright went up the middle and managed to get the ball away.
After 15 minutes Wales was leading 7-0 and at this stage referee Jaco Peyper was injured and had to be replaced by Karl Dickson, a sad moment in his 50th Test.
At this stage Argentina was playing in their own half trying to plug the holes while Wales backed themselves to run at the men in blue and white at full throttle.
Mistakes were costing the Argentinians giving Biggar the opportunity to stretch their lead to 10-0 after 20 minutes of play.
Unless the Los Pumas got their discipline sorted out, it would become a long day for Michael Cheikas’ charges. Every time they tried to get some ascendancy, another penalty against them was forthcoming.
A great touch finder by Mateas Carreras saw Argentina with their first real opportunity to challenge for points.
Wales stood strong in defence but were penalised and with three minutes before the break, Los Pumas opted to get three points on the board.
Wales’ Josh Adams was lucky not to get a yellow bumping a player on the chest, but it gave Argentina a chance to close the gap a little to 6-10 just before halftime.
Argentina had so many opportunities but wayward passes, dropped balls and bad decisions saw them enter the tunnel at half-time.
The South Americans had a good start to the second half, edging closer to the Wales tryline with strong carries by men like Marcos Kremer. A penalty by Boffelli saw Wales leading by the slimmest of margins by 10-9.
A massive penalty goal by Boffelli in the 48th minute saw Argentina take the lead for the first time.
Argentina improved their kicking game in the second half, putting Wales under pressure, being more confrontational.
With the clock approaching an hour, Wales finally managed to edge closer to Los Pumas’ 22 metres and then Tomos Williams saw a gap as the pillar defender shifted, dotting down under the poles.
The conversion was good and Wales was back in front by 17-12.
A pivotal moment in the game happened after 65 minutes as Argentina set up camp metres from the Wales try-line and a line-out followed.
They drove with the forwards, Carreras almost got through. The forwards drove hard, winning a penalty and the pressure was mounting for Wales.
Wales’ defence was thoroughly stretched and at that moment Agustin Creevy made his way to the field as their captain and talisman Julian Montoya who hobbled off.
They were a couple of metres short but inched their way forward looking to get the equalizing score and then the big man Joel Sclavi drove over and it was impossible to stop him.
Boffelli converted and Argentina was in front again by 19-17 with 12 minutes to play.
Nicolas Sanchez entered the fray, an experienced man to close the game for his side.
With ten minutes to go there were only two points in it. Wales had eight minutes to save their World Cup.
Louis Rees Zammit almost had a try to take his team into the lead but a try-saving tackle kept him out.
The young guns of Wales threw everything at Argentina but the Los Pumas stood strong in defence.
Then that man Sanchez stepped up to the plate, intercepting and diving over to seal a semifinal berth for Argentina.
A penalty to Argentina a minute before fulltime was the final nail in the coffin for Wales.
Man of the Match: Emiliano Boffelli – although it was a 23-man effort by Argentina, Boffelli was the man that kept his side in the game with his four penalties and two conversions.
Tries: Sclavi, Sanchez
Cons: Boffelli 2, Sanchez
Pens: Boffelli 4
Tries: Biggar, T Williams
Argentina: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Lucio Clinti, 12 Santiago Chocobares, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Francisco Gomez, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Thomas Gallo.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Joel Sclavi, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Rodrigo Bruni, 21 Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22 Nicolas Sanchez, 23 Matias Moroni
Wales: 15 Liam Williams, 14 Louis Rees Zammit, 13 George North, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Tommy Reffell, 6 Jac Morgan, 5 Adam Beard, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Dewi Lake, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Dafydd Jenkins, 20 Christ Tshiunza, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Sam Costelow, 23 Rio Dyer
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson (England), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)