Argentina v England - Teams and Prediction
BRONZE FINAL PREVIEW: Argentina and England will be out to finish their tournament on a high note when they take on each other in the World Cup bronze final on Friday.
Following their heartbreaking defeats to South Africa and New Zealand in the semifinals, Argentina and England had a week to pick themselves up and prepare for the penultimate match of World Cup 2023.
Most fans will view the match as a dead rubber. However, for the two teams, it is an opportunity to conclude the tournament with at least a bronze medal around their necks.
Argentina have had a very disappointing World Cup campaign. They were stunned in their opening game by England and eventually got knocked out of the tournament with a humiliating 6-44 defeat to New Zealand in the semifinals.
Los Pumas coach Michael Cheika, whose future is uncertain, admitted that Friday’s fixture is of utmost importance.
“Winning the bronze medal is very important,” Cheika said.
“It’s a World Cup and it’s a nice experience for everyone in the group and finishing as high as we can was always the goal.”
Cheika revealed his matchday squad, with 19 survivors from the 23 who lost to England in the opening round, and having reviewed the opening defeat he knows what to expect from Steve Borthwick’s men.
“We analysed the England match,” Cheika said, adding: “We expect them to play a more open game, with [Marcus] Smith at No.15, hooker [Theo] Dan who is a good player with the ball in hand.
“We need to be ready for the kicking game and a lot of running.”
England head into Friday’s fixture in a very contrasting predicament.
They were a few minutes away from beating defending champions South Africa on Saturday and will want to sign off from a tournament that has exceeded expectations with one more win – and give the likes of Dan Cole, Danny Care and Ben Youngs one last World Cup hurrah.
While Borthwick’s goal is very simple, the coach knows it will be extremely complicated to overcome Los Pumas again.
“It’s very simple, we want to win on Friday against a very good Argentina side,” Borthwick said.
“This squad has built and progressed through the tournament and we want to continue that progression.”
“All the players want to produce a top-quality performance every time they go onto the pitch.
“A couple of players are not going to be with the England team going forward and have come out publicly and said that.
“This is our last game as a team for a period, and we want to make sure it is a performance that is fitting for what we have started to build and progress over these last few weeks.”
He added that Argentinians have progressed since their meeting in the pool stages.
“You see a change in both teams, they have both developed over a number of weeks,” Borthwick said.
“Argentina in particular have developed a very long kicking game. They have used that to great effect, particularly in the quarterfinal where they kicked the ball from one end of the field to the other to force the opposition into errors.
“They have developed phase attack game.
“Both teams have played more games together so I think it is a different contest to the one that was played in game one.”
Players to watch:
For Argentina: Argentina head coach Cheika has made three changes to his starting XV from last week’s loss to New Zealand. There is one change in the pack with Pedro Rubiolo replacing Tomas Lavanini in the second row. Meanwhile, in the backline, Tomás Cubelli comes in for Gonzalo Bertranou at scrumhalf. The other change is in the midfield where Jeronimo de la Fuente takes over from Santiago Chocobares at inside centre. Marcos Kremer has been incredible for the Los Pumas. The back row has started every match at RWC 2023 and has played the most minutes of any player at RWC 2023 (451). The match will also be a significant moment for hooker Agustin Creevy and flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez, who will play their final game for Argentina.
For England: Steve Borthwick has made five changes to his forward pack and three in the backs to his starting XV. A lot of eyes will be on flank Tom Curry will earn his 50th test cap for England. He has started in 48 of his 49 career tests, earning just one cap off the bench against Georgia in 2020. Ben Youngs earns his first start at RWC 2023 after playing 53 minutes in total off the bench across two appearances. This will be the first time since the 2021 Six Nations against Scotland that England have started Youngs and Owen Farrell alongside each other in the halves. The new front row comprising Ellis Genge, Theo Dan and Will Stuart, will have their work cut out for them.
Head to head
- This will be the first time they have met outside of the pool rounds, and the first time they have played each other twice at the same tournament.
- England have never conceded a first-half try against Argentina at the Rugby World Cup, conceding on average just three points per game in the opening 40 minutes of their past four meetings.
- Argentina have scored 45 percent of their Rugby World Cup points against England from penalty goals, crossing the opposition try-line on just four occasions.
- Argentina have never scored more than 18 points in a Rugby World Cup game against England, one of six different opponents they have never posted this total against.
- Conversely, Los Pumas are one of eight teams that England have never conceded 20 or more points to in a RWC match.
@rugby365com: England by five points
Argentina: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Lucio Cinti, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Pedro Rubiolo, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Thomas Gallo.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Joel Sclavi, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Rodrigo Bruno, 21 Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22 Nicholas Sanchez, 23 Matias Moroni.
England: 15 Marcus Smith, 14 Freddie Steward, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Henry Arundell, 10 Owen Farrell (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Ben Earl, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Tom Curry, 5 Ollie Chessum, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Theo Dan, 1 Ellis Genge
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Bevan Rodd, 18 Dan Cole, 19 David Ribbans, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 George Ford, 23 Ollie Lawrence
Date: Friday, October 27
Venue: Stade de France, Saint-Denis
Kick-off: 21.00 (19.00 GMT: 20.00 UK & Ireland time, 16.00 ART)
Expected weather: Rain showers. A high of 16°C and a low of 11°C
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Nika Amashukeli (England), Andrew Brace (Ireland)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
*Additional source: World Rugby