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Rugby World Cup Semi-final: Record-breaking fifth final for the All Blacks

At the Stade de France, New Zealand defeated Argentina to advance to a record fifth Rugby World Cup final

After first-half tries by Jordan, Jordie Barrett, and Shannon Frizell, the three-time winners displayed disciplined defence and vicious attack. After the half, Aaron Smith added a fourth, and Jordan overtook Frizell as the top try scorer. In the final next week, the All Blacks will play South Africa or England. Argentina, in their third World Cup semifinal, had a lot of possession early on but was unable to break through the New Zealand defence. Before unleashing a devastating counterattack, the All Blacks soaked up the early pressure and limited Michael Cheika’s team to two penalties from Emiliano Boffelli.

Biggest Winning Margin in Semi-final

Late in the game, Richie Mo’unga gave the All Blacks the chance to surpass their own record for the largest winning margin in a World Cup semi-final. The fly-half chose to carry into contact himself, but Argentina overturned the ball. Jordan could have scored a fourth try with a simple pass, tying the score at 43 points with a conversion to come in the 1987 victory over Wales.

In the third-fourth place play-off, the Pumas will play the loser of the other semi-final in an attempt to tie their best-ever placing from the last time the competition was held in France in 2007. Next Saturday, when they return to the Stade de France, New Zealand may become the most successful country in World Cup history with a fourth title.

The Underdogs

August 2022 saw Argentina defeat New Zealand on the road for the first time, but in their last 37 encounters, they were vast favourites. Since losing to hosts France in the first game of the competition, the All Blacks have been playing at an incredible level, outscoring every other team in terms of points and tries. After losing their opening pool match against England, the Pumas also became better, and they got off to a strong start in Paris by trying to get through the phases quickly. They were second best at the breakdown and lacked a decisive attacking edge, even though Boffelli put them on the scoreboard. The forwards held tight and blasted gaps in the Argentina defence before Mo’unga sent the wide pass to the wing, allowing Jordan to score the first try out wide.

Argentina

Despite falling behind, Argentina persisted in their attack, but the All Blacks turned defence into attack by stealing the ball at the breakdown. The All Blacks overcame the slippery conditions in the rainy Paris to offload and keep the ball alive for Barrett to finish after a great break by Rieko Ioane. The Pumas’ already difficult task was made even more harder when Frizzell crossed in the corner, despite Boffelli’s reliable boot adding three more points from the tee. Victory appeared almost certain a minute after the break when the elusive Smith waltzed across for his fourth goal, stepping his opposing number Gonzalo Bertranou from the back of the maul.

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