Unsurprisingly, the Pumas of Argentina clearly beat, with the offensive bonus, their Chilean neighbor 59-5 in Nantes on Saturday September 30 in Pool D of the Rugby World Cup and offered themselves an exciting Japan-Argentina on October 8 for a place in the quarter-finals.
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Argentinians and Japanese, who both have nine points on the clock, have had a similar journey during this Rugby World Cup: big defeat against England, difficult victory without bonus against Samoa and easy success with bonus against Chile .
The two teams will therefore compete at the Beaujoire stadium in a duel which promises to be closer than expected while the Argentinians were favored by the predictions at the start of the competition. The winner of this match could face Wales in the quarters.
The Argentinians, although they won by a large margin, did not remove all doubts about their true potential in this competition, sometimes showing themselves to be messy and clumsy despite a clear physical domination. Indeed, at half-time, they easily led (24-0) but had not scored the offensive bonus point against the weakest team in the group.
By entering the field alone, No.10 Nicolas Sanchez celebrated his 100th selection, becoming with hooker Agustin Creevy the second “centurion” of Argentine rugby. His good performance and his reliability at the foot should relaunch the debate on whether he or Santiago Carreras should be the starting opener for the “Celeste y blanco”.
In a very beautiful and warm atmosphere punctuated by numerous chants from supporters, Argentinians and Chileans quickly launched into battle. But like their back Iñaki Ayarza, who chained forward receptions, the Chileans seemed taken by the stakes of this unprecedented meeting in the World Cup.
The Pumas were superior in the ground game and scored two tries following penalties (Gonzalez, 16th and Creevy, 23rd), while Sanchez celebrated his 100th selection by scoring a try after a great personal exploit (9th ). He also took advantage of the match to become the best scorer in Pumas history at the World Cup with 139 points on the clock.
It was finally in the 46th minute that the Pumas won their offensive bonus after a major move, concluded in fine style by full-back Martin Bogado.
Throughout the second act, the Chileans offered great resistance, spending themselves tirelessly in defense, but the Argentines were clearly superior and the attempts continued. The Chileans, however, managed to save honor and not remain “fanny” like against England (71-0), by scoring a try on a carried ball (73rd).
Argentina’s Australian coach Michael Cheika rotated widely for this encounter, with eleven new players compared to the starters against Samoa, forming an experienced team. Some were able to show great things, notably Facundo Isa, who has lost none of his power with the ball in hand or winger Juan Imhoff who still has great legs at 35 years old.
The Chilean players, for their first participation in a World Cup and who attracted many supporters of their country, were not unworthy during this competition as they finished with a largely deficit goal average (-188).