Argentina make one change to their starting XV against New Zealand as scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou returns for mammoth Rugby World Cup semi-final
- Scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou returns to the Pumas in place of Tomas Cubelli
- Coach Michael Cheika has kept faith with the rest of the starting team and bench
- Argentina claimed a fantastic win over Wales in the quarter-final at Marseille
Argentina have made one change to their matchday squad for the World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in Paris on Friday as scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou returns to the side in place of Tomas Cubelli.
Coach Michael Cheika has kept faith with the rest of the starting team and bench that defeated Wales 29-17 in their quarter-final clash in Marseille, including another start for Santiago Carreras at fly-half.
The side will be captained by hooker Julian Montoya having won their last four games in a row since an opening defeat by England, a feat they have not achieved since the 2015 World Cup.
He makes up a front row that also includes props Thomas Gallo, who has beaten more defenders than any other forward in this year’s tournament, and Francisco Gomez Kodela.
Guido Petti and Tomas Lavanini are the lock pairing, while the powerful back row contains number eight Facundo Isa, earning a 50th cap, and flankers Juan Martin Gonzalez and Marcos Kremer.
Argentina have made one change to their matchday squad after defeating Wales 29-17, with Michael Cheika bringing in Gonzalo Bertranou
Juan Cruz Mallia is at fullback, Mateo Carreras and Emiliano Boffelli on the wings, and the centre-pairing contains Santiago Chocobares and Lucio Cinti.
‘New Zealand has always been an example in rugby, a benchmark,’ Cheika said.
‘They make you think of high-level skills in a really open game but there are always threats in the lineout, mauls and rucks.
‘Us playing in a semi-final is rare and we want to have no regrets.’
Veteran hooker Agustin Creevy, who has been involved in many a battle with the All Blacks down the years, is on the bench along with experienced flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez, who has scored the second-most points of any test player against New Zealand (151). Only Australiaâs Matt Burke has scored more (176).
Argentina are seeking a first World Cup final appearance from their third semi-final
Creevy will be aged 38 years and 219 days on Friday and become the oldest player to feature in a World Cup semi-final, surpassing South Africaâs Victor Matfield who was 38 years and 166 days against the All Blacks in 2015.
Argentina are seeking a first World Cup final appearance from their third semi-final but have won only two of their previous 36 tests against New Zealand, though those wins have come since 2020.
‘In a World Cup semi-final they are dangerous everywhere,’ Cheika said. ‘We have been training as best we can, we will be ready. We’ll see what happens.’
Argentina team: 15-Juan Cruz Mallia, 14-Emiliano Boffelli, 13-Lucio Cinti, 12-Santiago Chocobares, 11-Mateo Carreras, 10-Santiago Carreras, 9-Gonzalo Bertranou, 8-Facundo Isa, 7-Marcos Kremer, 6-Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5-Tomas Lavanini, 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 Bruni, 21-Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22-Nicolas Sanchez, 23-Matias Moroni.
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