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Argentina make single change for New Zealand semi-final

Michael Cheika has kept faith with 14 of the team that started in the quarter-final win over Wales

Harry Latham-Coyle
in Paris
Wednesday 18 October 2023 17:16 BST
Gonzalo Bertranou (passing ball) has been brought in to the Argentina side to face New Zealand
Gonzalo Bertranou (passing ball) has been brought in to the Argentina side to face New Zealand (Getty Images)

Michael Cheika has made only a single change to his starting Argentina side for the Rugby World Cup semi-final against New Zealand.

Gonzalo Bertranou replaces Santiago Cubelli at scrum half, with last week’s starting nine dropping out of the 23 entirely.

Otherwise, the rest of the matchday 23 is identical to that utilised in the quarter-final win over Wales in Marseille, with replacement hooker Agustin Creevy in line to become the oldest World Cup semi-finalist of all-time.

Creevy, who has signed for Sale Sharks after the demise of London Irish, will surpass the record of Victor Matfield if he comes off the bench - the hooker will be 38 years and 219 days old on matchday.

Centre Santiago Chocobares is fit to feature despite an early withdrawal against Wales after taking a knock to the head, with the back passing subsequent concussion tests.

Matías Alemanno, Creevy, Facundo Isa, Tomas Lavanini, Nicolás Sanchez, Guido Petti and captain Julián Montoya all featured in the Pumas’ last World Cup semi-final in 2015.

Argentina have only beaten the All Blacks twice in their history, but both of those victories came in the last three years.

Coach Cheika is confident his side can shock the three-time world champions.

“We know what a challenge New Zealand represent,” said Cheika, who is hoping to make a second World Cup final after guiding Australia to the showpiece game eight years ago. “The All Blacks have always been a benchmark in rugby. We are happy to be here and we know the challenges are getting harder and harder.

“When you look at the history, it’s not in our favour. But it is down to us to change that on Friday. We will be ready and when we get on the field, we will do what we do best.”

Argentina team to face New Zealand at the Stade de France (Friday 20 October, kick off 8pm BST)

1 Thomas Gallo, 2 Julián Montoya (captain), 3 Francisco Gómez Kodela; 4 Guido Petti, 5 Tomas Lavanini; 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 7 Marcos Kremer, 8 Facundo Isa; 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 10 Santiago Carreras; 11 Mateo Carreras, 12 Santiago Chocobares, 13 Lucio Cinti, 14 Emiliano Boffelli; 15 Juan Cruz Mallia

Replacements: 16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Joel Sclavi, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Rodrigo Bruni; 21 Lautaro Bazan Velez, 22 Nicolas Sanchez, 23 Matías Moroni.

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