RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015
Quarter Final 3
Sunday, 18 October 23:00
Ireland’s impressive 24-9 win over France came with a bitter pill to swallow as their inspirational captain Paul O’Connell tore his hamstring which ended his World Cup and his international career. It’s a sad way to go but strangely he is the third captain this tournament to do so in such a manner following injuries to Jean de Villiers and Jacques Burger. To add to the Irish woes, Peter O’Mahony has also been ruled out for the rest of the competition and back-row partner Sean O’Brien is banned for this contest for throwing a punch, while they remain hopeful that Johnny Sexton can recover from a groin injury in time for Sunday. As unfortunate as this situation is for Ireland it is confidence boosting for Argentina who now have a great chance of making the last four. Los Pumas were really impressive throughout the pool stage with only New Zealand (25) and South Africa (23) scoring more than their 22 tries.
Argentina have a W2-L1 record over the current Six Nations champions at World Cups with the latest success coming back in 2007 by 15 points when Ireland failed to qualify from the pool. However, the men in green have dominated the head-to-head since, prevailing in all five encounters with an average score line 29-14.
Under Schmidt, Ireland lost their first two games against Rugby Championship sides before going on to triumph in their next four, despite not scoring more than 29 points in any of them, which highlights their defensive capabilities. The Kiwi will be aiming to become the first Irish coach to lead the team to a World Cup semi-final. This is the second time they’ve come through a World Cup pool unscathed; they first managed it four years ago only to be scuppered 10-22 by Wales in the last eight. They’ve only managed to win half of their 10 matches against Tier 1 nations at World Cups since 2003 and two of those were against Italy.
Argentina have won just four of the last 12 matches against Six Nations opposition though the last four defeats were by less then 13 points. They seem to produce their best rugby at World Cups; winning five of their last seven against the same opposition with both defeats by less than a try’s difference.
The Rugby Championship sides have taken on European nations in knockout matches at the World Cup 10 times this century and, while they’ve won seven of them, four of the five victories since 2007 have been by fewer than 10 points.
Given the situation we suspect this to be close – this is the closest of the quarter-finals on starting odds. Injuries and suspensions to key players are likely to have an impact but Ireland were able to defeat France 15-3 in that second half without them. They’ve only conceded two tries all tournament and we expect their impressive defence to help them get over the line again here.
- Ireland have won four out of six against Rugby Championship sides under Schmidt
- Argentina won the last time these two met at a World Cup but have lost the five matches since
- Argentina have won five of their last seven against Six Nations opposition at World Cups