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Argentina 6-44 New Zealand: Rugby World Cup 2023 semi-final – as it happened


Key events

Match report

I’ll leave you with Rob Kitson’s match report from a 50-point thriller in Paris. Join us tomorrow to see if England can make the second semi-final a closer contest.

“Talk about a deflated semi-final after last weekend’s quarter-finals. What a shame that we ended up here – World Rugby really did screw this up.” It’s hard to disagree with Thomas Engblom’s assessment – let’s hope we see things done a bit differently in 2027.

“Unusually, I was actually pretty confident about Wales’ chances last week –but I was clearly wrong. Wales weren’t good enough, and Argentina deserve to be here. Seeing their limitations tonight, however, is frustrating,” writes Matt Dony.

“I could easily be watching Wales play the All Blacks instead. Which would be good in some ways, and hideous in others. Ah, the duality of sport.” Ireland fans, on the other hand, might feel better about getting so close to beating New Zealand last week. Then again, they might not.

Full time! Argentina 6-44 New Zealand

The kick falls short – and that’s that. It’s a sorry end to a one-sided contest, with Argentina running out of stream in the face of a near-flawless All Black performance. They advance to the final, and whoever they face, will be formidable opponents.

Jordie Barrett, Beauden Barrett and Will Jordan of New Zealand celebrate. Photograph: Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

82 mins: There is a slightly farcical passage of play as Lienert-Brown tries to kick through from a knock-on – and now an Argentina penalty, which they can kick to touch …

81 mins: New Zealand, somewhat surprisingly, decide to keep playing, but turn it back over …

80 mins: Argentina win the scrum and roll forward, but they have the whole length of the field to cover and eventually, a kick-through is gathered …

79 mins: New Zealand could still beat their own record for a semi-final win – they thrashed Wales 49-6 back in 1987 – but Mo’unga falls short with players available to his right. Time almost up …

77 mins: New Zealand aren’t going to send Scott Barrett back on, adding another layer of embarrassment to this second-half demolition job. Jordan is up to eight tries for the tournament now, two clear of Damian Penaud in the scoring charts.

76 mins: Mo’unga misses again, put off by a Kolbe-esque charge from Mateo Carreras. You’ve got to admire the effort.

TRY! Argentina 6-44 New Zealand (Jordan 74′)

It’s a hat-trick for Will Jordan, who goes coast-to-coast, racing through two tired tackles then lifting the ball over the final defender and chasing down his own kick to score. It’s almost cruel.

See ya: New Zealand's right wing Will Jordan runs on his way to scoring a try.
See ya: New Zealand’s right wing Will Jordan runs on his way to scoring a try. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images
New Zealand’s right wing Will Jordan scores his hatrick of tries.
New Zealand’s right wing Will Jordan scores his hatrick of tries. Photograph: Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images

72 mins: Christie makes ground before Damian McKenzie, always fun to watch, kicks through in vain. Argentina clear away, but the respite doesn’t last long …

70 mins: New Zealand getting some practice with 14 men, and Scott Barrett getting a rest. Like everything else tonight, the yellow card might actually work to the All Blacks’ advantage.

“DJ Otzi?” splutters Niall Mullen as the PA cranks into life again. “Is this a friendly?!”

68 mins: The final change for Argentina – Joel Sclavi on for Thomas Gallo – means both benches are emptied. MBMers rejoice! Finlay Christie, who is battling Cam Roigard for a place on the bench next Saturday, kicks clear to end another Pumas attack.

66 mins: Those Argentina changes: Nicolas Sanchez and Agustin Creevy (both likely making their World Cup farewells) replace Carreras and Montoya. Bruni is back on for Isa, and Matias Moroni replaces Juan Cruz Mallia at full-back.

New Zealand yellow card (Scott Barrett 65′)

The No 5 gets a yellow card, 10 minutes in the bin – and possibly, some ribbing from his siblings later – for that entirely needless transgression.

Scott Barrett of New Zealand is shown a yellow card by Referee Angus Gardner.
Scott Barrett of New Zealand is shown a yellow card by Referee Angus Gardner. Photograph: Michael Steele/World Rugby/Getty Images

65 mins: Dalton Papali’i comes on for Sam Cane, who has put in another terrific shift tonight. We are hearing from the TMO for the first time – he’s spotted a “cynical” slap-down of the ball from Scott Barrett.

64 mins: Argentina throw on several replacements, any hopes of a comeback now totally extinguished. Mo’unga skews the conversion side, but it doesn’t really matter.

TRY! Argentina 6-39 New Zealand (Jordan 62′)

The New Zealand changes just mean more pain for Argentina. Frizell’s tip-on allows Williams to advance and when they end up too narrow, Tele’a takes out a defender and Christie sweeps wide to McKenzie. Will Jordan is alongside him and dives in for his second try of the night.

Will Jordan of New Zealand scores his team's sixth try.
Will Jordan of New Zealand scores his team’s sixth try. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

60 mins: Whitelock gets a huge ovation as he heads off, as does Rieko Ioane. The replacements coming on are Brodie Retallick and Anton Lienert-Brown, which is a bit ridiculous, really.

59 mins: They retain the ball but are heading backwards – and when the ball does go in the other direction, it’s a knock-on. New Zealand have scored 22 points without reply, and they shut their opponents out again there.

57 mins: Those changes: Smith, Beauden Barrett, Tyrel Lomax and Ethan De Groot go off, replaced by Finlay Christie, Damian McKenzie, Fletcher Newell and Tamaiti Williams. Argentina, who will gain nothing from taking the three points, are going for the corner.

55 mins: Argentina get a rare opening through Mateo Carreras, who collects a crossfield pass and finds Juan Cruz Mallia. He is brought down by Ioane, but New Zealand are penalised. The All Blacks, now with one eye on the final, make four changes.

54 mins: Death by a thousand phases for Argentina – flawless at the breakdown, clean hands as the ball is worked backwards, over and over again before Jordie Barrett’s kick across to the right flank, where Will Jordan can’t collect it.

“It is incredible that this a semifinal game,” writes Jeff Sax. “No tension or atmosphere – what a letdown after the quarterfinals.” I think we all knew this game would have to go some to compare with the Ireland match – but it’s notable just how different this feels.

51 mins: Under pressure from Barrett, Santiago Carreras lets the high ball slip through his hands, and roars at the heavens in frustration. Frizell’s two tries are a little redemption, after he was shown a yellow card in last year’s defeat in Christchurch.

50 mins: Bertranou is replaced at scrum-half by Lautaro Bazan Velez, while Eduardo Bello comes in for Gomez Kodela in the front row. For New Zealand, Codie Taylor’s busy shift is over – he’s replaced by Samisoni Taukei’aho.

TRY! Argentina 6-32 New Zealand (Frizell 49′)

And there it is, after more than 15 phases, the black tide creeping forward without mercy. Despite a hefty tackle from Cinti on Barrett and some desperate defending on the line, Shannon Frizell is able to sneak over for his second try – and Mo’unga converts.

Shannon Frizell of New Zealand burrows over for the sixth try.
Shannon Frizell of New Zealand burrows over for the sixth try. Photograph: David Winter/Shutterstock

47 mins: Of course, if you make New Zealand look momentarily weak, they will come back at you even harder – and despite some dogged Argentina defending, a fifth try feels inevitable …

46 mins: Close! Isa almost unpicks the New Zealand pass with a handoff inside to Gonzalez – but the No 8 had just been pulled into touch.

44 mins: It’s been a near-flawless performance from New Zealand so far – Argentina haven’t hit top gear but they haven’t been allowed to. Beauden Barrett attempts an audacious running catch, and it just slips from his grasp.

TRY! Argentina 6-27 New Zealand (Smith 42′)

Er, no they can’t. The New Zealand scrum leaves the Pumas pack all at sea, allowing Aaron Smith to shuffle through, dummy one way, step the other and power over the line. Mo’unga adds the tricky conversion, salt in Argentina wounds.

Aaron Smith of New Zealand makes a break to score.
Aaron Smith of New Zealand makes a break to score. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
New Zealand's scrum-half Aaron Smith attempts breaks away and scores a try.
New Zealand’s scrum-half Aaron Smith attempts breaks away and scores a try. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Peep!

Here we go again. Can Argentina put the All Blacks under pressure early on? Matias Alemanno is on for the error-prone Tomas Lavinini at half time.

Half-time reading: Who will face (probably) New Zealand in the final next Saturday? Rob Kitson sets up England v South Africa …

Here’s Jordie Barrett crashing over for the second of New Zealand’s three first-half tries.

Half time! Argentina 6-20 New Zealand

The All Blacks have one foot in the final after an efficient, clinical first-half performance. Argentina have shown plenty of fight but errors have cost them, and New Zealand have more gears to go through if needed.

Argentina's Facundo Isa with a bloodied face
Tough first half for the Pumas. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

TRY! Argentina 6-20 New Zealand (Frizell 40′)

This is a hammer blow for Argentina, and their defence was found wanting here – Tele’a goes through a missed tackle, Ioane advances a good 10 metres without much resistance, and it’s worked via Mo’unga to Shannon Frizell to walk it in. Mo’unga’s conversion hits the upright.

Shannon Frizell of New Zealand scores his team's third try.
Shannon Frizell of New Zealand scores his team’s third try. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

40 mins: New Zealand boss the scrum and win a penalty, to nobody’s great surprise – and they want to add more points before taking a half-time breather.

39 mins: Cheika is heading for the tunnel as New Zealand prepare to put in at the scrum. If Argentina do turn this around, it’ll be the biggest second-half comeback in World Cup history – but they were 10 points down against Wales last week.

Argentina 6-15 New Zealand (Mo’unga pen 37′)

Richie Mo’unga goes for goal, stretching the lead back out to nine points with half-time approaching.

Richie Mo'unga kicks a penalty.
Richie Mo’unga kicks a penalty. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

36 mins: After great defensive work from Isa and Kremer, Montoya concedes a penalty at the breakdown. He’s not happy with Gardner, but Argentina simply have to stop this flow of penalties – that’s seven in this half.

35 mins: Oof! At the resumption, González is rightly penalised for a reckless challenge on Jordan in the air. He gets a stern warning from the referee, and New Zealand will have a chance to add to their lead before the break …

Argentina 6-12 New Zealand (Boffelli pen 35′)

Boffelli tucks the kick away, and the scoreboard looks a little brighter for Argentina now.

Emiliano Boffelli of Argentina kicks their side's second penalty.
Emiliano Boffelli of Argentina kicks their side’s second penalty. Photograph: Michael Steele/World Rugby/Getty Images

33 mins: Bertranou feeds the returning Isa, who gets over the gainline and tries to feed the ball back – but Jordie Barrett, lying offside, is in the way. Penalty advantage, but Montoya can’t find a way through at the line – and they settle for the kick.

32 mins: Argentina hustle into the opposing 22 for a sixth time – they really need to get something here …

30 mins: A cute diagonal kick along the ground from the Argentina No 10, Santiago Carreras, gets them some useful territory – but New Zealand handle the lineout and kick clear. Approaching 15 minutes without any scoring at all.

29 mins: Some of this in-game music is a bit strange – while the players set up for a scrum, “Supermassive Black Hole” blasts over the PA, turning the Stade de France into a mid-00s indie disco. In other news, Isa is able to return after his head injury assessment.

Argentina's blindside flanker Juan Martín Gonzalez (up, R) fights for the ball in a line-out.
Argentina’s blindside flanker Juan Martín Gonzalez (up, R) fights for the ball in a line-out. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

28 mins: After an exchange of kicks, Mo’unga beats Carreras in the air and lands on his feet – that was almost balletic – but Sam Cane then knocks the slippery ball on. The rain proving a real leveller, just as I predicted.

27 mins: After nine New Zealand phases, Jordan skips forward but Montoya is able to pounce and turn it over …

Here’s a look at Will Jordan’s sixth try of the World Cup. I think I might have scored from there*!

*I would drop the ball, 100%

24 mins: Scott Barrett – yes, he’s the brother of both Beauden and Jordie – gets called offside at the ruck. Argentina set up a lineout but then lose it, the ball tipped back to Aaron Smith …





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