Australia vs. Argentina, Twickenham, England, Monday, October 26, 3.00am AEST
THE second Rugby World Cup semi-final pits the high-flying Argentinians vs. Australia – the nation most consider very lucky to still be in the tournament.
In one of the most famous games in World Cup history, Australia were awarded a late penalty against Scotland in the qualifier, which eventually won them the game. Most experts agree that the referee got the call wrong, but to the Wallabies’ credit, they put themselves in that position and came out ahead.
Argentina on the other hand were clinical against an Irish team which had a few big names missing. Argentina played an up-tempo style which didn’t play into Ireland’s hands, but facing Australia is a whole different kettle of fish.
Both teams like to play an attacking game so punters should see plenty of points and an exciting game at that. Bookmakers have Australia as the $1.38 favourites, but Argentina are the most improved team in the tournament and they’re out for the upset.
Argentina were outsiders against Ireland and again here against Australia. They are currently $3.05 with Sportsbet.com.au, which is a good value price in our books.
Australia vs. Argentina history and form
We’ll look at the form of the Australian Wallabies first as they are the unbeaten side.
Australia kicked off their World Cup with a 28-13 win over Fiji before they put away Uruguay for an easy win. Their biggest test came against England in what was considered the most important game in the 2015 World Cup, and it proved to be.
Australia’s energy and attacking flair was simply too much for England, winning 33-13 and sending the host nation packing.
It didn’t get much easier for Australia as Wales were next up on the radar. This game was much more defensively-minded as Australia came away with a tight 15-6 win.
We’ve talked about the win against Scotland, but why did the Scots come so close? A couple of charge down and intercept plays certainly didn’t help their cause, but Australia just weren’t firing on all cylinders.
They were missing the likes of David Pocock and Israel Folau, which does make a big difference in the forwards and backs, so we think they’ll come out with a better game plan for this game.
Last five Australian results:
Australia 28 – Fiji 13
Australia 65 – Uruguay 3
England 13 – Australia 33
Australia 15 – Wales 6
Australia 35 – Scotland 34
Argentina have had a very good tournament and they are unbeaten since losing to New Zealand in the opening game.
After their 26-16 loss to New Zealand, Argentina have looked very impressive with easy wins coming against their next four opponents.
They easily handled Georgia, Tonga and Namibia before taking on Ireland last weekend. Argentina got off to a hot start before Ireland kicked back after halftime, but Argentina were the much better team and they pulled away late to score a 43-20 win.
In the past Argentina have been a more defensive side, but they showed off their attacking attributes by spreading the ball wide with every chance they got.
Argentina last five matches:
New Zealand 26 – Argentina 16
Argentina 54 – Georgia 9
Argentina 45 – Tonga 16
Argentina 64 – Namibia 19
Ireland 20 – Argentina 43
Since Argentina joined the Rugby Championship, these two sides have played each other with more frequency.
They have played each other on 24 occasions with Argentina winning only five, but they were able to cause an upset last year in Mendoza where they beat the Australians 21-17.
History shows that Australia are the much superior side, but Argentina have improved significantly throughout this tournament and Australia should be worried.
Australia vs. Argentina first try scorer options
Plenty of good first try scorer options in this game, including Israel Folau who returns from a minor injury and should have an impact on this game.
For Argentina, Juan Imhoff looked menacing against the Irish and teammate Marcelo Bosch will also be a popular pick in the market at $23.
The forwards aren’t without a chance with David Pocock currently on the fifth-line of betting at $12 and fellow flanker Michael Hooper is at $19.
Argentina first try scorer selections:
Juan Imhoff – $12
Lucas Amorosino – $13
Santiago Cordero – $13
Joaquin Tuculet – $19
Marcelo Bosch – $23
Matias Moroni – $23
Martin Landaro – $26
Leonardo Senatore – $26
Facundo Isa – $26
Juan Martin Hernandez – $26
Thomas Cubelli – $26
Agustin Creevy – $34
Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe – $34
Nicolas Sanchez – $34
Pablo Matera – $34
Julian Montoya – $46
Tomas Lavanini – $51
Matias Alemanno – $56
Guido Petti – $67
Ramiro Herrera – $81
Marcos Ayerza – $81
Lucas Noguera Paz – $81
Juan Pablo Orlandi – $81
Australian first try scorer market:
Kurtley Beale – $9
Drew Mitchell – $9
Adam Ashley-Cooper – $9
Israel Folau – $10
David Pocock – $12
Tevita Kuridrani – $15
Matt Giteau – $19
Bernard Foley – $19 at CrownBet.com.au
Michael Hooper – $19
Matt Toomua – $19
Ben McCalman – $21
Nick Phipps – $23
Scott Fardy – $26
Will Genia – $26
Tatafu Polota-Nau – $26
Stephen Moore – $34
Dean Mumm – $34
Rob Simmons – $46
Kane Douglas – $46
Greg Holmes – $51
Scott Sio – $51
Sekope Kepu – $51
James Slipper – $51
Who we think will win
This is a tough game to pick as we’re slightly torn. On one hand, we think the $3.05 for Argentina head-to-head is very good money in what should be a closely-contested game, but on the other hand we think the points spread line of -6.5 for Australia represents good value.
It’s a good line compared to what Australia usually are against the likes of Argentina and punters expecting an Australian win probably should take the $1.91 on offer, but we’re greedy so we will happily take both Argentina head-to-head and +6.5 ($1.91) at Sportsbet.com.au.
Expect Argentina to come out firing like they did against Ireland, but the Australian defense should prove tougher to get past. This game could come down to kicking and whilst Bernard Foley kicked the final penalty to win the game against Scotland, he looked shaky throughout the game.
It’s upset time and the Argentinian’s can smell it.