Argentina call on last year's win over New Zealand as semi-final inspiration

Gonzalo Bertranou kicks for Argentina against England in 2023 Rugby World Cup Gonzalo Bertranou starts at scrum-half for Argentina in their semi-final against the All Blacks (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Argentina have invoked their historic victory over New Zealand last year in their quest to pull off a seismic upset by winning Friday’s World Cup semi-final.

The Pumas prevailed 25-18 in Christchurch to topple the All Blacks for the first time and skipper Julian Montoya says that has instilled the belief that they can engineer a dramatic upset at the Stade de France.

“As soon as you get on the field you believe you can win. It’s true we have some firsts under our belts,” Montoya said.

“We were the first Argentina team to beat New Zealand and that confirms we can beat anyone.

“I have full confidence in our team and our players. This is the moment to play the best game of our lives and give everything.”

The All Blacks are known for their ability to conjure spectacular tries but Argentina head coach Michael Cheika insists they are also accomplished at the less glamorous parts of the game.

“New Zealand have always been an example in rugby, a benchmark. They make you think of high-level skills in a really open game but there are always threats in the line-out, mauls and rucks,” Cheika said.

“In a World Cup semi-final they are dangerous everywhere. We have been training as best we can, we will be ready. We’ll see what happens.”

Argentina have made one change to the side that defeated Wales 29-17 in the quarter-finals, bringing in Gonzalo Bertranou for Tomas Cubelli at scrum-half.

Matias Alemanno, Agustin Creevy, Facundo Isa, Tomas Lavanini, Nicolas Sanchez, Guido Petti and Montoya are the survivors from the Pumas’ last World Cup semi-final against Australia in 2015.

Argentina team to face New Zealand in Rugby World Cup Semi-Final

Forwards: 1 Thomas Gallo, 2 Julián Montoya (Captain), 3 Francisco Gómez Kodela, 4 Guido Petti Pagadizabal, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 7 Marcos Kremer, 8 Facundo Isa

Backs: 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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