Argentina will need something special to compete with Wales – Michael Cheika

Michael Cheika before England v Argentina match at 2023 Rugby World Cup Michael Cheika has made two changes to his Pumas side for the quarter-final against Wales (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Argentina head coach Michael Cheika believes the Pumas will need “something different” and “something special” in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Wales.

Wales sailed through their group, winning four games and collecting 19 points from a possible 20.

Argentina, meanwhile, lost to 14-man England, struggled past Samoa and then had to beat Japan in an eliminator to make the last eight.

It has led to Wales – they have lost only two of their last 11 Tests against Argentina – being installed as firm favourites for the Stade Velodrome showdown in Marseille.

“We know Wales are favourites, and that is pretty clearly obvious. Everyone has made that point to us, bar our Argentine supporters,” Cheika said.

“We know that we are going to have to do something different, something special around the game on Saturday so that we can be competitive with them.

“But I am a huge believer in the team, in our team. I love the fellas, they are always together, they are a very committed team and I know that they will really enjoy this occasion.

“They have felt a bit of that expectation of trying to make it through, and I think they will really enjoy Saturday. From the work we’ve done I feel like they will feel like they are ready.

“It is not as much the confidence from what we are seeing in camp here, it’s about understanding the body of work that has been going on for a year-and-a-half now, coming on two years, since I have been with the team.

“All those things we have been working on in that time that will give us that feeling of being ready for a game.”

Cheika has made two changes from the side that secured a quarter-final place by beating Japan in Nantes last weekend.

Scrum-half Thomas Cubelli replaces Gonzalo Bertranou, while Facundo Isa is chosen in the back-row instead of Pablo Matera, who suffered a tournament-ending hamstring injury during the Japan game.

Cubelli has played just 110 minutes of Test rugby this year, starting against Spain and Chile.

Argentina team to face Wales in Rugby World Cup Quarter-Final

Forwards: 1 Thomas Gallo, 2 Julian 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 Tomas Cubelli, 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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