Tries from Joel Sclavi and Nicolas Sanchez, as well as 16 points from Emiliano Boffelli for Argentina, secured their place in the semi-finals of the 2023 Rugby World Cup with a 29-17 win over Wales.
Wales crashed out of the Rugby World Cup after Emiliano Boffelli inspired an Argentina fightback that saw them win a thrilling spectacle 29-17 at Stade Vélodrome. Warren Gatland’s team had high hopes of reaching a third World Cup semi-final in the last four tournaments, but Argentina ripped up the form book after struggling to qualify from their pool.
Wales led 10-0 through a Dan Biggar try, conversion and penalty, only for Boffelli to wipe out that deficit with four penalties during a damaging spell either side of half-time.The scrum-half Tomos Williams’s try, again converted by Biggar, put Wales back in front. But the Pumas prop Joel Sclavi touched down and replacement fly-half Nicolás Sánchez claimed an interception try during the closing seconds. Boffelli converted both and then Sánchez booted a last-minute penalty.
it all rubbed salt into a gaping Welsh wound, although the Pumas were fortunate to see lock Guido Petti avoid sanction for a shoulder-led hit on the Wales centre Nick Tompkins 16 minutes from time.
The referee, Karl Dickson, who had taken over from an injured Jaco Peyper early on, awarded no card following television match official consultation, and Wales’s players looked perplexed. The Wales defeat meant the end of Biggar’s international career, having announced in August that he would retire from the Test arena post-World Cup.
Argentina had laboured to qualify from their group, but they made a bright start in perfect conditions by stretching Wales’s defence. Boffelli, though, missed a 30-metre penalty chance and Wales responded through some fluency of their own and a determination to free prolific try-scorer Louis Rees-Zammit in space.
Wales broke the deadlock after 14 minutes when centre George North, playing in a Welsh record fourth World Cup quarter-final, made initial headway before Biggar crossed between the posts and converted his own try.
Peyper then left the action, appearing to suffer a calf muscle injury, with Dickson taking the whistle. There were also problems with Wales’s shirts, as several players saw numbers peel off the back, before Biggar restored a degree of calm with a long-range penalty that made it 10–0.
Anxiety had rippled through Welsh ranks when Biggar went down clutching his chest after tackling Santiago Chocobares, but he quickly resumed following treatment.
Wales’ problem area was the lineout, losing two on their own throw inside the opening 25 minutes, but Argentina could not take advantage with the Pumas making little headway following an impressive start.
Biggar then missed a penalty, but Boffelli was more accurate with successive kicks as the first half ended with Argentina on the attack and growing in confidence until an overtime brawl broke out with the Pumas just 10-6 behind.
Prior to Boffelli’s second successful strike, the Wales wing Josh Adams was fortunate to avoid a yellow card for pushing over an Argentina player off the ball, and a half-time substitution saw hooker Dewi Lake replace Ryan Elias.