By Noah Murray
With the 2023 Rugby World Cup concluding it’s first set of quarter finals, rugby fans were treated to two historic test matches. It was once again Southern Hemisphere dominance as Argentina and New Zealand came out the victors.
Wales 17-29 Argentina
In the first quarter final, Argentina held off a defiant Wales to secure a spot in the last four for the first time ever.
Wales started the game the stronger side with Dan Biggar going over the whitewash after quarter of an hour. Referee Jaco Peyper would suffer a suspected achilles injury and had to be replaced by assistant referee Karl Dickson.
Wales would add a penalty from Biggar to make it 10-0, before two Emiliano Boffelli penalties for Argentina would make it 10-6 heading into halftime.
At the half time interval, Wales looked the stronger and superior side.
Boffelli would continue his strong day from the tee with two more penalties giving Argentina the lead 12-10 around the 50 minute mark. Wales would respond quickly with a superb Tomos Williams try and Biggar conversion making it 17-12 Wales.
Argentina continued to battle and they were rewarded with a Joel Sclavi try on the 68 minute mark. They would add a try and penalty from substitute Nicholas Sanchez to secure a memorable 29-17 win. They will look forward to a matchup with New Zealand in the semi finals.
Ireland 24-28 New Zealand
Calling Ireland vs New Zealand a classic is perhaps an understatement. The clash that ensued between the two sides in the second quarter final of the 2023 RWC will live long in the memory.
Irish fans were once again left to pick up the pieces of another disappointing World Cup campaign. However, this loss will hurt more than all ever experienced before. This current Ireland side is greatest team the nation have produced and did not fulfill their world cup potential.
Ireland started the game on the back foot, being hit by penalties from Richie Mo’unga and Jordie Barrett. A Leicester Fainga’anuku try within the first 20 minutes raised concern within the Irish side.
The score line after the first quarter of the game didn’t flatter Ireland, putting them down 13-0.
Ireland would show some fight with a Johnny Sexton penalty followed by a superb individual effort try from Bundee Aki.
Unfortunately, New Zealand would extend their lead with an Ardie Savea try on 33 minutes, now leading 18-10.
Ireland would continue to fight, and following a yellow card for New Zealand’s Aaron Smith, Jamison Gibson-Park would get in for a try. Sexton would add the conversion to make it 17-18 heading into half-time.
Ireland once again were caught out by a well worked Will Jordan try after the interval. Once again, the All Blacks would make it a two score lead for New Zealand 25-17.
An uncharacteristic penalty miss by Sexton in the 58th minute was quickly rectified. Five minutes later, Ireland secured a penalty try and New Zealand received another yellow card for foul play.
A penalty by Jordie Barret heading into the 70th minute would give New Zealand a 28-24 lead. They proceeded to defend their four point advantage heading into the last stages.
Ireland would get over the try line in the 72nd minute, however a superb effort by Jordie Barrett to hold up Ronan Kelleher denied Ireland the try and this would prove to be Ireland’s best chance, as New Zealand would see the game out, winning 28-24. They will go on to face Argentina in the semi finals.