Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika took Argentina to the Rugby World Cup semi-finals with a stunning 29-17 win over Wales – and reminded the Wallabies what they were missing.
Los Pumas came into the match as underdogs and were 10-0 down at one point, but a strong second half saw them claim victory and book a semi-final next week against New Zealand .
Cheika’s team became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals in Paris and the 56-year-old Australian who took the Wallabies to the final in 2015 was very proud of the achievement.
“Pretty happy, I guess.” These players are very good people, without being too emotional,” Cheika said.
“They worked really hard and I think that hard work showed at the end of the game today. They wanted to fight for it, they wanted to win it.
Michael Cheika has fired Argentina into the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.
Cheika’s side came from behind to beat Wales 29-17 in Marseille
Watch every World Cup match ad-free, live and on-demand in 4K UHD on Stan Sports.
“We were late so it requires a bit of leg work. All 23 as well as the 10 who did not play made a great effort.
When asked if Argentina could go all the way, Cheika did not want to get ahead of himself.
“I don’t know if we’re going to make sweeping statements now,” he said.
‘We’ll wait and see. We’re just excited to go to Paris, we haven’t had a taste of it yet during this World Cup.
“We will watch the game tonight and I know we will not be favorites but we will do our best.”
Argentina were forced to come from behind twice to win the match, with playmaker Nicolas Sanchez securing the late victory with a superb interception try.
Cheika kept his cool and insists he was never worried about his team’s inability to get back into the game.
“I have experience in these types of matches, 10-0 is a lot but the momentum is what is important,” Cheika said.
Argentina became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals in Paris
Argentina and New Zealand will now face off in the first semi-final of Rugby World Cup 2023.
“When you get positive momentum, you can score points quickly and we were still in the game.”
Australian rugby fans had a field day with the result.
“The sacking of Australian Rugby Michael Cheika, who will become Argentina coach… and the Wallabies going out in the group stage… and Argentina now reaching the semi-finals… is entirely in the Rugby Australia picture,” said a fan.
“Michael Cheika just took his Argentina team to the World Cup semi-final. The Wallabies are a disgrace,” replied another.
Argentina’s Michael Cheika in the semi-final of the #rugbyworldcup2023. A 29-17 victory against Wales. Cheik Cam a beauty. Good game. He has built a decent CV. Brilliant come-from-behind victory after being down 10-0. They will face the winner of Ireland and New Zealand,” posted a third.
Cheika’s contract with the Pumas is set to end after this World Cup, and it’s no secret he would like to one day coach the Wallabies again.