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Wales vs Argentina: 5 memorable meetings ahead of the knockouts

By PA
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA: Daffyd Jones (C) of Wales tries to escape through Argentina's Omar Hasan (L) and Nicolas Fernandez Miranda 19 June 2004 in Buenos Aires. Argentina and Wales are facing in the second test match of Welsh team by the country. At the end of the first half Wales beats Argentina 25-0. AFP PHOTO / Daniel GARCIA (Photo credit should read DANIEL GARCIA/AFP via Getty Images)

Wales and Argentina will face each other in a first Rugby World Cup clash since 1999 on Saturday.

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The opening Marseille quarter-final sees Wales start as favourites after they collected 19 points from a possible 20 in winning their pool.

Here, the PA news agency looks back on five memorable Test matches between the two countries.

Wales 43 Argentina 30 (Llanelli, 1998)

Graham Henry’s second game in charge as Wales head coach produced a high-scoring spectacle at Stradey Park. Fly-half Neil Jenkins contributed 23 points and there were tries for Colin Charvis (two), Dafydd James and Mark Taylor. Argentina, playing only their second full international match against Wales following a World Cup pool game eight years earlier, trailed 26-25 at the interval before Henry’s team had enough in the tank to see themselves home.

Argentina 16 Wales 23 (Buenos Aires, 1999)

Wales clinched a first Test series triumph against the Pumas in Argentina by ultimately holding their nerve during a game mainly remembered for a mass brawl. The melee spilled over the touchline and into the dug-out area, with English referee Chris White issuing yellow cards to Wales prop Peter Rogers, plus Argentina forwards Mauricio Reggiardo and Pedro Sporleder. Hooker Garin Jenkins’ try and five Neil Jenkins penalties and a drop goal proved enough.

Argentina 20 Wales 35 (Buenos Aires, 2004)

Wales claimed a first away win against any opponent for three years as they recovered impressively from losing the first Test 50-44 in Tucuman seven days earlier. Mike Ruddock’s team led by 25 points at the interval following Shane Williams’ memorable hat-trick of tries and they then had to hold off a fierce Pumas fightback. Gavin Henson, playing at full-back, kicked 15 points and fly-half Nicky Robinson also touched down.

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
2
Draws
1
Wins
2
Average Points scored
20
21
First try wins
40%
Home team wins
40%

Wales 40 Argentina 6 (Cardiff, 2013)

Wales emphatically ended a run of home defeats in the autumn internationals by posting what remains a record win against Argentina. The tone was set by scrum-half Mike Phillips’ fine solo try after he broke clear from inside his own half and a dominant display also saw George North, Taulupe Faetau and Ken Owens touch down. Leigh Halfpenny booted 20 points on a day that saw prop Gethin Jenkins become the fourth Welshman to win 100 caps.

Argentina 12 Wales 30 (Resistencia, 2018)

Wales’ first series win in Argentina for 19 years was achieved on the back of Rhys Patchell’s outstanding goal-kicking – he landed 20 points – and tries by backs Josh Adams and Hallam Amos. Number eight Ross Moriarty was sent off late in the game, but Wales had already done enough to claim a notable triumph. It concluded a tour that had earlier seen them beat South Africa in Washington DC.

Fixture
Rugby World Cup
Wales
17 - 29
Full-time
Argentina
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Poorfour 4 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

AI models are really just larger and less transparent variants of the statistical models that have been in use since Moneyball was invented. And a big difference between the Icahn centre’s results and AI today is that ChatGPT-like Large Language Models can explain (to some degree) how they reached their conclusions. In terms of what impact they will have, I suspect it will have two primary impacts: 1) It will place a premium on coaching creativity 2) It will lead to more selections that baffle fans and pundits. Analysts will be able to run the models both ways: they will see their own team’s and players’ weaknesses and strengths as well as the opposition’s. So they will have a good idea at what the other team will be targeting and the decisive difference may well be which coaches are smart enough to think of a gameplan that the other side didn’t identify and prepare for. For players, it places a premium on three key things: 1) Having a relatively complete game with no major weaknesses (or the dedication to work on eliminating them) 2) Having the tactical flexibility to play a different game every week 3) Having a point of difference that is so compelling that there isn’t a defence for it. (3) is relatively rare even among pro players. There have been only a handful of players over the years where you knew what they were going to do and the problem was stopping it - Lomu would be the classic example. And even when someone does have that, it’s hard to sustain. Billy Vunipola in his prime was very hard to stop, but fell away quite badly when the toll on his body began to accumulate. So coaches will look for (1) - a lack of exploitable weaknesses - and (2) - the ability to exploit others’ weaknesses - ahead of hoping for (3), at least for the majority of the pack. Which is likely to mean that, as with the original Moneyball, competent, unshowy players who do the stuff that wins matches will win out over outrageous talents who can’t adapt to cover their own weaknesses. Which will leave a lot of people on the sidelines sputtering over the non-inclusion of players whose highlights reels are spectacular, but whose lowlight reels have been uncovered by AI… at least until the point where every fan has access to a sporting analysis AI.

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