Rugby World Cup: World media reacts to All Blacks' crushing semi-final win over Argentina

  • 21/10/2023

The All Blacks have cruised into a record fifth World Cup final on the back of the most emphatic semi-final win since they beat Wales back in 1987.

The almost routine nature of the contest has left many scribes in awe, while others have bemoaned the relatively lacklustre occasion in the absence of the fervent French and Irish fans.

All Blacks into World Cup final as Will Jordan leads demolition of Argentina

By Robert Kitson - The Guardian UK

"New Zealand are now just 80 minutes away from writing a fresh chapter in their fabled rugby history. No country has ever previously won four World Cup titles and, conveniently, they have an extra day in which to recover prior to next Saturday’s final. Whoever they end up playing the All Blacks are going to take some stopping.

"Argentina certainly had no answer, conceding seven tries and finishing a distant second in the end. Even when they are not at their absolute best, New Zealand’s ability to keep the scoreboard ticking allows them to dictate terms and their fly-half Richie Mo’unga remains the competition’s most in-form conductor.

"They also have the deadly Will Jordan, whose three tries took him above France’s Damian Penaud as the tournament’s leading try-scorer. Jordan, who now has a record-equalling eight tries, would be the first to pay tribute to the All Black pack who do the hard yards but New Zealand’s point of difference remains their ability to take a higher percentage of their chances than most."

Damian McKenzie and Aaron Smith.
Damian McKenzie and Aaron Smith. Photo credit: Getty Images

New Zealand issue statement of intent as they crush Argentina to cruise into World Cup final

By Daniel Schofield - Telegraph UK

"Such was New Zealand’s ruthless efficiency on both sides of the ball that they turned this World Cup semi-final into little more than a training run. The All Blacks may have lost some of their aura in recent years but their speed of thought and deed makes them a frightful proposition heading into their fifth final.

"Whatever scars that the All Blacks bore from their 19-7 defeat to England at this stage four years ago, they were intent on inflicting far more on an Argentina team which was outmatched in pretty much every department. The try count finished 7-0 and it felt as though Argentina got off lightly.

"After the raucous celebrations of their quarter-final victory against Wales, the Pumas looked very much like the side that England blew away in the opening match. The fears of mismatched semi-finals have already half come to pass and this felt more like the All Blacks’ blowout pool fixture against Namibia than a full-bore last-four game. Those responsible for the draw have a lot to answer for and the outbreak of Mexican waves early in the second-half felt shameful for all involved."

Tamaiti Williams on the charge.
Tamaiti Williams on the charge. Photo credit: Getty Images

History awaits All Blacks after Argentina humiliation

By Julian Linden - The Australian

"Once rugby’s greatest chokers, New Zealand gave the Wallabies and Rugby Australia’s bungling leaders a spectacular reminder of how teams can turn it around with a bit of planning and patience as the All Blacks stormed into a record fifth World Cup final.

"As ruthless as ever, the Kiwis smashed Michael Cheika’s Argentina 44-6 at the Stade de France in Paris early Saturday morning, with electric winger Will Jordan scoring a hat-trick of tries.

"The New Zealanders will now face either South Africa or England in next weekend’s World Cup final with one piece of history assured and another beckoning.

"The days when the All Blacks were the laughing stock of the game because they would crumble under pressure at rugby’s biggest tournament are now a distant memory.

"The first team to make five finals, they are on the brink of becoming the first nation to win the Webb Ellis Cup four times."

Jordan joins great as New Zealand cruise into final

By Alex Lowe - The Times UK

"There was a smattering of emerald green jerseys in the crowd, each of them an Ireland supporter thinking of what might have been, for this was supposed to be their semi-final. If it was galling to watch New Zealand cruise past Argentina and into a fifth final without ever having to engage top gear, they were at least treated to a moment of World Cup history.

"There was no danger of New Zealand suffering a hangover from that epic victory over Ireland here last weekend. This was a slow game that rarely roused the crowd, a departure from the riotous party that unfolded here over the quarter-final weekend.

"For their powerful carries and passionate rugby, Argentina rarely tested the All Blacks. New Zealand were comfortable as they soaked up plenty of first-half pressure and then stung the Pumas with three tries, from Jordan, Jordie Barrett and Shannon Frizell, to open a 20-6 lead."

New Zealand pummel Pumas as Rugby World Cup semi-final turns into a no-contest

By Gerry Thornley - Irish Times 

"If this was a World Cup semi-final it was in name only, for it sure didn’t feel like one. To no one’s great surprise, this mismatch and most one-sided semi-final since the All Blacks beat Wales in Brisbane in 1987, by 49-6, was an inevitable consequence of the ridiculously premature and lopsided draw which ensured two of the top-four sides were evicted from the tournament in last weekend’s quarter-finals.

"The two quarter-finals at this venue, light years from this fare, felt like a different sport.

"That the two sides in question were the hosts, France, and the best supported away side, Ireland, also contributed to a Friday night semi-final that, as an occasion, bore absolutely no resemblance to any of the matches involving either France and Ireland which have lit up this World Cup.

"There were a fair few sightings of Irish in the stands and straight from the kick-off the French contingent in the crowd immediately produced a defiant rendition of La Marseillaise, and for much of the evening vented their frustrations with Ben O’Keefe from a week ago on last night’s referee Angus Gardner."