He rugby It is an agonistic sport. That is, a practice in which the player pushes his body to the limit in many moments of the game. and lives with the state of permanent fatigue for much of the game. The players move from one side of the field to the other instinctively with “empty lungs”, in an agonizing sensation that accompanies them for much of the 80 minutes. The game forces the player to alternate intermittent high-intensity races and continuous short-term contact efforts with repositioning phases. And in the midst of this situation of extreme stress, the player must maintain lucidity to make decisions in each play with the ball in his hands or in defensive situations that may involve physical or numerical inferiority.

Train the agony

In that territory where your heart is racing, your mouth is dry, lactic acid becomes your gasoline reserve and oxygen barely reaches your entire body, you have to keep a cool head. And today no one makes decisions better, in that hostile environment for the body, than the New Zealanders. Because? Because they train him like no one else. Because from a young age they exercise the development of technical skills, regardless of their position, size and weight, which later turn out to be decisive resources in decision-making in these situations. Kiwi children don’t compete until they are teenagers. Before, they play and have fun with training that unconsciously presents them with contexts that make them think to resolve situations of inferiority or superiority in small spaces. A method that other countries have been assimilating over the years.

Against Ireland the All Blacks They once again exhibited their ability to adapt to the gaming environment. First in defense, to stop the offensive waves of a rival whose powerful forward they managed to disconnect. And then with a surgical clairvoyance in attack, adding points in each visit to the rival 22. Ardie Savea’s essay is an example. A touch on the Irish 22 that they approached with sticks to rally the green defense against the charge of the Kiwi forward, stopped at the right moment, and with excellent speed of hands, took it to the wing, where Ardie Savea supported the ball taking advantage of the fact that the defense was gathered around the ruck. The same thing happened in Beauden Barrett’s hat kick that he collected himself after overcoming the green defensive curtain. to locate the weak point of the defense and move the ball to the wing where Fainga’anuku ended up posing after a pass inside from Rieko Ioane, who had received the ball from Jordie Barrett. No team has the ability to maintain and transfer the advantage situation to the point on the field they want once they have forced it like the All Blacks.

Those same All Blacks face Argentina this Friday (9:00 p.m.) in the first semifinal of the World Cup in France. A match that no one gave much thought to due to the doubts that both had at the beginning of the tournament. But the New Zealanders have the virtue of offering their best version the more demanding the scenario is and the Pumas, who have been competing regularly with the southern powers for five years, have made their game grow exponentially and added that resilience that makes them never give up. no matter how adverse the outlook may be.

Defeat or world champions

It would be cynical not to say that the Kiwis are clear favorites in this match, but no one doubts that Argentina will give New Zealand a fight. It will be the fourth match that faced Argentines and New Zealanders in the World Cup and the Albicelestes never managed to beat the Oceanic team. But it also happens that on each occasion in which they crossed paths (1987, 2011 and 2015), the oceanicians were champions. A great sign for Foster’s team, as long as they are able to defeat the Argentines.

Matías Moroni, the hero of the Argentines after saving his team with which he has been baptized as ‘God’s tackle’, warned those in black: “We are going to Paris to war. “It is the most important game in the history of the Pumas.”. The Argentine coach, the Australian Michael Cheika, who has brought more pragmatism to the emotional game of the albiceleste, put aside that vehemence by betting on other arguments: “We have to be dynamic and intelligent if we want to beat New Zealand.”

For now, Cheika will change the number 9 again and after betting on Cubelli against Wales, he will recover Bertranou against the Kiwis. For Santiago Chocobares, who will be against those in black despite having retired injured against Wales, “having beaten them in 2020 and 2022 as a visitor helps us believe a little more.” In the game, The Kiwis dominate from the static phases, especially from their touch, their main weapon when relaunching their open game. They have no problem playing with recovered balls and In defense they choose well when to put a lot of people in the ruck to slow down the game or when to keep their players standing to cover the entire width of the field.

Where can Argentina do harm? If the Pumas continue to show consistency and discipline in the breakdown (against Wales they only conceded 7 shots), He will be able to continue holding on to Boffelli’s foot to stay in the game. The albiceleste maul is powerful and on Saturday Ireland showed them the way to hurt the Kiwis with it. Their carriers, Kremer and Isa, must be accompanied on their excursions and Bertranou and Carreras have to play a perfect game and not make mistakes.

If we look at the data, there is no color. The All Blacks are the highest scorers of the four semi-finalists, the ones with the most tries, the best in touch, the best scrum left in the World Cup… But as we said, in an agonistic sport like rugby it is very important to have a heart that does not stop pumping. And no one beats this Argentina at heart. So don’t rule anything out because “what if the Pumas…”.