World Cup Watch: Italy and Uruguay loom large on All Blacks radar

Italy v Uruguay Rugby World Cup France 2023

Uruguay pushed France hard before losing 12-27 last week and showed they could take advantage of Italy's indiscipline when taking a 17-7 lead to the halftime break against Italy. That included a penalty try when Italy collapsed a maul.

With one man already in the bin a few minutes earlier, Italy had to play with 13 men for several minutes. But Uruguay suffered a sin-binning early in the second half, which allowed Italy to reduce the margin, keep Uruguay scoreless in the second half, and then run away to a bonus point win with their 38-17 win.

The All Blacks face Italy next Friday (Saturday 8am NZT) and Uruguay the following week to decide their quarterfinals fate. 

When playing Ireland, South Africa faces their most challenging pool game at the weekend. And coach Jacques Nienaber has decided to go with his 7:1 bench again, unleashing his bomb squad against the world's No1 side.

Lock RG Snyman, who has played much of his rugby for Munster, is on the bench and said Ireland was the No1 team in the world for a reason.

"What they have done up until now is a credit to them: the brand, the style of rugby, the team they put together. It says a lot.

"The previous two games they've played, they handled themselves really well, so we are the world champions still, but it's four years later, and they've used those four years to get up to that No1 spot. It's going to be a good one.

"We've also got confidence in our style of play, and we'll build on that.

The Wallabies have had more bad news
for their World Cup campaign. Teenage back Max Jorgensen, 19, the squad's youngest member, has suffered a broken leg.

Coach Eddie Jones said they were feeling for Jorgensen.

"He's a good young man with a massive future ahead of him in the gold jersey.

"He's worked really hard to come back from a serious knee injury and was training exceptionally well to put his hand up for selection."

Jorgensen suffered a broken fibula in training on Wednesday as the Wallabies prepared for their crunch game with Wales. A replacement is yet to be named.

Controversial England first five Owen Farrell will make his 2023 Cup debut at first five-eighths for England when they play Chile at the weekend.

Farrell is returning from a four-game ban and has forced his rival for the position, George Ford, to the bench.

Ford has set the pace for England and scored all 27 points in their tournament's opening game, a win over Argentina.

In a surprise selection, coach Steve Borthwick has named another five-eighths, Marcus Smith, at fullback. 

Smith has never started a game at fullback for his club or England but has played as a substitute.

Argentina are preparing to avoid a slip-up against Samoa in their game this week. After going down 10-27 to England in their opening game, the Pumas have concentrated on getting their basics right in training.

Coach Michael Cheika said, "We know the type of game we want to play; we don't want to change too much depending on the opponent.

"We have to be disciplined in our organisation, in defence and attack. It may take 60, 70 minutes until the opportunity is there, but you have to take it when it comes. You don't have to do something magical, it's about playing our game disciplined and very aggressively."

First five-eighths Nicolas Sanchez has been named on the bench, and if he gets onto the field, it will be his 99th Test.


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