RWC: Why underdogs Georgia can grind down Argentina
Georgia’s surprise win over Tonga last week may have been overshadowed by Japan’s historic win over South African but after the Cherry Blossoms lost to Scotland the Lelos could become the headline act with another shock win over Argentina.
The Pumas will go into the tie without influential lock Mariano Galarza, with the 28-year-old having been banned for nine weeks for making contact “with the eye or eye area” of New Zealand’s Brodie Retallick.
The South Americans have enjoyed previous World Cup meetings with the Georgians, winning by 30 points in 2007 and 18 points in 2011, but Milton Haig’s side showed last time out they are much improved.
Nowhere was this more obvious than when the sides clashed in 2013 with the 29-18 victory for Argentina an adequate reflection of what was a very close game.
Both sides are expected to play to their strengths and while that is unlikely to appeal to rugby purists it should make for an absorbing encounter.
Georgia showed at Kingsholm, against a Tongan side that is more than happy to trade blows, that they are prepared and able to weather any physical storm the Pumas will throw at them.
With a front row that even England would be jealous of at this moment in time, a trio off big hitters itching to get off the bench, and an exciting No8 in Mamuka Gorgodze Georgia have a set piece that is capable of testing the best in this competition.
As such, Argentina may not be the favourites the odds suggest for this match
Argentina may be smart around the contact area and some have tipped the outsiders to go on a deep run into the tournament but Georgia will frustrate them and stop them from finding any rhythm on Friday.
The Pumas go into the tie as 1/20 favourites, but at 10/1 the value might just lie with the unfancied Europeans.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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