After a difficult start to his second tenure as head coach, Warren Gatland has once again steered Wales to another World Cup quarter-final with only Argentina standing in their way of a third semi-final appearance in the last four tournaments.

It’s been a rapid turnaround by Wales under Gatland from where they were during a dire Six Nations campaign, and they enter Saturday’s last eight showdown in Marseille having claimed 19 points from a possible 20 in the pool stage.

The Pool C winners showed their mettle when beating Fiji before clicking into gear and achieving a record-breaking win over Australia, either side of beating Georgia and Portugal.

Wales have improved in all areas of the game and are rated 1/2 favourites for the first of this weekend’s quarter-finals, with Argentina 9/5 underdogs having struggled to get out of their pool.

An insipid display in defeat to England on the opening weekend of the World Cup left Michael Chieka’s men under the pump, and although they responded well with three straight wins, including victory in a showdown for second in the section against Japan, they’ve underwhelmed.

But it would be dangerous to write off an Argentina side who have beaten Six Nations opposition in two of their last three World Cup quarter-final appearances, especially as Wales are missing a couple of key players due to injury.

Wales vs Argentina Prediction

  • Wales to win by one to 12 points @ 17/10
  • Louis Rees-Zammit first tryscorer @ 13/2

Team News

Wales have been left counting the cost of last weekend’s pool victory over Georgia which saw Gareth Anscombe suffer a groin injury in the warm-up and Taulupe Faletau fracture his arm during the match.

Both will miss Saturday’s quarter-final as a result with Aaron Wainwright moving to No.8 and Tommy Reffell coming into the back row in Faletau’s absence.

Dan Biggar has overcome a pectoral injury to take Anscombe’s place at fly-half while Liam Williams has shaken off a knee injury in time to start at full-back.

Argentina have also lost a sizeable presence from their back row with Pablo Matera out injured.

He’s replaced by Facundo Isa in one of two changes to the team who beat Japan, with Tomas Cubelli coming in at scrum-half for Gonzalo Bertranou.

Wales to win by one to 12 points @ 17/10

Wales have come to life in France after a difficult couple of years and have enough about them to edge out Argentina in what is likely to be a tight quarter-final.

Gatland was confident his players could go to another level at the tournament, and having got the basics largely right, particularly the scrum, there’s been a marked improvement in Wales’s displays.

Defensively, Wales have rediscovered the tenacity that made them so tough to beat in Gatland’s first spell in charge and no side has averaged more tackles per game than the Dragons at this World Cup.

But the injuries to Anscombe and Faletau do take something away from a team who aren’t blessed with the strength in depth of other nations, bringing them closer to Argentina.

Los Pumas have shown signs of improvement since their opening loss to England and were clinical in the win over Japan, coming away with points from every foray into the Brave Blossoms’ 22.

But they are still making plenty of errors while also struggling with their scrum and discipline, and that could give Wales the edge in the battle for a semi-final berth.

Louis Rees-Zammit first tryscorer @ 13/2

Wales scored the opening try in all four of their pool matches so are fancied to strike first at the Stade Velodrome.

Of the contenders to cross the whitewash, Louis Rees-Zammit is the market leader and a standout contender having taken his try tally at the World Cup to five with a hat-trick against Georgia.

The Gloucester speedster is the only Welshman to have started all four games at the tournament and leads the team for defenders beaten (14) and metres carried (325).

He’s also tied for most line breaks with George North on four and poses a significant threat to an Argentina side who have not had to deal with a player as rapid as Rees-Zammit.

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