International Rugby: Italy v Argentina Preview

Connor O'Shea's Italians will be looking to spring a surprise when they host an out of sorts Argentina side on Saturday the 18th of November.

Italy recorded just their first win of the year when they beat the Fijians last Saturday. Unfortunately for the Azzurri, that winning habit doesn't look set to continue as they host Los Pumas on Saturday afternoon. Argentina, who also have one victory to show for their efforts in 2017, will expect nothing more than a victory at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

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Italy v Argentina | Saturday 18 November | Stadio Artemio Franchi | 16:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Italy 39/20 | Draw 18/1 | Argentina 9/20
Italy (+5.5) 9/10 | Argentina (-5.5) 9/10


Sergio Parisse's, Azzurri, have gone through yet another year without showing any real signs of improvement. Despite the national side's famous 20-18 result over South Africa last November, as well as Zebre and Benetton's refined recent performances in the Pro14, Italian rugby seems as feckless as ever.

There is some hope for the future of the game in that part of the world, as shown in their hard-fought 19-10 win over Fiji last week - a side who one-upped them just a few months ago. The 2017/18 season offers the Italians another shot at climbing world rugby's proverbial ladder, and the neutrals can only hope they improve on what has come before.

This Saturday's Test against Argentina however, may just pose too many problems for the Azzurri. Argentina will feel aggrieved at their narrow loss to England at Twickenham a week ago and will jump at an opportunity to add to the only other win they have achieved so far this year - against Georgia in June. Indeed, Italy's backline would do well to hold Argentina to but a few scores this weekend.


Man oh man have the South Americans had a year to forget! A last-place finish in the Rugby Championship (which included zero-wins), coupled with three-defeats to Eddie Jones' England has made for a seriously underwhelming campaign for the 2015 Rugby World Cup semi-finalists. Coach Daniel Hourcade is surely on his last legs, but this should never have been the case - far from it, in fact.

Perhaps it is time the Argentina Rugby Union swallowed their pride and began selecting overseas-based players to revitalize a stale Pumas brand. Remember, this Argentine side is identical to the Jaguares team that turned out in Super Rugby at the beginning of the year - meaning these players have played together for the entire year. Staleness is an understatement.

Last week's rather dire showing against the English was further proof that this 'Argie' team is waiting for fresh ideas, and desperately requires a change in some capacity. Hopefully, their union understands this and shakes up the system ahead of next season - how wonderful it would be to see the side that dazzled their way to the last four of the last World Cup back up and running!

In the meantime, however, they should comfortably see off Italy this weekend, with their backs sure to get a great deal of time and space with which to work some counter-attacking magic. Italy is certainly not known for a quality defence, and Los Pumas should take full advantage.

Verdict: Argentina (-5.5) 9/10
As hackneyed as they maybe, Argentina will still win in Italy this weekend. The hosts' defence won't be able to withstand 80-minutes of Southern Hemisphere offensive intensity, which is why my money is on Hourcade's men clearing a modest 5.5 point handicap.

Written by Shaun Goosen for

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