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Argentina coach Michael Cheika hits out over Rugby World Cup travel delay after Wales win

Incensed: Michael Cheika is furious with Argentina unable to travel to Paris until Monday  (Getty Images)
Incensed: Michael Cheika is furious with Argentina unable to travel to Paris until Monday (Getty Images)

Argentina boss Michael Cheika has accused Rugby World Cup organisers of favouritism towards the world’s top four-ranked teams.

The Pumas head coach has revealed that his side wanted to travel from Marseille to Paris on Sunday, the morning after their stunning 29-17 quarter-final triumph over Wales.

World Cup chiefs have blocked Argentina from travelling north until Monday, leaving Cheika lambasting what he believes to be bias towards Paris quarter-finalists Ireland, New Zealand, France and South Africa.

Cheika insisted Argentina will lose a day in preparation for their semi-final, against the All Blacks on October 20, due to the perceived delay in their travel.

World Cup organisers insisted however that all teams still in the competition will stay in France until Monday – meaning that Argentina’s eventual hotel in Paris will be occupied by another team until then.

“We asked them, we begged them, they were too stubborn,” said Cheika, of Argentina seeking to travel from Marseille to Paris on Sunday.

“This tournament is made for the people in Paris. In the 2015 tournament in England it was easy to prepare, the recovery was easier. In 2023 we have been told I don’t know why we cannot go there before Monday.

“We are not going to do anything on Sunday, and on Monday we are going to travel, so we are going to lose one day in preparation and the other team will already be in Paris waiting for their semi-final, so this will have to change.

“I cannot implement the normal preparation phase in this shorter amount of time that I’ve been given.

“So, mentally the preparation and what we need, it’s clear that we are going to be able to prepare this match in Paris in the way we want.

“How we are going to redact, how we are going to face the clear and simple strategy, it’s good recovery so that we can be ready for battle and the physical war next weekend.

“We couldn’t talk about that before because we were not qualified, so we didn’t want to have some trouble on things we didn’t think about.

“But obviously we will need a specific recovery. But I wouldn’t use that as an excuse.

“This or that can be better, this or that can be worse, but that’s the way the organisation works so we need to do as we have to do.”