Tuesday 12 December 2017

Pumas aim to step up for Ireland showdown

Argentina's Matias Alemanno celebrates at the end of the match
Argentina's Matias Alemanno celebrates at the end of the match

Head coach Daniel Hourcade believes Argentina have the firepower to worry Ireland as the Rugby World Cup enters the knockout stages.

The Pumas completed Pool C with a nine-try, 64-19 win over Namibia at Leicester City Stadium to book a clash with Ireland next Sunday and have scored more points than holders New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Wales in their first four games.

"We have the weapons we need to go against our rivals," Hourcade said.

The Pumas' free-scoring since the opening loss to the All Blacks - against Georgia, Tonga and Namibia - has resulted in their points-for tally, but Hourcade is confident if a tighter game is needed in the knockout stages.

"Ireland play in the northern hemisphere and play that way, but they've got some characteristics from the southern hemisphere, so they play a bit differently, very dynamic.

"We feel comfortable with that, because we're used to that sort of game. We can work an open game or a closed game," he said.

"The statistics are not very relevant, but scoring points is good because it shows our intention.

"Our team always tries to create things and we've managed to do that with all our opponents (so far).

"We're looking for a dynamic game, a game that we feel comfortable with.

"On the pitch the game hurts our rivals. That's one of our strengths.

"The attack was not as aggressive as it should have been (against Namibia)."

There was no Diego Maradona for inspiration this time, but the football World Cup winner, who danced in the changing room following last week's defeat of Tonga, says he will return if the Pumas make the semi-finals.

Improvement will be needed if his promise is to be fulfilled.

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