LEICESTER, 11 Oct – Daniel Hourcade insists Argentina have the weapons to take down the big guns at the Rugby World Cup, having blown away Namibia with nine tries at Leicester City Stadium on Sunday.
The Pumas’ place in the quarter-finals was confirmed on Friday when New Zealand beat Tonga 47-9 and claimed top spot in Pool C, meaning Argentina will face Ireland or France.
“The team has the weapons needed for each situation. Sometimes you need an open game, sometimes you need a more closed type of game,” Hourcade said.
With little to play for, the coach named his country’s youngest RWC starting XV in 16 years, and that youthful exuberance shone through as the Pumas produced some of their most expansive rugby, running the ball and flipping passes wide at every opportunity.
While this approach allowed the back division to shine and run in some fantastic tries, Namibia also had their moments, pouncing on sloppy passes to touch down either side of half-time before stealing a third try late on.
It resulted in the highest-scoring match of the RWC so far, but the Pumas coach is adamant his side will be ready to tighten up and tailor their approach for the tougher tests that lie ahead.
“Our tools or weapons can go both ways and these are the keys to decision making, choosing the right keys for the right time in a game," Hourcade said.
“We are able to play an open game or a closed game, but it will always be a dynamic one. We have the weapons we need to go past our rivals, which is something we will do.”
Juan Martin Hernandez marked his return to the side with the opening try after seven minutes, before the short-handed Welwitschias struck as Johan Tromp hacked through a loose ball to touch down.
Argentina responded by running in four more tries before half-time, but another poor pass cost the Pumas six minutes into the second half when JC Greyling raced away for a second Namibian try.
Within three minutes the dominance of Hourcade’s men had been underlined once again, despite a yellow card for Marcelo Bosch, and some dazzling handling skills resulted in further scores for Julian Montoya and Leonardo Senatore.
But the last word went to Namibia. Tjiuee Uauivi stripped the ball away as the Pumas attempted to run the ball out once more, offloading for Eugene Jantjies to score in the final minute.
“It’s been a progressive World Cup for us,” said Namibia coach Phil Davies (WAL), whose side recorded their first ever RWC point in their previous match against Georgia.
Last kick of the game
“We have hit milestones during this World Cup. Our scores (conceded) against tier one nations have gone down and also against tier two, and we have achieved our first World Cup point.”
Prop Johnny Redelinghuys, retiring after this, his 50th cap, was allowed to take the conversion for that final try but his effort fell as short as his smile was wide.
“At first I was scared to take it,” he said. “I was a bit nervous. It was my first conversion in the game and, may I say, the closest one ever as well.”