Long development ‘bearing fruit’ for impressive Argentina in World Cup

'It's nice when you train for something and get there' said Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade after a commanding 54-9 win over Georgia on Friday night at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Argentina's Juan Imhoff slides in for a try in his team's Rugby World Cup pool play win over Georgia on Friday night. Dylan Martinez / Reuters / September 25, 2015
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Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade insisted his side would keep their feet on the ground after hammering Georgia 54-9 on Friday to put them on course to reach the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

Argentina went down 26-16 to champions New Zealand in their opening game. They are now favourites to qualify as second in Pool C with two remaining games against Tonga and minnows Namibia.

A tight first-half at Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium gave way to a seven-try mauling, with Tomas Lavanini, Tomas Cubelli, Juan Imhoff (2), Martin Landajo and Santiago Cordero (2) all crossing for tries as Argentina notched up 40 unanswered second-half points.

Nicolas Sanchez adeptly pulled the strings at fly-half, opening the scoring with a drop-goal and going on to bag two penalties and three conversions for a personal tally of 15 points, Marcelo Bosch also kicking two conversions.

The turning point of the game, played before a sell-out Argentinian dominated 16,500 crowd came when Georgian skipper Mamuka Gorgodze was sin binned in the 45th minute. In his absence, Argentina scored three converted tries to pull clear on the way to their bonus-point victory.

“I’m sure there was no infringement, there was no penalty there,” Gorgodze insisted of his yellow card for preventing the Pumas quick ball at a ruck on their line.

“I would like to see it again, but the referee is always right,” the giant Toulon No 8 lamented. “We’re not at a high enough level to play two tough games.”

Pumas coach Hourcade was left basking in his side’s performance, notably their 40 unanswered second-half points, but stressed that there is more work to do.

“We gave away many penalties in the first-half, but managed to show in the second-half how we wanted to play.

“It’s nice when you train for something and get there. We’ve been improving some aspects of our game: points of contact points and quick balls to give ourselves chances, and they are now bearing fruit.”

Hourcade added: “We have our feet on the ground because we have experiences when we do good things and relax too much.”

Argentina captain Agustin Creevy said the raucous atmosphere at the packed Kingsholm had played a vital part in their victory.

“Playing in front of 90,000 fans was amazing,” Creevy said in reference to the record crowd at Wembley that witnessed their defeat by New Zealand.

“It was an unforgettable experience, but today it was like playing in an Argentinian stadium in front of Argentinian fans cheering us on.”

Creevy said there had been some home truths told at the break.

“At half-time lots of things were said and the suggestion was to play in the second-half,” he said.

“The wise words were to relieve the pressure and relax and do what we do best, play rugby.

“We were more relaxed in good sense of world, not over confident.”

Argentina play Tonga on October 4 and Namibia on October 11 with both games in Leicester.

Georgia coach Milton Haig now faces the tough task of gearing his troops up to face the All Blacks at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on October 2.

“Next week we play the world champions and the best team in the world and that’s something we’ve never done,” said Haig, himself a New Zealander.

“It won’t take much to motivate the boys for that because it’s the pinnacle of every player’s career to play them at the World Cup so we have plenty to look forward to.”

Haig added: “I just want my team to do well and to perform to their potential. If they do that, regardless of the result, I will be happy.”

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