The Pumas have evolved from the ’10-man game’ they played in the early World Cups, via the talented and daring 2007 bronze- medal winners, into a modern-looking team capable of beating anyone.
Argentina’s emphatic 45-16 victory over Tonga at Leicester on Sunday, which gave them one foot in the quarter-final door, came from a mixed performance they said had not been overly good especially in their normally reliable scrum.
“The truth is we’re not happy even if we achieved our prime objective,” said flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez, the tournament’s top scorer after his 25-point contribution included a try, after Argentina leapfrogged Tonga into second place in Pool C.
“We believe we can play better, score more points. They surprised us especially in physical contact … every time we had the ball they got inside us, beat us in hand-to-hand (combat) and that weakens us a lot.
“We know we want to go for a lot more so our matches must start here. We got five tries, the team keeps looking (to improve) its attacking game,” added Sanchez.
Coach Daniel Hourcade said it would have been different if Argentina, having claimed two tries in two minutes midway through the first half, had taken the chances they had for two more before the half-hour was up.
“At times we’re dangerous but we have things to improve, we know the mistakes we made today we can’t permit against a stronger team,” said fullback Joaquin Tuculet who notched one try and squandered another chance.
“We didn’t have the aggression we had in other matches and there were moments when we could have scored and didn’t. We’re on the right track, you can’t always play without making mistakes, but overall we’ve had three good matches and we have to carry on like this.”
Argentina opened with a 26-16 defeat against title holders New Zealand at Wembley that included a try and a 16-9 lead early in the second half.
They then grabbed nine tries in a 54-9 romp against Georgia. The Pumas close the pool stages against Namibia at Leicester on Sunday.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)