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Pumas prepared for Georgian forward assault

2015-09-23 18:17

London - Argentina know not to take Georgia for simpletons, as the East European team's nickname Lelos translates into Spanish, when the two clash in Friday's Rugby World Cup Pool C match in Gloucester.

The Pumas, who had holders New Zealand in trouble before succumbing 26-16 on Sunday, are prepared for a tremendous forward contest against fast-improving Georgia and will seek to avoid becoming bogged down in a war of attrition against a side who upset Tonga 17-10 on Saturday.

"We must put a lot of dynamics into the game, move them from one side to the other, use the full width of the pitch," veteran flanker Juan Fernandez Lobbe told Argentine daily La Nacion in an interview published on Wednesday.

"We must give the game a lot of rhythm and not give them the chance to impose their game, which can be a dogfight. If we get caught up in that, we could go home or have a bad time."

Having lost their opening game, this is already like a final for the Pumas, Lobbe added.

But Argentina are accustomed to such pressure after their first pool match. The only time since their first quarter-final appearance in 1999 that they did not lose their opening match -- always against top-tier opponents -- was against hosts France in 2007.

Four years ago in New Zealand, they weathered an opening defeat against England to reach their fourth consecutive quarter-final with victories over Romania, Scotland and Georgia, ultimately bowing out to hosts New Zealand.

Georgia are at their fourth World Cup and met and lost to the Pumas at the previous two. Their victory over Tonga was their third in all.

The Lelos might feel they have home advantage, having already played at Kingsholm, but Argentina have support in the west of England, not least for Gloucester's Mariano Galarza, even if he misses the match.

A number of Pumas have shone for clubs in the region, most recently captain Agustin Creevy for Worcester Warriors. Before that, Agustin Pichot and Felipe Contepomi -- both members of the Pumas side that finished third at the 2007 World Cup -- plied their trade at Bristol.

Argentina's only selection problems concern the second row, with Sunday's try scorer Guido Petti nursing a blow to the head and his replacement Galarza cited for alleged eye-gouging against the All Blacks.

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