All Blacks squeezed life out of Pumas

2015-09-21 09:38
Daniel Hourcade (Getty Images)

London - Argentina, shock winners against France in the opening match of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, targeted another upset win on their 2015 debut on Sunday that they might well have achieved if their opponents were not the world's best team.

Coach Daniel Hourcade was pleased with most aspects of the Pumas' game in a 26-16 defeat to holders New Zealand at Wembley in Pool C, highlighting their attitude and courage to play the ball out of defence.

But he bemoaned the "breathlessness" under an All Blacks stranglehold in the last half hour that saw them rush decisions and gift possession too easily, keeping them on the back foot and allowing New Zealand to recover from a 16-12 deficit.

"The problem was not physical, it was breathlessness," Hourcade told reporters. "We had to defend too much and obviously when we recovered the ball and kicked we gave it back to them.

"We need to hold the ball more rather than let it go which allowed them to maintain their attacking rhythm."

Argentina conceded three penalties, kicked by Dan Carter, in the opening quarter of an hour for indiscipline in the forwards which Hourcade put down to nerves.

"The lads were a bit nervous early on and that allowed them to get early points that later count for a lot," Hourcade said.

Their defence stood firm, however, against New Zealand attacks and they hit back with a try after 20 minutes through lock Guido Petti who came off right after because of a knock.

Flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez's conversion and his first two penalties gave Argentina their halftime 13-12 lead that Hourcade claimed should have been bigger given the course of the second quarter.

"In the first half we should have got another try and not given away the fourth penalty (converted by Carter on the stroke of halftime), then we would have had a more deserved points difference."

He said that at halftime he told his players "keep your attitude and intensity, but (New Zealand) reacted, got the ball and didn't lose it any more, their capacity is well known and they managed to overcome our siege."

Hourcade said Petti did not have a serious injury and he has five days to pick his best side for next Friday's clash with Georgia in Gloucester.

"We have to set up our best team in the week, we've known for a long time that we had five days to the match with a tough Georgian team," Hourcade said.

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