Free-flowing Pumas looking to win in style
Classic Pumas steamrollered Canada 57-5 in the opening game of the World Rugby Classic at North Field, National Sports Centre, yesterday.
Argentina, who lost to the Classic Springboks in last year's final, made a statement of intent with a ruthless display of free-flowing rugby, scoring nine tries against a shell-shocked Canada.
The Pumas will now meet France Classic Rugby in the semi-finals on Wednesday night.
Rodolfo Ventura, the Pumas manager, said his side were aiming to win the tournament in style by adopting a far more expansive style of rugby than in previous years.
“We always hope to win it — that's our goal when we come here,” Ventura said.
“We're always available for winning!”
“It's always a difficult test, the first game, but we were determined to open the field and play wide.
“You have to find the ideal mix and we want two alternatives: to go [through the middle] with our forwards and to spread it out wide.”
Ventura said the Pumas had been forced to make several changes to last year's squad but were still confident about their title chances.
“We always try and choose the best players to come here and experience the Bermuda week and play good rugby,” said Ventura, who played 12 Tests for Argentina between 1975 and 1983,
“I know that on Wednesday it will be a very hard [against France].”
First-half tries from Gonzalo Tiesi, Julio Fabias Cabello, Bernardo Stortoni and Maximiliano Nannini gave the Pumas a 22-0 lead before Canada got off the mark just before half-time through Ben Grant.
The Pumas were back in the ascendancy soon after the interval, with Federico Meyrelles scoring on his classic debut before further tries from Nicholas Bruzzone, Jose Basile, Stortoni and Nannini completed the rout.
Colin Wilson, the Rugby Canada coach, said Argentina fully deserved their lopsided victory.
Canada will now look to bounce back against the Classic Lions in their Plate semi-final on Wednesday.
“I've been down here for 14 years and Argentina are always a very strong side,” said Wilson, whose side lost to France in the Plate final last year.
“It was definitely disappointing, but Argentina played very well,” he said.
“We were unlucky with some chances down on the goalline, but I have to give credit to Argentina. Hopefully we can step it up for Wednesday.”
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