Loffreda wary of ‘difficult’ Ireland

ARGENTINA said they had achieved the perfect result in the 63-3 defeat of Namibia ahead of Sunday’s crucial clash with Ireland which will decide both side’s World Cup fate.

The win left the Pumas with a record of three wins from three games played after having notched up other victories over France (17-12) and Georgia (33-3) and in pole position in the “group of death.”

Argentina’s place as either number one or two in the group will now be decided by the result of their final game against the under-par Irish in Paris, with France expected to beat Georgia in their game on the same day and gain a bonus point.

Crucially, the team that finishes second overall in the pool are drawn against tournament favourites New Zealand in the quarter-finals in Cardiff, while the top team will likely play either Scotland or Italy.

“We’ve won three matches so far, but we still have the Ireland game ahead and that will be truly difficult,” said Argentina coach Marcelo Loffreda. “We know what Ireland are capable of and when they play seriously, as they showed against France, we can see what we need to do.”

Loffreda added that preparation for the Ireland match would be geared around trying to rid his team of basic ball-handling errors that marred the opening 30 minutes of the match against Namibia.

“Next weekend is a new challenge, and we can’t lose one moment in preparation or concentration. We have to be up to scratch.

“There were a few errors in control, passing and catching, and we need to improve our precision.

“We’ll be training on the quality not intensity of the game. We’ve already achieved the intensity in our game.

“We need to prepare our tactics and strategy and eliminate the errors before the next game.”

Veteran captain Agustin Pichot, in his fourth World Cup, said that Namibia had been no easy pushover.

“All teams have been physically present in this World Cup. Rugby is a game of contact, and that is obvious from the games against Georgia and Namibia. There were a lot of knocks,” he said.

The Stade Francais scrum-half admitted that the team had been “overly ambitious” early on against the Africans.

“We didn’t find our attacking line early on. And although we had 75 percent of ball possession, we made errors.

“Our fate lies in our own hands. We went out to play, had the conviction of playing well for Argentina, not Ireland or France.

“We had talks about preparing for Ireland straight away in the changing room.

“People were talking before the World Cup about us not qualifying, but now it looks like we’re going to be top of the pool.

“We’re going to try to win the match because we want to be top of the pool.”

Argentina scorers: Tries: Albacete, Leguizamon 2, M. Contepomi, F. Contepomi, Pedro Tiesi, Corleto, Penalty, Todeschini. Cons: F. Contepomi 4, Todeschini 2. Pens: F. Contepomi 2.

ARGENTINA: Corleto, Senillosa, Pedro Tiesi, M. Contepomi, Agulla, F. Contepomi, Pichot, Roncero, Basualdo, Hasan, C. Fernandez Lobbe, Albacete, Ostiglia, Martin Hernandez, Leguizamon.

Replacements: Miras for Corleto (65), Todeschini for F. Contepomi (61), Fernandez Miranda for Pichot (54), Scelzo for Roncero (66), Longo Elia for Leguizamon (60).

Namibia scorers: Pens: Schreuder.

NAMIBIA: Bock, Mouton, Grobler, Powell, Africa, Schreuder, Jantjies, Redelinghuys, Meyer, Visser, Kazombiaze, Esterhuize, MacKenzie, Burger, du Plessis.

Replacements: van Zyl for Bock (53), van Tonder for Schreuder (73), Lensing for Visser (40), Senekal for Kazombiaze (61), Horn for MacKenzie (47).

Referee: S Dickinson (Australia).

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