The Pumas may already be the unluckiest team in this year’s Rugby World Cup. Their Pool (Pool D) contains three of the top six countries in the world, and they will have to compete with hosts France and in-form Ireland to qualify.
For a team that has defeated all of the European nations in recent years, and given the Southern Hemisphere teams a run for their money, they have been a victim of the IRB’s World Cup seeding system.
Nevertheless, they will arrive in France on the back of two Test victories against the Irish and a record of 9 wins in 11 matches – including ths scalps of England, Ireland, Wales and Italy. Their two defeats were a 1-point loss to France and a 6-point loss to New Zealand.
The experience in the side will be in their favour. Led by veteran captain and scrum-half, Agustin Pichot, the Pumas boast the fearsome hooker Mario Ledesma, the gigantic Lobbe brothers, Ignacio Fernandez and Juan Martin Fernandez, Leinster legend Felipe Contepomi as well as the precocious Stade Francais full-back Juan Martin Hernandez.
Their coach also has a wise head, and will be hoping to finish his tenure on a high note before he heads for East Midlands airport to take up his new role as the Leicester Tigers coach.
Pool D may be the most closely fought World Cup group, with all of the three big teams standing a chance of qualifying. Argentina certainly does not want to be the one to miss out.
Have a look at the Juan Martin Hernandez interview below and let me know what you think of Argentina’s chances.