Walking early: Santiago Phelan was due to step down as Argentina chief in December, but left Monday

Walking early: Santiago Phelan was due to step down as Argentina chief in December, but left on Monday

By Alan Dymock

YESTERDAY ARGENTINA head coach Santiago Phelan stepped down from his post following another winless Rugby Championship campaign, with the move coming months before Phelan was due to depart.

No reason has been given for the coach severing his ties and the timing is unfortunate as the Pumas are set to tour England, Wales and Italy this November. In a statement from the UAR, the Pumas simply said: “Santiago Phelan will not continue his role as head coach of Los Pumas after six years.”

Pumas' Johnno?: Ledesma

Los Pumas’ Johnno?: Mario Ledesma

Under Phelan the Pumas won 13 games and lost 31, with one draw coming against South Africa last year.

A replacement could be named as soon as Tuesday. There is the usual buzz around Super Rugby coaches, with Michael Cheika a name used in dispatches, but while Jake White has mentioned he would like to return to international rugby he has only just taken up a post with the Sharks in Durban.

Looking at Argentine options, the leader of the Pampas XV team that competes in the Vodacom Cup, Daniel Hourcade is a stand-out candidate, while in Europe there has been some chatter about Stade Francais’ Gonzalo Quesada and Montpellier assistant and former talismanic captain Mario Ledesma.

If you are looking for an extreme outside option you could wish upon a star that Sir Graham Henry fancies a crack having spent the last season ‘advising’ the Pumas.

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