Argentina head coach Daniel Hourcade on learning from defeat and returning to Twickenham
Argentina beat South Africa on home soil for the first time in round two of the Rugby Championship and they will be part of another historic event next month.
The Pumas take on Australia at Twickenham on Saturday 8 October – the first time a Rugby Championship match has been staged in the northern hemisphere.
And expect Argentina to stick to the running style that has reaped such rewards in the past year. After reaching the semi-finals of last year’s World Cup, they opened this year’s Rugby Championship with a narrow 30-23 defeat in South Africa and then bounced back to beat the Springboks 24-23.
Both matches were full of drama, a 78th-minute Warren Whiteley try securing the opening win for the Boks and a late penalty from Santiago Iglesias Gonzalez allowing Argentina to get their revenge.
Pumas head coach Daniel Hourcade believes past experiences – like the World Cup semi-final defeat by the Wallabies – will help his team continue their growth.
“We left the field with nothing else to give, and we lost against a great team,” said Hourcade. “This experience was a strong lesson for us, we were beaten by a great rival but I believe it was the price we paid for our inexperience. And that inexperience has turned into experience. So we hope it has a positive effect in our future performance.
“You learn from your defeats, maybe even more than from your victories. Going back to that semi-final, I think that match made us grow a lot and it will surely be of great help to face what is to come.”
Hourcade was touched by the support the Pumas received throughout the World Cup, particularly after they ran Ireland off their feet in the quarter-finals, and insists the team will aim to play “to the limit of our possibilities”.
They have been helped by the inclusion of an Argentine team – the Jaguares – in Super Rugby for the first time this year.
“We understood that the credit was given to our game, our style, the identity we have been building for a long time now,” he said.
“Beyond the results, the team won a place in the heart of the supporters. What I liked best is that many of them do not come precisely from the world of rugby and that is why we are very proud of what we have accomplished.
“The inclusion of an Argentine team in the Super Rugby competition gave our players the opportunity to grow individually and now we hope to be able to capitalise on that individual development and show it with los Pumas.
“In order to win more matches in the Rugby Championship, we need to play to the limit of our possibilities.
“We are well aware that we still have to work to be at the level of the other teams participating in the tournament, but we also know that we are capable of playing good rugby and, as a consequence, perhaps we will get to achieve victories.”
Doing so at Twickenham – in the rematch against World Cup rivals Australia – would be extra special. “It is incredible (playing at Twickenham), a great honour indeed. It will surely be fantastic to play at that stadium, and special for rugby worldwide,” he added.
“Having the opportunity to relive the World Cup semi-finals just adds to the emotion of the event.”
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