Pool D - Argentina

The Pumas suffered several injuries in recent weeks, have lost three mid-field players and will struggle to emerge from Pool D simply because they don't have the necessary player strength and depth.  An extremely abrasive side at home as demonstrated during the summer internationals, not many teams can travel to Buenos Aires in a hostile environment and win. However, Argentina, like many teams, are not the same force when they play away from home.


Historically few points have separated Ireland and Argentina, so their match could come down to a goal kicking duel.  Undoubtedly the best scrummers in the world, Argentina has five props that would make the Irish side. The second row and back row are weaker, and Ireland will target the Pumas in line out and the back row. Ireland will try to reduce scrums. O'Gara will be instructed to place the ball so they must kick for touch allowing O'Connell and O'Callaghan to target Argentina's weak second row pairing - strong physical men in the air but not as good as Ireland or France.






Coach: Marcello Loffreda (Arg)    
Captain: Agustin Pichot
IRB Ranking: 5      
Appearances: 1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003
Odds to win: 50/1
Number of clubs: 317
Number of Registered players: N/A


Matches    MT    W    D    L
                18    7    0    11
Points    For    Against
              433    432
Scores    Tr    Con    Pen    DG
               40    26    58    5 



Key Players



Agustin Pichot

Pichot is a hero even in a soccer mad country. Remains a fabulous player on the break even though he has lost some of the pace that made him a formidable opponent for years when he was playing in the English premiership. A charismatic player for Argentina who Ireland and France will have to watch around the fringes of the scrum.


 J. Martin Hernandez

Hernandez plays at Stade Francais and is a world class full back who along with Chris Latham is one of the best counter attaking players in the world. Ireland will avoid giving him posession. So while O'Gara will be instructed to kick the ball, he will be told to do so over the wingers rather than into Hernandez.


Felipe Comptepomi

Among the best out halves in the world where creative play-making and goal kicking are concerned. But his talent may be negated should he play in the centre where Argentina lacks talent and where he will likely partner his brother. This will negate much of his ability and flare. He knows the defence patterns employed by Ireland and knows the strengths and weaknesses of Ireland's backs.



Rugby in Romania



Los Pumas are the top rugby team in the Americas. The crest on the team strip depicts a jaguar, which was mistaken for a puma by a reporter. The name was adopted by the Argentinans, but the picture still shows a jaguar. The first match played in the country was in 1873. Certain areas of the country are noted for the popularity of the sport, in particular around Buenos Aires and the rural Tucuman province. Rugby in Argentina is still largely amateur, resulting in many players opting to play with European clubs.