Argentina, who are nicknamed Los Pumas, are currently ranked eighth in the world, are considered the best South American rugby nation. The Argentines played their first international match against the British Lions in 1910. They have participated in all seven World Cups since the inaugural tournament in 1987 but have struggled having failed to reach the knock out stage four times in their first five tournaments.
The going has been much better and in 2007 the South Americans achieved their highest finish when they were third in France. The impressive march included a pool win over Ireland and twin victories against the host nation. On March 2008 Argentina reached its highest ranking when it sat in third position. Current coach Daniel Hourcade is the 33rd man to occupy the hot seat and he has led the Argentines in the Rugby Championship as well as to famous wins against Australia last year as well as a maiden triumph over South Africa this year.
Agustin Creevy is the current captain. Felipe Contepomi holds both the most caps and most points scored – 87 and 861 respectively. Jose Maria Nunez Piossek has the most tries with 30.
Hector Silva – who played at flank and captained the side 15 times from 1967 to 1971, has the highest win percentage for a captain with 83.3%. Of these men only Creevy is in the current setup but that does not mean Argentina is weak.
The South Americans are favoured to progress from Pool C and reach the quarter-finals for the third straight tournament. In their group they will face New Zealand, Georgia, Tonga and Namibia. Should Hourcade’s men progress to the quarters they will likely face either Ireland or France and will certainly fancy their chances against either. Los Pumas kick off their campaign against the All Blacks at Wembley on September 20.
Argentina Rugby World Cup squad
Forwards: Matthias Alemanno, Marcos Ayerza, Agustin Creevy, Matias Diaz, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Mariano Galarza, Ramiro Herrera, Facundo Isa, Thomas Lavanini, Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Paul Matera, Julian Montoya, Lucas Noguera, Javier Ortega Desio, Guido Petti Pagadizabal, Leonardo Senatore, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Backs: Horacio Agulla, Marcelo Bosch, Cordero Santiago, Thomas Cubelli, Jerónimo de la Fuente, Lucas González Amorosino, Santiago González Iglesias, Juan Martin Hernandez, Juan Imhoff, Martin Landajo, Matías Moroni, Nicolas Sanchez, Juan Pablo Socino, Joaquín Tuculet.