Argentina had to settle for fourth place at the 2015 Rugby World Cup after a 24-13 defeat in Friday’s bronze medal match at the Olympic Stadium in London to South Africa. Afterwards Los Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade confessed the Springboks were the better team on the night, as much as he would have loved overall glory at the tournament. This was the second time the Argentines had reached the semi-finals of the World Cup after also doing so in 2007, when they eventually finished third.
Hourcade and his men have also been nominated by World Rugby for the annual awards for team and coach of the year. The South American says: ‘This World Cup was a huge dream. I enjoyed it and everyone (else) really enjoyed it. On the nomination of World Rugby, after a game like today is not the time to talk about it. I’ll just say it’s a pride and an honor, not personally but for a large group and recognition of our project as a staff that has worked hard.’ The Pumas boss says that despite his side’s great showing in England, there is still a long way to go: ‘We still have much to improve, but we showed that we are capable of beating the (sport’s) powers and this is going to help much (going forward). What comes with this team is that there is no ceiling. There is much room to grow. I would also like to extend a special thanks to the people who have supported us.’
Hourcade gave credit to the Springboks on the night: ‘Today South Africa was clearly dominant and had supremacy in the breakdown and that made it hard for us to get enough momentum to move forward. They controlled us well. Simply, they were better than us. They were very strong and we could not solve this problem. The great virtue of the South Africans today was their defence.’ Even so the head coach applauded his team for never giving up, saying: ‘Even without playing well, the team always looked for the try, with dedication and enthusiasm. We needed that try. It was a reward for the effort although the game’s outcome was not what we wanted. The guys played a great World Cup. It would have been nice to have played a better match today, but it was not to be. This team will be remembered as one who left everything out there and tried to play with more offensive power. It is an idea that we began working on long ago and was reflected very well in this World Cup. Hopefully you will remember us as a team that paved the way for a new way of doing things for Argentina.’
Few would argue that last point.
Photo credit: Rodrigo Vergara/UAR