Tomas Lavanini has earned the respect of teammates and opponents alike on the rugby field with his excellent displays at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Now the lock is aiming to register one more win, this time in the bronze medal match against South Africa. Los Pumas turned the Springboks over in the Rugby Championship in Durban earlier this year and Lavanini is sniffing blood once more. The man who has played in all but one of his country’s World Cup matches in England (sat out against Namibia) says: ‘ We are a bit hurt by losing the opportunity to be in the final, but the captain has helped us to get up and focus on our next goal – the match against South Africa for the bronze medal.’
On Monday the Argentines enjoyed a recovery session before preparations start in earnest for Friday’s fixture against the South Africans. It is a shorter week but Lavanini is not too worried by that, saying: ‘It will be a nice party on Friday. Let’s face it in a big way. It is probably a quieter week from a physical standpoint but we cannot relax because we face a very tough opponent in South Africa. We have to do better (than we did against Australia). It often happens that when we go wrong, in the first 15 minutes we make up for it quite well but not this time. Being decisive will be important not only in this match but also for the development of the group. Yesterday (Sunday) we had a good match and dominated at times, especially in the second half, but they created the difference at the beginning and that was decisive.’
The blow of a semi-final defeat does not mean Daniel Hourcade’s side has not enjoyed this moment. Lavanini says: ‘I felt very good and I’m very happy. It was impressive by us and the truth is that I played the game without pressure because the group also makes you feel like that. It is a pity we could not give ourselves a final but I’m very happy. The goal now becomes the bronze medal, but it is also important to continue to enjoy the moment in which we live because you never know when you’ll have the opportunity to play in this situation again.’
Hourcade’s charges will resume training on Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s captain’s run.
Photo credit: Prensa UAR