Pumas grind out win over Georgia
Argentina secured their progress to the quarterfinals from Pool B at the World Cup after an unconvincing 25-7 win over a tough Georgia side who weren't intimidated against the bigger opposition.
The Pumas only needed one point after Scotland's heartbreaking late 16-12 loss to England on Saturday, but they made it heavy going finally wearing down the plucky Georgians three tries to one.
The 2007 semifinalists were out of sorts in a muddling opening half trailing 7-5 at half-time before posting 20 unanswered points to win convincingly enough in the end in what seemed to be just a case of job done.
"Georgia played really well in the first half, we couldn't score when we had to and they put us to the limit," said skipper Felipe Contempomi, who is nursing a rib cartilage injury.
"We tried to improve our game in the second half and thankfully we scored some tries and we won, but we have a lot to do in the next week."
It was Argentina's second win over Georgia at the World Cup, having beaten them 33-3 in Lyon at the 2007 tournament.
The Argentineans struggled for any fluency in a mistake-ridden first half with Contepomi adding to the Pumas' problems by missing all his first three goal kicks.
But it was the Pumas who finally scored first eight minutes before the break.
Flank Julio Farias Cabello gave wing Juan Imhoff some room on the left wing and he pushed off fullback Malkhaz Urjukashvili to score the opening points.
But the Georgians hit back minutes before the interval when right wing Alexander Todua kicked ahead for flyhalf Lasha Khmaladze to regather and score a smart try.
Urjukashvili kicked Georgia in front with the conversion.
Contempomi, who was more involved in the second half, edged the Pumas in front with two penalties but he settled the outcome with a 69th minute try.
The Pumas swept downfield off a scrum with Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino and Horacio Agulla taking play to within five metres of the Georgian line.
Four swift passes to the right and Contepomi stepped inside a couple of tacklers to score the Pumas' second try and a 18-7 lead.
The Stade Francais playmaker was hauled off minutes later to ice his injured ribs and prepare for next weekend's quarterfinal with the All Blacks.
Argentina grabbed their third try in the final minute though replacement back Agustin Gosio, who swooped on to a grubber from Imhoff to score in the right corner.
Man of the Match: Argentina's Felipe Contepomi is a contender for his bravery playing through the pain barrier and skill in the backline, while Juan Manuel Leguizamón did a great job in both the tight and loose phases up front. However, out vote goes to Georgia No.8 Mamuka Gorgodze who was outstanding in every area of the field once again, be it making tackles or charging forward with ball in hand.
Moment of the Match: Georgia's try by flyhalf Lasha Khmaladze that put his team into the lead just before half-time to offer a glimmer of hope that there could be an upset.
Villain of the Match: Nobody.
Tries: Imhoff, Contemponi, Gosio
Cons: Contemponi, Bosch
Pens: Contemponi 2
Argentina: 15 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Felipe Contepomi (captain), 11 Juan Jose Imhoff, 10 Santiago Fernández, 9 Nicolás Vergallo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Mario Ledesma Arocena, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Martín Scelzo, 18 Tomas Vallejos, 19 Alejandro Campos, 20 Alfredo Lalanne, 21 Agustín Gosio, 22 Martín Rodríguez.
Georgia: 15 Malkhaz Urjukashvili, 14 Lekso Gugava, 13 David Kacharava, 12 Tedo Zibzibadze, 11 Alexander Todua, 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 9 Irakli Abuseridze (captain), 8 Mamuka Gorgodze, 7 Viktor Kolelishvili, 6 Giorgi Chkhaidze, 5 Vakhtang Maisuradze, 4 Levan Datunashvili, 3 David Zirakashvili, 2 Akvsenti Giorgadze, 1 Vasil Kakovin.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Goderdzi Shvelidze, 18 Giorgi Nemsadze, 19 Ilia Zedginidze, 20 Bidzina Samkharadze, 21 Merab Kvirikashvili, 22 Lasha Malaguradze.
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Dave Pearson (England), Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
TMO: Giulio De Santis (Italy)
AFP and rugby365.com