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Confident Pumas aim to kick on

Mon, 12 Nov 2012 11:58
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It shows we are going in the right direction and that we are improving as a nation
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Argentina prop Marcos Ayerza is looking forward to "massive" games against France and Ireland buoyed by the Pumas' "huge achievement" in defeating Wales.

The Pumas launched their European tour in style with a 26-12 win against the Six Nations Grand Slam champions in Cardiff on Saturday where they outscored the World Cup semifinalists two tries to nil for only their second victory in the Welsh capital.

Wings Juan Imhoff and Gonzalo Camacho crossed in the second half as Argentina overcame the early setback of seeing veteran centre Felipe Contepomi go off with a knee injury in what could be the 35-year-old's final Test.

Argentina arrived for the tour fresh from a debut season in the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship where they competed well against world champions New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.

"Playing games against the best sides in the world and playing at a high tempo and intensity can only help us to develop," said Leicester's Ayerza.

"You saw that against Wales. We played 80 minutes at a very good intensity, and this win is massive for us.

"It shows we are going in the right direction and that we are improving as a nation. To beat Wales at the Millennium Stadium is a huge achievement, one that we are very proud of.

"This year has been our first season in the Rugby Championship, and there is no doubt we will continue to improve.

"Now, we have two more massive games coming up against France and Ireland. They will be tough, but this win will have given us extra confidence," he added.

Argentina coach Santiago Phelan, who played in the Pumas team that won in Cardiff 11 years ago, said: "We are very happy with our performance.

"The team took the initiative in the first 20 minutes and played very well in the second half, moving the ball and keeping possession.

"The intensity of the game was very high, but the Argentinian players have had a good experience playing in the Rugby Championship and have learned to play at this intensity.

"It was a good step forward for our team in terms of intensity and tempo and scoring points, which was one of our major goals for this game," he said.

AFP

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