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Legendary Contepomi bids farewell

Sun, 06 Oct 2013 16:35
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He's a legend of this jersey
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Pumas great Felipe Contepomi was not too dejected after the Wallabies spoiled his Test swansong with a 54-12 win in Rosario on Saturday.

The Rugby Championship clash at Estadio Gigante de Arroyito brought down the curtain on Contepomi’s illustrious international career.

The utility back, who made his Test debut for Argentina against Chile back in 1998, played in his record 87th Test and retired as the Pumas’ top points-scorer of all time having accumulated 651 Test points and broken Hugo Porta's record of 590 points.

Contepomi conceded that Saturday’s result was frustrating but said he was grateful for everything he achieved in his 15-year Test career.

"I'm fortunate for all I've experienced in rugby," said the 36-year-old.

"We failed again, making individual errors.

"You're playing against the three best [teams in the world].

"Just when you think you're getting close, they pull away.

"We have to keep working."

Contepomi propelled the Pumas to a best ever third-place finish in the 2007 World Cup in France, where he finished as the second highest points-scorer in the tournament behind Springbok fullback Percy Montgomery.

He kicked four penalties as the Pumas upset France 17-12 in the World Cup opener, scored 11 points in both the 30-15 pool victory over Ireland and the 19-13 quarterfinal win over Scotland and scored two tries to inspire Argentina to a 34-10 win over the hosts in the third-place play-off.

He was subsequently nominated as one of five candidates for the 2007 IRB Player of the Year award, which was won by Springbok wing Bryan Habana.

Contepomi helped Leinster lift the European Cup in 2009 and also represented Bristol, Leinster, Toulon, Stade Francais and the Barbarians.

Contepomi will see out the year playing for First Division club Newman in the Buenos Aires amateur club championship.

Pumas captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe hailed Contepomi as a legend.

"He's a legend of this jersey," said Fernandez Lobbe.

He added that they let themselves down against the Wallabies.

"They played a great match, great rugby, they were able to display the game they hadn't managed in the previous matches in the tournament.

"They pounced on our loss of possession and failures in defence and then it becomes difficult to chase the score the whole match.”

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