Argentina national rugby union team


Argentina national rugby union team

Infobox rugby team
country =Argentina


union = Unión Argentina de Rugby
nickname = Los Pumas
emblem = Yaguareté (the South American jaguar)
captain = Felipe Contepomi
coach = flagicon|ARG Santiago Phelan and
flagicon|ARG Fabián Turnescite news|url=http://www.ole.clarin.com/notas/2008/02/21/rugby/01612206.html |title=Le buscaron pareja |first=Ezequiel |last=Iribarren | publisher="ole.clarin.com" |language=Spanish |date=2008-02-21 |accessdate=2008-02-22]
from = 2008
caps = Lisandro Arbizu (86)
top scorer = Hugo Porta (656)
most tries = José María Núñez Piossek (29)
pattern_la1 = _whiteshoulders
pattern_b1 = _skyblue_hoops
pattern_ra1 = _whiteshoulders
pattern_so1 = _skyblue_hoops
leftarm1 = 87CEFA
body1 =
rightarm1 = 87CEFA
shorts1 = FFFFFF
socks1 =
pattern_la2 =
pattern_b2 = _thingreysides
pattern_ra2 =
pattern_so2 =
leftarm2 =808080
body2 = 000080
rightarm2 =808080
shorts2 = 000000
socks2 = 808080
first = ru-rt|ARG 3 - 28 flagicon|GBR British Isles
(12 June, 1910)
bigwin = ru-rt|PAR 0 - 152 ru|ARG
(1 May, 2002)
bigloss = ru-rt|NZL 93 - 8 ru|ARG
(21 June, 1997)
World cup apps = 6
year = 1987
best = Third, "2007"

The Argentina national rugby team, nicknamed "Los Pumas", represents Argentina in international rugby union matches.. The team, which plays in sky blue and white jerseys, is organised by the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR, from the Spanish: "Unión Argentina de Rugby").

Argentina played its first international rugby match in 1910 against a touring British Isles team. It is today considered one of the top rugby nations in the world and the best in the Americas by a considerable degree, and has competed at every Rugby World Cup staged since the first in 1987.

Although rugby union is nowhere near as popular as football in Argentina, the impressive results by "Los Pumas" since the 1999 World Cup, have nonetheless seen the sport's popularity grow exponentially. Argentina has managed from its appearance in the international arena to accomplish several upset victories, and have been a tough contender when playing in Buenos Aires. An upset victory over the hosts France in the first game of the 2007 World Cup, took Argentina to fourth in the IRB World Rankings. The team were undefeated in their pool, and reached the semi-finals for the first time, beating Scotland 19-13 in the quarter-final. Despite being beaten 37-13 by South Africa in the semi-finals, they defeated France for a second time in the tournament to claim the third place. As of 17 March 2008 the team is at an all-time high of third in the IRB World Rankings.

However, Argentina is currently the only International Rugby Board (IRB) tier one classed nation that has no regular competition, such as the Six Nations and the Tri Nations. Obstacles to this include international restrictions, Argentina's relative isolation from other major Rugby powers, and the fact that domestic rugby in the country remains amateur.cite news|url=http://timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/rugby/article1434537.ece |title=Ambitious Argentina poised to secure TriNations place |publisher="The Sunday Times" |first=Nick |last=Cain |date=2007-02-25 |accessdate=2007-02-26] However, an IRB conference held the month after the 2007 World Cup saw a breakthrough. The UAR agreed to launch a professional structure, with considerable support from the IRB, with eventual admission to the Tri Nations possible around 2012, although that timetable has been viewed by some as unrealistic. Despite several close matches, first time wins over the world's top teams New Zealand and South Africa also remain elusive as of 2008.

After Marcelo Loffreda left following the 2007 Rugby World Cup to take up the head coaching job at English club Leicester Tigers, the UAR spent nearly five months searching for a successor until opting for a two-coach setup, with former "Pumas" Santiago Phelan and Fabián Turnes taking over. The Pumas' current captain is Felipe Contepomi.

History

Early years

The first rugby union match in Argentina was played in 1873, the game having been brought to Argentina by the British immigrants. In 1899, four clubs in Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, got together to form the River Plate Rugby Football Union. In 1910 a side managed by Oxford University — supposedly the England national team but included three Scottish players — toured Argentina: the people of Argentina termed it the "Combined British", also known as a "Great Britain XV". Argentina made their international debut against this team, losing 28-3 on 12th July in Buenos Aires.

In 1927 the British Isles toured Argentina, with the Lions winning all nine encounters; the tour did however become a financial success for Argentine rugby. Of the nine encounters, four tests were played, which Argentina lost by over 30 points in all. All the games took place in Buenos Aires. Five years passed until another international team would return to Argentina, which would be the Junior Springboks in 1932, playing a two match series. Argentina lost both.

In 1936 the British Isles visited Argentina again, winning all ten of their matches and only conceding nine points in the whole tour. Only one test was played on the tour, with Argentina losing 23-0. The following month Argentina left the country to play their first away tests - against Chile in Valparaiso. Argentina won the first test (and their first game), 29-0. The second match was won by a similar margin as well. Two years later Argentina hosted Chile, which resulted in Argentina winning by 30 points.

Post war

In the late 1940s Argentina hosted a combined Oxford & Cambridge side, which defeated them in both games of a two match series. In 1949 Argentina hosted their biggest nation yet - France, and although they lost both tests, the scorelines were very close on both occasions. To mark the 1951 Pan-American Games, Argentina organised the first South American tournament in Buenos Aires with Chile, Uruguay and Brazil taking part. Argentina dominated the inaugural tournament with Chile putting up the only challenge before losing 13-3 to the Pumas, whose thrashing of Uruguay 62-0 and the Brazilian team 72-0 highlighted their dominance in South America.

In 1952, Argentina played an Ireland XV in a non-cap international held in Buenos Aires. Argentina lost the first Test by six points but raised the bar in the second meeting in Buenos Aires to draw 3-3. It wasn't a win, but it was the first time Argentina had avoided defeat against a major European team and it was celebrated as a victory. As a result of the Irish tour, the UAR could not afford to host a visit from the Oxford & Cambridge team the following year. In 1954, they played host to France. The result was much the same as in 1949 with France proving far superior, winning 22-8 in the first Test before a 30-3 thrashing in the second, both of which were played in Buenos Aires.

In 1956, Argentina hosted Oxford & Cambridge again, but lost both of the fixtures 25-6 and 11-3. This was followed by a 4 to nil win over Peru, and a 50-3 win over Uruguay, though Argentina then lost to Chile for the first time. At the second South American tournament, in 1958, Argentina accounted for Uruguay 50-3 and Peru 44-0. And despite some drinking before their game against the hosts Chile in Santiago, Argentina's players still emerged victorious 14-0. In 1959 the Junior Springboks returned to Buenos Aires, winning both fixtures 14-6, and 20-6.

ixties, seventies and eighties

In 1960, France visited Buenos Aires for a three match series with Argentina. The hosts still could not get their first win over the French, with France winning all three tests 37-3, 12-3 and 29-6. The following year Argentina again showed their dominance on a continental level, winning the South American tournament held in Montevideo, by beating Brazil 60-0, Uruguay 36-3 and Chile 11-3. In 1964 a new version of the South American tournament was played in San Pablo and Argentina again demonstrated their dominance with victories over Uruguay 25-6, Brazil 30-5 and Chile 30-8.

Back in the late 1960s the four home unions began tours to Argentina, and after Wales struggled in both Tests in Buenos Aires in 1967 it soon became clear that Argentina would be a difficult place to win a series. Scotland became their next victims when the Pumas won the first test in 1968. The Scots won the second test two weeks later, but it was close.

The first trip of the Argentina national rugby team to the other side of the Atlantic was to Rhodesia and South Africa in 1965. The team acquired the nickname "Pumas", from a local journalist after their first tour match, a defeat to Salisbury. The book "Be Pumas" recalls the Wackley Farmer of Rhodesia magazine commenting on the emblem embroidered on the tourists' jerseys was like a puma - rather than a jaguar. After defeats to Salisbury and Northern Transvaal, the first win came against Western Transvaal, another against South West Africa Country Districts and finally against the Southern Universities. The Pumas' landmark win against the Junior Springboks, by 11-6. They were welcomed home to Buenos Aires by a huge crowd; the tour had harvested 11 victories, one draw and four defeats over two months.

A match was then organised against the French champions Section Paloise, although the match was remembered for the uproar and misconduct of both teams rather than the Argentine victory. Then Oxford & Cambridge arrived, a team that the Pumas had never beaten. The first match finished level at 19-19 and the second saw the University students triumph 9-3. 1965 ended with a match against Chile, which the Pumas won 23-11.

In 1966, the Gazelles arrived, a kind of a Junior Springboks B team. The visitors took two victories 9-3 and 20-15. In September 1967, Argentina played in Buenos Aires in the South American Championship with victories over Uruguay 38-6 and Chile 18-0. Wales arrived in Buenos Aires in 1968 and for the first time in their history the Pumas were able to triumph in a series, winning the first match 9-5 and drawing the second 9-9. The first great decade in Argentine rugby came to a close with the arrival of Scotland in 1969. The first match saw a big Argentine victory 20-3, but in the second game the visitors narrowly won 6-3.

Through the 1970s, Argentina confirmed its steady rise towards top-tier status under the impulse of its first truly world-class player, fly-half Hugo Porta. During their European tour in 1976, the "Pumas" came tantalizingly close to a grandiose victory at Arms Park over Wales, then the dominant force in the Northern Hemisphere. Only a Phil Bennett penalty on a foul by Gabrielo Travaglini at the death allowed the Welsh to escape with a 20-19 victory.

The early 1980s also saw the formation of the South American Jaguars, a team dominated by Argentine players, which played eight matches against the Springboks including one win at Bloemfontein in 1982.

Late 20th century

From the late seventies to the early nineties, Argentina never lost the two matches of a series held in Buenos Aires, in a period that included victories against France, England, Australia and a 21-21 tie to the All Blacks, which is probably the most important result ever obtained by the Pumas, thanks to a terrific performance by Hugo Porta who scored all of Argentina's points.

By the time the first Rugby World Cup was held in Australia and New Zealand, in 1987, Argentines were confident its national team would at least make it to quarter-finals. However, an unexpected loss to Fiji prevented the team from clinching the first round. Argentina won their first ever World Cup game when they defeated Italy in Christchurch.

On the following years, the retirement of many of Argentina's most experienced players, and the defection of many others to professional leagues (it should be mentioned that rugby union is still an amateur sport in Argentina and UAR's regulations of the time prevented any player who played professionally from playing for the national team) left Argentina with an inexperienced side.

This led to disappointing performances in the 1991 and 1995 World Cups, albeit in the latter Argentina presented a powerful forward pack which was praised by the international media. Argentina's tighthead props, Patricio Noriega and Christian Martin, and hooker, Federico Méndez, went to play in England, Australia and South Africa respectively after their performance. Noriega even ended up playing for the Wallabies.

In 1999, a more experienced and somewhat under-rated Argentina made it to the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time. They had finished second in their group to Wales, and went onto the quarter-final play-offs. After a vibrant 28-24 win against Ireland, they were eliminated by France, 28-47, in the quarter-final. Gonzalo Quesada was the highest overall points scorer in the tournament with 102.

The new millennium

In April 2000, Marcelo Loffreda was appointed coach of Argentina. Argentina missed out on progressing to the 2003 World Cup quarter-finals due to a 15-16 loss to Ireland in a nail-biting game. It was noted that because of the fixture list, Argentina had to play four games in a fortnight, whereas Ireland played the same number of games in four weeks. It was suggested that Ireland, as a major nation, would not accept a similar fixture list, and that this may have played a role in the outcome of the game.

Since then they have shown good form, splitting a two-test home series with Wales in June 2004; handing defending Six Nations champion France a 24-14 loss in November 2004 at Marseille, where France had never lost before; and, later in the same tour, losing 21-19 to Ireland on a last-minute drop goal. After returning to Argentina, the Pumas lost 39-7 to the visiting Springboks of South Africa; however, the Pumas were without 10 regular starters who had returned to their club teams in Europe.

Perhaps the one of the Pumas' best matches in recent years came on 23 May, 2005 in Cardiff, when they played the British and Irish Lions in the Lions' send-off match for their tour to New Zealand. The Pumas were forced to choose a side of second- and even third-choice players (prop Mauricio Reggiardo, later voted man of the match, came out of retirement for the game) as 25 players from their selection pool were unavailable due to club commitments. However, a Pumas performance widely hailed as inspired, combined with lacklustre play by a mostly second-choice Lions side, put Argentina on the verge of one of the greatest upsets in recent rugby history. It took a Jonny Wilkinson penalty at the death—and arguably the decision by Australian referee Stuart Dickinson to allow eight minutes of added time at the end of the match—for the Lions to salvage a 25-25 draw and avoid a humiliating defeat.

When the Springboks returned to Argentina in November of that year, they faced a much stronger Pumas side, with most of their European-based players present. The Pumas took a 20-16 lead into the half-time break at Vélez Sársfield. While they faded in the second half, they were not embarrassed, losing 34-23. The following week, the Pumas travelled to Murrayfield to take on Scotland and won a closely-fought match 23-19. This marked the fifth consecutive time since 1990 that "Los Pumas" had defeated Scotland. They claimed another Six Nations scalp a week later, defeating Italy 39-22 in Genoa.

In the 2006 mid-year Tests, Argentina welcomed a Wales side for a two-Test tour. "Los Pumas" swept the series, marking their first Test series win over Wales. The first test, on June 11, was a closely-fought affair, won 27-25. It was historically significant as the first Argentina Test ever to be held in Patagonia. The visitors were welcomed very warmly, as the match was held in Puerto Madryn, one of the major towns in an area that was settled by Welsh in the 1860s and where Welsh is still frequently spoken. The second Test at Vélez Sársfield on June 17 saw the Pumas take a 45-13 lead before two late Welsh tries cut the final margin to 45-27. This did, however, mark Argentina's largest win ever over Wales. "Los Pumas" next entertained the world's top team, the All Blacks, at Vélez Sársfield the following week. The All Blacks won 25-19, but not until surviving an all-out Pumas assault on their try line in the final minutes.

On 9th July, Argentina defeated Uruguay 26-0 in a Round 3a match during the Americas qualifying for the 2007 World Cup. Being their second win during that stage, Argentina moved directly into the 2007 World Cup, taking the Americas 1 position. They joined Pool D, along with hosts France and Ireland.

The 2006 end-of-year Tests began with a bang for "Los Pumas", as they went into Twickenham and handed nrut|England a 25-18 defeat. The error-riddled England side were booed off the Twickenham pitch after they crashed to their seventh consecutive Test defeat, equalling their worst ever run. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/6133484.stm |title=England 18-25 Argentina |publisher=BBC |date=2006-11-11 |accessdate=2007-06-02] Further success followed for the Pumas, going on to defeat Italy in Rome and then coming within one point of achieving a similar result against France in Paris.

"Los Pumas" had been invited by the Belgian Rugby Federation to play their local games there in case of being accepted in an annual competition. [ [http://www.clarin.com/diario/2006/11/27/deportes/d-02703.htm Oferta para ser local en Bélgica ] ] Soon after they also received invitations from Spain, Switzerland, France and Portugal. [ [http://www.clarin.com/diario/2007/01/26/um/m-01352006.htm A la UAR le llueven ofertas para la concentración de Los Pumas previa al Mundial] ]

In the meantime, "The Sunday Times" of London reported in February 2007 that the IRB was brokering a deal with SANZAR, the body that organises the Tri Nations, to admit "Los Pumas" to the competition as early as 2008. The story noted that logistical issues, specifically the distance between Argentina and Europe plus fixture congestion in Northern Hemisphere rugby, caused the Six Nations to baulk at admitting Argentina. The IRB was apparently convinced that the Tri Nations was the proper place for a Southern Hemisphere team, and has reportedly found South Africa strongly supporting the move and Australia not opposed. However, "The Sunday Times" indicated that the biggest stumbling block may well be the UAR itself, "some of whose members are deeply attached to amateurism." Eventually, by August of that year, it became clear that the competition would not be expanded until the key SANZAR media contract with News Corporation expires in 2010. An IRB spokesman, in revealing this news, not only noted the contract, but also Southern Hemisphere fixture congestion and the lack of a professional structure in Argentina as reasons that "Los Pumas" could not be admitted any sooner.cite web|url=http://www.rugbyrugby.com/tournaments/tri_nations/story_13807145000.php |title=Pumas will stay crouched until 2010 |publisher="RugbyRugby.com" |date=2007-08-13 |accessdate=2007-10-11]

2007 World Cup

"Los Pumas" began their final preparation for the 2007 World Cup with a two-test series against visiting Ireland, who was grouped against them in France. In the first test on 26th May at Santa Fe, they scored a 22–20 win on a last-minute drop goal by Felipe Contepomi. Both teams were heavily experimental, especially the Irish, with stars such as Brian O'Driscoll, Ronan O'Gara, Paul O'Connell and Gordon D'Arcy missing from the touring squad. The Pumas were themselves missing many stars who were playing that weekend in the final round of the 2006-07 Top 14 season in France. [cite web|url=http://irishrugby.ie/283_8251.php?PHPSESSID=646ba128a2708845c6954bf143d3c180 |title=First Test Preview: Argentina v Ireland |publisher=Irish Rugby Football Union |date=2007-05-25 |accessdate=2007-05-26] [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/irish/6691995.stm |title=Argentina 22-20 Ireland |publisher=BBC |date=2007-05-26 |accessdate=2007-05-26] The second test against Ireland was a 16-0 Pumas win at Vélez Sársfield on June 2. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/irish/6715723.stm |title=Argentina 16-0 Ireland |publisher=BBC |date=2007-06-02 |accessdate=2007-06-02] On June 9, "Los Pumas" completed a clean sweep of their mid-year tests with a 24–6 win over nrut|Italy in Mendoza. They split their final warmup tests, defeating neighbours nrut|Chile 70-14 at CASI in Buenos Aires on August 4 and losing to Wales at Millennium Stadium 27–20 on August 18.

At the World Cup, "Los Pumas" were drawn into the so-called pool of death, featuring two other teams ranked in the top six in the IRB rankings—Ireland and the hosts France. On top of this, they opened the World Cup at Stade de France against the French, marking the third consecutive World Cup in which they played against the host nation in the World Cup opener. In possibly one of their finest hours, [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/6984647.stm |title=Coach asks Argentina to stay calm |publisher="BBC Sport" |date=2007-09-08 |accessdate=2007-09-08] the Pumas took a 17-9 lead into the half, and held on for a surprising 17-12 win. The Pumas subsequently beat Georgia 33-3 on September 11 at the Stade de Gerland, Lyon. Argentina then went on to beat Namibia 63-3 in Marseille, the biggest winning margin in Argentine World Cup history. They then went on to secure a 30-15 victory against Ireland which ensured that they topped the group. They then defeated Scotland 19-13 in the quarter-final at the Stade de France. The Pumas' improbable run towards the Webb Ellis trophy ended in a comprehensive 37-13 defeat by the Springboks in the semi-final at Stade de France. However, the Pumas recovered to beat France for the second time in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, a 34-10 win in the 3rd/4th place playoff. The 3rd place showing for the Pumas in the 2007 World Cup was Argentina's best ever result in Rugby World Cup history, equal or better to the best showing by IRB founding nations Wales (who were 3rd in the 1987 Rugby World Cup), Scotland (who were 4th in the 1991 Rugby World Cup) and Ireland (which has never qualified for the Rugby World Cup semi-finals).

During their World Cup run, the normally football-crazed Argentines embraced the "Pumas" so much that "El Superclásico", the Buenos Aires football derby between Boca Juniors and River Plate that is normally the biggest event in Argentine sport, was rescheduled so that it would not conflict with the Pumas' quarter-final match. [cite news|url=http://sportal.co.nz/default.aspx/rugby-union-rwc-news-display/contepomis-field-of-dreams-36998 |title=Contepomi's field of dreams |author=PA Sport |publisher="Sportal.co.nz" |date=2007-10-09 |accessdate=2007-10-09] As the only major Spanish language country in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the Pumas also had considerable support from rugby fans in Spain, Uruguay, and other Latin American countries during their impressive five game winning streak.

After the 2007 World Cup

In November 2007, in the wake of Argentina's World Cup run, the future status of "Los Pumas" was a key topic of discussion at an IRB conference on the future worldwide growth of the sport. The decisions made at the conference regarding Argentina were: [cite press release|url=http://www.irb.com/newsmedia/mediazone/pressrelease/newsid=2021332.html#rugby+lays+foundations+continued+growth |title=Rugby lays foundations for continued growth |publisher=International Rugby Board |date=2007-11-30 |accessdate=2007-12-03]
* Starting in 2008, the "Pumas" will play more annual Tests, increasing from the previous six Tests per year to nine by 2010.
* By 2010, the team will play four Tests in the June Test window, three in November, and two during the Six Nations window in February and March.
* Between 2008 and 2010, Argentina will develop a professional structure within the country, with the goal of having the majority of Argentine professionals playing at home. Sometime around 2012, "Los Pumas" will then be "fully integrated into the Southern top-flight Rugby playing structure" (read "Tri Nations").

However, New Zealand Rugby Football Union deputy chief executive Steve Tew subsequently expressed doubts that a professional domestic competition in Argentina would be sufficiently viable within the following 10 years to retain elite players in South America, despite all the good intentions and funding of the IRB. [cite web|url=http://www.rugbyheaven.com.au/news/news/pumas-have-to-wait-nzru/2007/12/04/1196530635733.html |title=Pumas have to wait: NZRU |publisher=RugbyHeaven.com |date=2007-11-30 |accessdate=2007-12-05]

On June 7th, 2008, the Pumas beat Scotland in Rosario, Argentina 21-15, thus maintaining their position as the 3rd highest ranked team in the IRB rankings. They have since dropped to forth due to Australia wins.

Colours and name

"Las Pumas" play in a hooped shirt in the country's flag (and sporting) colours of sky blue and white with sky blue sleeves, white shorts, and hooped socks in sky blue and white. The emblem on the shirts features a yaguareté (Argentine jaguar), notwithstanding the team's nickname. The "Pumas" nickname is generally believed to be the result of an error made by a journalist who followed the team during their first overseas tour ever — to Southern Africa in 1965. Reporters were trying to devise a catchy nickname for the team similar to existing international team nicknames such as "All Blacks", "Springboks", and "Wallabies". One of them saw the picture of an animal on the UAR crest; however, he thought it was a puma instead of the actual jaguar. The mistake stuck, and was eventually adopted by the Argentines themselves (although the UAR crest still depicts a jaguar).cite news| url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/5389512.stm |title=Puma power: Argentinian rugby |last=Davies |first=Sean |publisher=bbc.co.uk |accessdate=2007-10-08 |date=2007-07-26] As of 2007 the strip is manufactured by adidas and VISA is the shirt sponsor.

Home grounds

The Pumas use a variety of stadiums when playing at home. One of the most frequently used for Tests is Vélez Sársfield in Buenos Aires. When Great Britain first came to Argentina in the tour of 1910, the first Argentina Test was played in Buenos Aires. During the mid year Tests in 2007, as well as Vélez Sársfield, Argentina played games at venues including Estadio B.G. Estanislao López in Santa Fe and Estadio Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza. Argentina have also used the River Plate Stadium in the past, and in 2006 hosted Wales at Estadio Raúl Conti in Puerto Madryn.

Record

Overall

Argentina have won 161 of their 270 Test matches, a win record of 59.63%.cite web| url=http://www.rugbydata.com/argentina/h2htable |title=Argentina > Head to Head Table |publisher=rugbydata.com |accessdate=2007-08-29] [Record excludes match against the Barbarians as this was not a representative side.] When the world rankings were introduced by the IRB in October 2003, Argentina were ranked seventh. They fell to eighth in the rankings in June 2004, before rising back to seventh by November that year. They fell back to eighth in February 2005, and stayed there until falling to their lowest ranking of ninth in February 2006. Since then, Argentina rose to eighth in July 2006, then sixth in November of that year. They had a one week fall to seventh, then one week later rose to fifth to start the World Cup 2007.

"Los Pumas" twice surpassed their highest ranking at the 2007 Rugby World Cup [Ranking archives can be found at the IRB website; [http://www.irb.com/rankings/index.html www.irb.com] ] . Defeating number three France, the first opening game loss for a World Cup hosting nation, moved them into fourth place, their highest position since the IRB World Rankings were established. They lost to eventual champions South Africa in the semi-final but beat France yet again in the bronze medal round to set another highest ranking, third, behind South Africa and New Zealand. They are currently ranked 4th in the world (as of 9th August) behind the Springboks, the All Blacks and Australia.

Their Test record against all nations:

Martín Aramburú replaced the Pumas' all-time leading try scorer, José María Núñez Piossek, after the latter suffered a groin injury. Senillosa replaced Martín Gaitán, who was forced to withdraw when he was found to have a blocked artery in his heart. Guiñazu replaced Ledesma for the third-place match against France after the latter suffered an adductor muscle injury in the Pumas' semi-final loss to South Africa.

Coaches

Coaches:es icon UAR. [http://www.uar.com.ar/pumas/estadisticas/entrenadores.htm Entrenadores de Los Pumas de todos los Tiempos] ]
* 1932: Edmundo Stanfield
* 1936: Luis Cilley, Edmundo Stanfield and C. Huntley Robertson.
* 1954: Juan C. Wells.
* 1956: Dermot Cavanagh and Horacio Savino.
* 1959: Jorge Merelle.
* 1960: Saturnino Racimo.
* 1965: Izaak Van Heerden, Alberto Camardón and Ángel Guastella.
* 1965 - 1966: Alberto Camardón and Ángel Guastella.
* 1967 - 1970: Alberto Camardón, Ángel Guastella and Jorge Merelle.
* 1971: Ángel Guastella and Eduardo Poggi.
* 1972 - 1973: Ángel Guastella, Eduardo Poggi and Oscar Martínez Basante.
* 1974: Carlos Villegas, Emilio Perasso and Jorge Merelle.
* 1975: Eduardo Poggi and Eduardo Scahrenberg.
* 1976 - 1977: Carlos Villegas and Emilio Perasso.
* 1978: Ángel Guastella, Aitor Otaño and José L. Imhoff.
* 1979 - 1980: Luis Gradín and Aitor Otaño.
* 1981 - 1983: Rodolfo O'Reilly.
* 1984: Héctor Silva and Aitor Otaño.
* 1985 - 1986: Héctor Silva, Aitor Otaño and Ángel Guastella.
* 1987: Héctor Silva and Ángel Guastella.
* 1988 - 1990: Rodolfo O'Reilly and Raúl Sanz.
* 1990 - 1991: Luis Gradín and Guillermo Lamarca.
* 1992: Luis Gradín and José L. Imhoff.
* 1993 - 1994: Héctor Méndez and José J. Fernández.
* 1995: Alejandro Petra and Ricardo Paganini.
* 1995: Alejandro Petra and Emilio Perasso.
* 1996: José L. Imhoff, José J. Fernández, Héctor Méndez and Alex Wyllie.
* 1997: José Luis Imhoff, Héctor Méndez and Alex Wyllie.
* 1998: José Luis Imhoff and Alex Wyllie.
* 1999: José Luis Imhoff and Alex Wyllie, next Héctor Méndez and Alex Wyllie, next Alex Wyllie.
* 2000 - 2007 : Marcelo Loffreda and Daniel Baetti.
* 2008 - present: Santiago Phelan and Fabián Turnes

ee also

*Argentina sevens team
*Churchill Cup
*English settlement in Argentina
*Puma Trophy
*Rugby union in Argentina
*South American Jaguars

References

* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/1135289.stm Argentina's time in the sun (from the BBC)]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/international/3757473.stm Puma power (from the BBC)]

External links

*es icon [http://www.uar.com.ar Official Argentina rugby home page]
* [http://www.planet-rugby.com/Teams/Argentina/index.shtml Argentine rugby union news on Planet Rugby]
*es icon [http://www.rugbyfun.com.ar Rugby Fun - Excellent Argentine Rugby Website]
*es icon [http://www.rugbytime.com/ Rugbytime - News, Statistics and Results about Argentine Rugby]
*es icon [http://www.elrugbier.com/ Argentine rugby news from El Rugbier]


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