Rugby World Cup 1999
Quesada powers Pumas to victory
October 16, 1999
The influential Gonzalo Quesada kicks for goal against Samoa
© Getty Images
A brilliant second-half kicking performance by Gonzalo Quesada saw Argentina overcome a 13-point deficit for a crucial 32-16 win over Samoa in a rain-swept Group D match at Stradey Park on Sunday.
The 25-year-old fly-half struck seven penalties and a drop goal to add to a first half penalty as the Pumas came from 16-3 down at half-time to all but make sure of a place in the play-offs. The Argentinian, nicknamed 'Speedy Gonzales' because of the length of time he takes with his kicks, was composure itself as he slotted nine of his ten attempts at the posts.
His deadly accuracy saw the Pumas make a remarkable recovery in a match the big-hitting Samoans threatened to run away with as they adapted better to the heavy rain that made handling and footwork difficult. Alejandro Allub scored Argentina's only try - their first of the World Cup - when the burly lock barged over from close range in the 66th minute.
Just 20 minutes earlier, the Pacific islanders seemed to have a World Cup play-off place in their sights after a try by flanker Junior Paramore and two penalties and a conversion from full-back Silao Leaega gave them a 13-point cushion at the turnaround.
In the first half the Pumas, narrowly beaten 23-18 by Wales in the World Cup curtain-raiser, spurned a golden chance to open the scoring in the 11th minute when centre Eduardo Simone found a gap in the Samoan defence.
In a two-on-one situation a try seemed a certainty but with a clear run to the line from 10 yards winger Diego Luis Albanese spilled a simple pass from Simone. With the rain clealy affecting the players' handling and footing, the first points of the match did not arrive until the 19th minute when Leaega slotted a penalty from wide on the left.
The Samoans went 10-0 in front soon afterwards when powerhouse centre Va'aiga Tuigamala punched a hole though the Argentinian midfield to give Paramore a clear run under the posts. Quesada reduced the deficit with a penalty before Leaega responded with two of his own to give Samoa the edge heading into the second period.
But it was a different story after the break as Gonzalo made the most of the Samoans' increasing ill-discipline with as good a kicking performance as any seen in the tournament so far.