Argentina 49-3 Romania, Rugby World Cup, September 17
Phelan pleased with Pumas' ruthlessness
September 17, 2011
Fessia crosses for one of Argentina's six tries © Getty Images
Argentina replicated the same form which saw them finish third in the 2007 showpiece with a commanding 43-8 win over Romania at Rugby Park Stadium on Saturday.
Four different Pumas grounded the ball in Romanian territory in the opening 30 minutes to lead 26-8 at half-time before closing out the match with a total of six tries. And Pumas boss Santiago Phelan was understandably delighted with his sides' ruthless display. "I'm very happy with today," Phelan said. "The Argentine team played a very good first half, the start was very good. Probably in the second half we didn't play the way we wanted to.
"But it's important that Argentine scored many points, which is something we haven't achieved for some time. The team is growing and that was one of the aims for this World Cup, to go match to match, and that was achieved. That gives us confidence going into the next game against Scotland."
Having narrowly lost their opening match 13-9 to England in Dunedin, the Pumas said they came to Invercargill to secure their first RWC 2011 win. "We were desperate to get a win, that was our only option today," said Argentina captain and flanker Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe. "I was very happy with the performance. We were looking for a win today that gave us confidence - and that game gave us confidence."
The Pumas' aggressive performance also earned Argentina's second bonus point of the tournament, an achievement that came before half-time. "What we really wanted first was to win but, of course, by playing well the bonus point comes with it," said hooker Mario Ledesma.
Romania head coach Romeo Gontineac said the Oaks conceded too many points in the opening half. "There was some panic in the first half and we lost some important points," said Gontineac.
He also indicated that Romania's inability to control the ball was behind their disappointing display against Argentina and their opening 34-24 loss to Scotland. "It's a collective problem," said Gontineac. "It's true, we started badly against Scotland and we started badly against Argentina. It's up to us to be aggressive."
"We showed that we can aggressive.We can't play rugby if we are not aggressive."
But Gontineac admitted Romania's second-half revival was not enough to turn the match around saying: "You can't be proud when you only defend. You have to be proud when you have the ball."
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