Reaction: Argentina see off brave Georgia
September 11, 2007
Loffreda pleased with Pumas' progress
Argentina coach Marcelo Loffreda was thrilled to grab a bonus point and also escape with no injuries from tonight's hard-fought 33-3 win over resilient Georgia in Lyon.
The Pumas made it two wins from two in Pool D but found it tough going against the Georgians, who tackled ferociously and were only 6-3 behind at the break.
Loffreda's men stepped up the gears after the break, and scored tries through Lucas Borges (two), Patricio Albacete and Federico Martin Aramburu to secure a maximum five-point haul.
Coming just four days after their heroic exploits in the 17-12 win over host nation France in Paris, Loffreda was satisfied with the result.
"We have done well in the first stage of the tournament,'' said the future Leicester Tigers coach.
"We have two victories and we got the bonus point tonight. We were able to react well after the tiring game against France.
"Not only the bonus point and the fact that we got tries, but I also understand that nobody was seriously injured tonight and that was important.
"We want to preserve our players as much as possible. We wanted to win and get no injuries, and that is what we got tonight.
"For us to be able to play such a tough game three days after beating France, it is very important to us.''
Loffreda paid tribute to Georgia, who showed tremendous heart and resilience without really threatening the Argentinian try-line.
"The first half was very hard for us, as we were playing against a team with a lot of experienced, big players, who are used to playing in the elite leagues in France.
"Some of our players suffered with that tonight, especially as we haven't had much time to prepare.
"We had to change our game plan for the second half. We managed to take our chances in the second half, even though we lost the ball quite a lot.''
Captain Felipe Contepomi, who added 13 points with his boot, was delighted with the fighting spirit shown by his side.
"The main thing was to win, that was the main objective,'' said the Leinster fly-half.
"We went for the bonus point in the last minutes and the most important thing was to fight until the very end.
"It is a reflection of all the work we have done. There are no guarantees of success.''
Georgia captain Ilia Zedginidze bemoaned his side's inability to last the full 80 minutes.
"We were hoping to resist for more than that,'' said the giant lock.
"The first half was good and we were doing well at 6-3. But Argentina are motivated and in the second half, they accelerated clear and scored four tries.
"We put in a lot of effort and we managed to stick in there. We just weren't good enough in the second half.
"There is also a psychological barrier to get through. The little nations have been able to last 40 minutes in this World Cup and then it's not just the fitness that lets them down, it is the psychological barrier.
"But we know what we have to do in the next game.''
The Georgians' only points came from the boot of Merab Kvirikashvili, who put his team in the lead in the second minute.
The Argentinians were dominant thereafter and Zedginidze was impressed with the South Americans.
"I think their team work is good - that is their strength,'' he added.
"And they have some players who are among the best in the world. I think it is wrong to say they are just good in the forwards.
"It is harsh to reduce them to just a team of forwards. They have some of the best backs in the world.''
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