Rugby World Cup 2003
Pumas crush Namibia
October 14, 2003
Martin Gaitan dives in for one of his three tries
© Getty Images
Argentina bounced back from their opening defeat to crush Namibia 62-14 at Gosford. The Pumas ran in a total of eight tries with centre Martin Gaitan grabbing a hat-trick in front of a bumper crowd.
The old belief that you cannot win a rugby match if you cannot win the forward battle has never been more in evidence as the Africans' boundless enthusiasm offered no protection against one of the most formidable scrummaging machines in the game.
Namibia was repeatedly shoved back over their own line, conceding two penalty tries in the process as they found no way to halt the rampaging Pumas. By the end, they were well and truly battered, raising yet more questions about the lop-sided nature of almost all the matches in the tournament so far.
After scraping through the play-offs on tries scored after a two-legged tussle with Tunisia finished level, Namibia would have been regarded as the least likely side in the 20-team tournament to win a match and that was without being drawn in the toughest group of all.
Even with fly-half Rudi van Vuuren restored to fitness following the calf injury which ruled him out of the one-sided encounter, it is difficult to see how Namibia could be more competitive, other than slipping a couple of extra players onto the pitch.
They did emerge with some positives though and coach Dave Waterston can point to the half hour which followed Federico Mendez's second-minute try - during which time his team conceded only eight points - as evidence of some talent.
Centre Du Preez Grobler and scrum-half Hakkies Husselman also had the satisfaction of bringing the biggest cheers of the night from the 17,000 crowd as they crossed the Argentinian line for two well-received Namibian scores.
It mattered little to the fans that the Pumas were guaranteed a try virtually every time they got close to the Africans' line. Number eight Pablo Bouza bagged a brace - both from pushovers - with the Fernandez Miranda brothers, Juan and Nicolas, sharing two between them.
But it was left to centre Martin Gaitan to complete the rout, sealing his hat-trick with the Pumas' 10th try two minutes from the end.
At Central Coast Stadium