Friday, April 22, 2011

Marcelo Loffreda talks about Los Pumas and New Zealand 2011

Former Argentina international centre and Los Pumas coach from 2000-2007, Marcelo Loffreda, talked to Total Rugby recently about the state of rugby in Argentina, Rugby World Cup 2007, 2011 and beyond. According to Loffreda the success from France 2007 was only the beginning as the potential of Argentina is yet to be unlocked. Loffreda believes that individual skills mean nothing without team cohession and this is what he focused on in preparing for France 2007. Different players, but similar values may well be the order of the day for New Zealand 2011 and Loffreda sees Argentina making the Quarter Finals at least and if the team plays well then the Semi Finals are again realistic..

As a player Loffreda was highly successful, winning 44 test caps for Los Pumas before retiring in 1994. He took over as Los Pumas coach following Rugby World Cup 1999 when Argentina made the Quarter Finals for the first time ever. His success as coach cannot be questioned despite the side failing to make the Quarter Finals of Australia 2003. Loffreda guided Argentina to away victories over England, France, Italy, Scotland and Wales as well as a  draw with the British and Irish Lions and home wins over Ireland. He also came close to leading Argentina to victory vs both New Zealand and South Africa. However, he will be remembered for his contribution to Rugby World Cup 2007 with Argentina finishing third in the world - something unthinkable when he took over as coach seven years earlier.

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