Sunday, October 9, 2011

One final emotional anthem for Mario Ledesma

Los Pumas' were eliminated from Rugby World Cup 2011 after losing to hosts, New Zealand in the fourth and final Quarter Final. The 31-10 scoreline is highly misleading as the match was a far more competitive affair with the All Blacks only holding a lead late in the game from kicking penalties. The hosts two tries camew in the final quarter and the second was questionable after All Blacks winger, Sonny Bill Williams appeared to have had a foot in touch as he was tackled and set up a ruck a few phases before fellow winger Cory Jane set up secondrower Brad Thorn for New Zealand's second try. Earlier both teams had scored one try each with the better one going to the South Americans as Julio Farias Cabello finished off a try created by his backrow teammate, Leonardo Senatore inside Argentina's half. After breaking he combined with Felipe Contepomi, Marcelo Bosch and Martin Rodriguez Gurruchaga with the latter being tackled several metres short of the try line. Farias Cabello arrived to dive over from the ruck. With Contepomi's conversion Argentina were leading 7-6 which was the first time in the tournament that the All Blacks had been behind.

Argentina fought on with plenty of spirit and showed just how much they merit a place in the new Four Nations tournament which is to begin in 2012. The vast majority of the players will be on the field again for both sides with Argentina now surely having won plenty of respect from many who suggested New Zealand are a far better side. Argentina's defence was outstanding as they shut down the All Blacks' lateral play. The pair of Senatore and Farias Cabello matched it with their highly fnacied opponents despite both being amateur players. Neither player plays professionally - a clear sign of the depth in Argeitne rugby as Argenitna missed Juasn Martin Fernandez Lobbe, among others. The forwards took it to the New Zealanders with 38 year old hooker Mario Ledesma playing like a 25 year old as he gave it everything in his final ever appearance for Argentina and final ever match of rugby as he has now retired to take up a coaching position with Stade Francais in the French Top 14. Before the match the emotion of Ledesma was clear as tears fell during the Argentina national anthem. Latter as he was subbed off, tears were visible as he was recieved with applause from the Argenine fans at the match. Well done Super Mario!

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