Rugby Union

Daniel Hourcade: Free-scoring Argentina a match for anyone at Rugby World Cup

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Head coach Daniel Hourcade believes Argentina have the firepower to worry anyone as the Rugby World Cup enters the knockout stages.

The Pumas completed Pool C with a nine-try, 64-19 win over Namibia at Leicester City Stadium and have scored more points than holders New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Wales in their first four games.

Ireland or France, who meet in Pool D later on Sunday, will provide the opposition in the last eight, but Hourcade is unfazed by whoever the Pumas face.

"We have the weapons we need to go against our rivals," Hourcade said.

"Ireland play in the northern hemisphere and play that way, but they've got some characteristics from the southern hemisphere, so they play a bit differently, very dynamic.

"We feel comfortable with that, because we're used to that sort of game.

"With France we may need to fight more in the breakdowns."

The Pumas' free-scoring since the opening loss to the All Blacks - against Georgia, Tonga and Namibia - has resulted in their points-for tally, but Hourcade is confident if a tighter game is needed in the knockout stages.

"We can work an open game or a closed game," he said.

"The statistics are not very relevant, but scoring points is good because it shows our intention.

"Our team always tries to create things and we've managed to do that with all our opponents (so far).

"We're looking for a dynamic game, a game that we feel comfortable with.

"On the pitch the game hurts our rivals. That's one of our strengths.

"The attack was not as aggressive as it should have been (against Namibia)."

There was no Diego Maradona for inspiration this time, but the football World Cup winner, who danced in the changing room following last week's defeat of Tonga, says he will return if the Pumas make the semi-finals.

Improvement will be needed if his promise is to be fulfilled.

Captain Martin Landajo said: "We're trying to think about quarter-finals, not semi-finals. It would be a huge error to think about that.

"Let's think about quarter-finals and if something good happens we will wait for him.

"I don't know if they will let him come back (into the changing room) again."

Namibia exited by making another impression following their first World Cup point last Wednesday in Exeter, a losing bonus against Georgia.

They scored three tries as Johan Tromp capitalised on poor Pumas handling while down to 14 men, JC Greyling punished another Argentina mistake early in the second half and Eugene Jantjies scored the game's final try.

Head coach Phil Davies expressed pride in the performance of Namibia and deserves credit after succeeding Danie Vermeulen, who resigned in June over differences with the Namibian union.

"It's been a very progressive World Cup for us," Davies said.

"We've hit a few milestones (and) there's been lots of progress made by the team and the players take huge credit for that.

"It's about team effort to try to drive the country forward now and build off this momentum that we've created at this tournament."

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