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Introducing Argentina: Los Pumas bid to bounce back

Introducing Argentina: Los Pumas bid to bounce back

Gallo

Argentina travel to Europe next month to take part in the Autumn Nations Series.

After a challenging Rugby Championship campaign, Mario Ledesma’s side will be looking to bounce back in three tricky fixtures against France, Italy, and Ireland.

Los Pumas finished bottom of the Rugby Championship, losing all six of their games, but that doesn’t mean the South American side haven’t improved significantly since the 2019 World Cup.

One to watch: Argentina’s Thomas Gallo

After failing to escape Pool C in Japan two years ago, Argentina have recorded a historic victory against the All Blacks and some impressive results against Wales and Australia.

And if they are to enjoy another successful international window in the Autumn Nations Series, Argentina will need to show signs of improvement from their other matches in 2021.

ANALYSIS

Six defeats from six games in the Rugby Championship is a poor return for Argentina, even in such a challenging competition.

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Their campaign kicked off with two convincing losses against South Africa, falling to the Boks 32-12 and 29-10 in their two matches in Port Elizabeth.

Things didn’t get any easier for Los Pumas, as they were then dispatched 39-0 by the All Blacks before suffering a 36-13 loss just six days later.

Their competition concluded with a 27-8 defeat to Australia in Townsville before the Wallabies beat Argentina 32-17 on the Gold Coast.

Thomas Gallo

However, 2021 hasn’t been all bad for Mario Ledesma’s side, and it’s easy to forget that they were able to beat a weakened Welsh side in the summer.

After a 20-20 draw, Argentina put the Welsh to the sword in a convincing 33-11 win.

They also beat Romania 24-17 in a game to forget for Argentina and recorded a 16-16 and a 15-15 draw against Australia in November and December 2020.

The results suggest that Argentina are capable of beating anyone on their day, however, they will need to be on top form if they are going to overcome a resurgent France, an improving Italy, and a developing Ireland.

KEY PLAYERS

Julián Montoya

Leicester Tiger Julián Montoya has proven that he is one of Argentina’s most consistent performers since making his debut in 2014.

Over 50 international caps later, and Montoya has featured in successive Rugby World Cup campaigns for Los Pumas in 2015 and 2019 while also being appointed captain in May of this year.

He’ll be crucial to Argentina’s hopes of getting some wins on the board before the end of the year.

Pablo Matera

He may not be the most likable character in the game, but Pablo Matera is undoubtedly one of the most feared back-rowers in world rugby heading into the Autumn Nations Series.

Matera was inspirational in the win against the All Blacks last year, and it’s fair to suggest that the No.8 has been central to almost everything good that Argentina have done on the field in the previous two years.

However, he is shrouded in off-field controversies and was one of eight Argentina squad members forced to miss the Rugby Championship match against Australia after breaking the Covid-19 procedure.

The Argentina team stand for the national anthem

Santiago Carreras

Santiago Carreras is one of the best young fly-halves in the world and will be crucial to Los Pumas for another decade or so.

Despite having played less than 20 caps, Carreras established himself as one of Argentina’s best players during the Rugby Championship.

He’ll be vital to any Argentine hopes of success at the next World Cup in France, but crucially will be one of Argentina’s main threats this Autumn.

SCHEDULE

Argentina get their Autumn Nations Series campaign underway with a match against a very highly rated France.

After that, they take on Italy in what is sure to be a fascinating and closely fought contest in Rome. Their series comes to a dramatic conclusion as they take on Ireland.

The Irish have been in transition since the departure of Joe Schmidt, but the game against Argentina is the perfect opportunity to get things back on track.

6 November – Argentina v France KO 20:00

13 November – Argentina v Italy KO 11:00

21 November Argentina v Ireland KO TBC

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