Argentina 64-19 Namibia: Pumas purr against steely Namibians
- Argentina will play winner of France v Ireland in quarter-finals
- Namibia end Rugby World Cup without a win
- Twelve different try scorers in remarkable game
Quarter finalists Argentina outscored Namibia by nine tries to three, but the result does not even begin to tell the tail of the match.
Three yellow cards and a string of handling errors from both sides did nothing to prevent this from overtaking Samoa v Scotland as the highest scoring game of the tournament.
Twelve different try scorers produced a remarkable afternoon of rugby at Leicester City Stadium, and ensured that Namibia exit the tournament on a massive high.
Questions will be asked of Argentina’s rearguard, but the squad displayed strength in depth in an attacking sense, and they will now look ahead to a quarter final clash against either Ireland or France.
Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias inexplicably squandered a glorious chance put Argentina ahead from the tee on five minutes following a lightning start from the Pumas.
However the break soon came just moments later, as Matias Maroni wrong footed two Namibians to provide the assist for flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez to run in his third try in Rugby World Cups.
Iglesias made no mistake this time to convert it to a seven point score.
A clumsy challenge from JC Greyling on Hernandez was perhaps harshly penalised by a yellow card, as the Argentine slipped into a loose arm from the centre. Iglesias swept home the penalty to make it 10-0.
Fourteen man Namibia scored a converted try with their first attack of the game following a lapse of concentration from Argentina, to cut the gap to three points and send the Leicester crowd wild.
Order was soon restored on 19 minutes, when Maroni showed brilliant tenacity and strength to wriggle free form the attention of a crowd of Namibians to saunter under the posts for Argentina’s second.
Greyling returned midway through the half, to leave his side no worse off in terms of deficit than when he departed.
Namibia’s defence continued to crumble and Horacio Agulla crossed the whitewash for a third Puma try five minutes later, and suddenly they had a 17 point lead.
Fullback Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino caught a high ball in his own half. He called for the mark and began a silky slaloming run around Namibian oncomers and threatened to go all the way, but for a brilliant tackle just inside the opposition 22.
The number 15 lost a contact lense in the process, but he placed it back in with a handheld mirror and was OK to continue.
Welwitschias almost scored a carbon copy of their try with a loose ball kicked through behind Argentina, but unfortunately it was lost forward.
A brawl threatened to spill out after Argentina’s fourth try on 36 minutes, with Facundo Isa peeling off the rolling maul to touchdown.
There was time for one more before the break, with prop Lucas Noguera gathering a loose ball centimetres from the Namibian try line to make Argentina’s 36-7 half time lead their highest ever in a World Cup match.
Namibia came storming out of the blocks after the restart and were awarded with a second try six minutes in, with Greyling scooping up a loose ball to run clear through the posts.
Argentina took just three minutes to level up the half and hulking second row Matias Alemanno battered his way through for the Puma’s sixth.
Johan Tromp almost scored his second try of the afternoon for Namibia but he was hauled down brilliantly by a last ditch tackle.
Marcelo Bosch had only been on the pitch for two minutes before returning to his seat on the bench after seeing yellow for Argentina.
The Pumas repaid the favour by scoring whilst down to 14 men, with replacement flanker rounding off a scintillating counterattack to dive between the posts.
Namibia were restored to 15 and Argentina ripped them to shreds once again, but a forward pass early in the move denied substitute wing Juan Imhoff his fourth try of the tournament.
The Pumas would not be denied an eighth, and hooker Julian Montoya capped off another sweeping move.
Replacement scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli became the ninth different try scorer of the afternoon for Argentina with five minutes to play.
Tinus Du Plessis became the third man sent to bin in this match after he was adjudged to have taken the man in the air, but once again Namibia did the unthinkable and scored despite being a man down, as Eugene Jantjies ended a truly remarkable 80 minutes of rugby.
What comes next for both
Argentina stroll into the knockout phase for the third consecutive World Cup off the back of the joint second highest score of the tournament so far. They face European opponents in the shape of either France or Ireland, and both will harbour some trepidation in facing the Pumas. However, conceding three tries against the lowest ranked team of the tournament will be a cause for concern for coach Daniel Hourcade. He has one week to prepare his troops for the game of their lives with a spot in the final four up for grabs, and they will want to emulate the side which finished third in 2007.
Namibia will be welcomed back home as heroes. The African nation made history by earning their first ever World Cup point against Georgia, and on another day they would have sealed the win. Jacques Burger will have been disappointed not to have participated in today’s match, but his beaming smile from the stands displayed the pride that emanates throughout this squad. Defensively they be inadept, but they stood up and made themselves counted at this World Cup, and the competition would not have been the same without them.
Man of the match: Horacio Agulla
Any one of Argentina’s back line could have collected this accolade as they were superb throughout, but Horacio Agulla shined for 82 minutes. The second choice wing made 100 metres throughout the game along with five clean breaks. He capped a stellar display with his sixth international try, and showed that age is just a number by displaying a great turn of pace as he approaches his 31st birthday.
Argentina: 15. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14. Matias Moroni, 13. Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias (Juan Imhoff 65), 12. Juan Pablo Socino, 11. Horacio Agulla, 10. Juan Martin Hernandez (Marcelo Bosch, 51), 9. Martin Landajo (Tomas Cubelli 53), 8. Facundo Isa, 7. Javier Ortega Desio, 6. Pablo Matera (Leonardo Senatore 50), 5. Matias Alemanno (Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe 60), 4. Guido Petti, 3. Juan Pablo Orlandi (Ramiro Herrera 53), 2. Julian Montoya (Agustin Creevy 70), 1. Lucas Noguera
Replacements: 17. Marcos Ayerza,
Namibia: 15. Chrysander Botha (Russel Van Wyk 57), 14. Johan Tromp, 13. JC Greyling (Heinrich Smit 68), 12. Johan Deysel, 11. Conrad Marais, 10. Theuns Kotze, 9. Damian Stevens (Eugene Jantjes 65), 8. Leneve Damens (Tinus Du Plessis 58), 7. Wian Conradie, 6. Rohan Kitshoff, 5. Tijuee Uanivi, 4. Janco Venter (PJ Van Lill 5), 3. Johannes Coetzee (AJ De Klerk 47_, 2. Torsten Van Jaarsveld (Louis van der Westhuizen 52), 1. Jaco Engels (Johnny Redelinghuys 52)