Pumas aim to go out with a bang against Australia, says Mario Ledesma
SYDNEY - The sacrifices Argentina have made to play in the Tri-Nations will ensure they will do their utmost to go out with a bang in next week's tournament finale against Australia, coach Mario Ledesma said.
The Pumas had followed their first test win over New Zealand with a draw against the Wallabies but their hopes of a first southern hemisphere test championship title were effectively ended by a 38-0 loss to the All Blacks on Saturday.
They face Australia again next week in their fourth test in four weeks, arduous for any team but especially one that had not played a international rugby for more than a year and spent much of the season training in lockdown.
"It's been a big effort to come over here and it's a lot of sacrifice not to finish the way we deserve to finish," Ledesma said in Newcastle after the loss to the All Blacks.
"We'll go out there and try to have a great game."
Ledesma felt the scoreboard had not accurately reflected the game and that but for a string of handling and other errors, the Pumas might have produced another stunning result.
"We weren't clinical enough with our ball," he added.
"I'm not taking anything away from the All Blacks, I'm just saying that the chances we had, we couldn't take that to the bank."
Captain Pablo Matera agreed that the inaccuracy had made it impossible to build on yet another extraordinary defensive effort from the Pumas, who had been hoping for better in the week Argentine soccer great and Pumas fan Diego Maradona died.
"He was a guy that represented our country the best way you could represent it as a sportsman and I think he's a been a huge inspiration for all of us, players, coaches, the people of Argentina," Matera said.
"We obviously had it in our thoughts and we wanted to represent our country the same way he did."