Mario Ledesma was left with an overall feeling of dissatisfaction despite seeing already-eliminated Argentina round off their disappointing Rugby World Cup campaign with a 47-17 win over the United States.
France’s win over Tonga on Sunday meant Argentina, who lost to Les Bleus and England either side of beating the Tongans, knew the contest against USA was merely a dead rubber.
The Pumas at least restored a modicum of pride by running in seven tries, Joaquin Tuculet and Juan Cruz Mallia both scoring braces, while Nicolas Sanchez, Jeronimo De La Fuente and Gonzalo Bertranou also went in.
Though he was pleased with what he saw in Kumagaya, Ledesma was also frustrated it was Argentina’s final game.
“Today was very good in lots of areas but ultimately how I feel about this World Cup is that I’m not satisfied,” he told a news conference.
“We came here fighting to make the quarters and have been working very hard but we were never able to find the perfect game we were looking for.
“We really wanted to make it through and everyone is disappointed that we couldn’t, but the motivation was still there today but it was from inside, from the heart.”
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While Stade Francais fly-half Sanchez, 30, caught the eye, Mallia, 23, made 164 metres and was one of several younger players to give Ledesma encouragement for the country’s direction moving forward.
“Argentine rugby has a bright future – the youngsters were incredible today,” he added.
“The way we played today was actually similar to how it was in 2015 [when Argentina reached the semi-finals] and we have been working hard to mix things up.
“We’ve scored several tries from driving mauls in this World Cup, the scrum was pretty consistent here, so I think it’s a case of trying to use the pack to get forward and a consistent set-piece and then we have exciting backs who can deliver as we saw today.
“We were able to score some really good tries in the match and the players played with real joy.”
USA are still without a win from their three games in the tournament but still have one contest remaining against Tonga on Sunday.
“We did some good things with the ball but we also missed some opportunities,” said captain Blaine Scully.
“Unfortunately, in a World Cup, you have to take every chance you get because they don’t come around too often. Credit to Argentina, they showed what a dangerous team they are.”
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