Argentina coach Mario Ledesma praised the performance of Santiago Carreras after the 23-year-old excelled for the Pumas in his new role as flyhalf against New Zealand in their Rugby Championship clash in Brisbane on Saturday.
Carreras was shifted from fullback following an injury to Nicolas Sanchez in last week’s meeting with the All Blacks, and he did not disappoint despite Argentina slipping to a second successive loss against Ian Foster’s team.
“It’s been a while already that we wanted to play him at No. 10 and for different reasons we didn’t,” said Ledesma.
“But we were pretty confident and he had a really good week in training, really good energy, very committed.
“He was blocked a couple of times getting out of our half, but other than that I thought he had a really good game.
“(He) made really good breaks, we scored a try with a clinical kick too so he can be proud of his performance.”
Ledesma had been critical of his team in the build-up to the game after they were unable to put any points on the board against the All Blacks in the teams’ first meeting.
An enhanced display had Ledesma lauding his players before turning his attention to the meeting in Townsville on Saturday with Australia, who go into the game having secured successive wins over world champions South Africa.
“Definitely an improvement and very proud of the effort and the commitment,” he said.
“Big jump from last weekend, but we still have to improve. You don’t have many chances against a very good team like the All Blacks. The efficiency has to be up there.”
“We’re concentrating on us,” he added. “We had a couple of bad games on the hop, so we’re really concentrating on getting better.
“We’re playing against a team that’s really confident, beat the world champions twice. Today I thought they really dominated the game. We’re going to study that really closely, but we’re playing a different beast than last year.”