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We Can’t Leave Like This, Says Defiant Argentina Coach Cheika

  • 2 min read

Argentina coach Michael Cheika said his team will channel the disappointment of Friday’s 44-6 World Cup semi-final thrashing by New Zealand into next week’s Bronze final to ensure his team can leave France with their heads held high.

The Pumas were blown away at the Stade de France but will return next Friday to play England or South Africa.

“We cannot leave this way, we will learn from it and will be stronger,” Cheika told a news conference. “This week is important for us, we want to finish third. We have things we want to show in the Bronze Final. Right now we are hurting but we will be ready on Friday.”

It was Argentina’s third semi-final and their heaviest defeat but in 2007 they bounced back to deliver a sparkling performance to beat France in the third-place final. In 2015 they lost to South Africa in the playoff.

“It’s not finished yet, we want to go home with a medal,” Cheika said. “We will have to get over tonight because we really believed we could get in there and do something.”

The Australian said he was not sure why his team were so soundly beaten in the ruck and scrum but bemoaned key moments either side of halftime.

“At the end of first half when we had possession and a good position and we lose the ball going forwards, give away a penalty and end up with a try against us,” he said.

“Same thing at the start of the second half and so we went from 15-6 to 27-6 and from that point it became very difficult.

“We just didn’t have the class to match New Zealand. They are so efficient – they converted all our mistakes into points,” Cheika added.

Argentina captain Julian Montoya also had to make the uncomfortable admission that his side were blown away in areas they normally pride themselves on.

“I think set-piece, the scrums were completely dominant on us, so we need to look inside each other and know that we need to be better,” he said.

“Every opportunity they have they scored. An awesome team and they were the better team today by far.”

Montoya said his team were well below the levels they wanted to show.

“I’m really disappointed with that,” he said. “Our dream of playing in a final is over but we still have work to do.”