Argentina coach Ledesma doubts southern hemisphere teams will all make World Cup semis
Northern teams have improved since last Rugby World Cup
All the southern hemisphere teams are unlikely to make the Rugby World Cup semifinals again, says Argentina coach Mario Ledesma.
This was the case in the 2015 edition when the semifinals were contested by eventual champions New Zealand‚ Australia‚ SA and Argentina. However‚ in the year, these teams did not meet in the group stages.
This time, SA and New Zealand are both in pool B, while Argentina are grouped with France and England in pool C‚ the group of death.
Ledesma cited the strength of the northern hemisphere teams as the reason there could be a wider spread of semifinalists in 2019.
“The northern hemisphere teams have done their homework and they’re playing some really good rugby. You can see with Wales‚ even though they lost to England recently‚ they won a number of games on the bounce‚” Ledesma said.
“In between the World Cup‚ England also won a number of games, while Ireland beat the All Blacks twice.
“Last week I would have said the same after the All Blacks lost to the Wallabies by 47 points. In the very next game‚ they beat the Wallabies 36-0‚ so it’s really dynamic.”
While Argentina were again on the losing side on Saturday against SA at Loftus Versfeld‚ Ledesma said they were far better than in the previous week’s game in Salta.
They were hammered 46-13 but the Boks had a much-changed side as they looked to fill a few squad gaps for the World Cup group that will be announced on August 26.
Ledesma will announce his World Cup squad on Monday with the view to having more preparation time.
“If you’re only looking at the result of one game and not looking at the bigger picture‚ you’ll find that in one day you’re happy and the other day you’re not happy. If you know where you’re going and your purpose is in the right place‚ that’s what you’re looking for‚” he said.
“I never doubted the guys and yes‚ we had a bad game last week‚ especially the forwards, but we stood up in this game. The game was very physical. They gave it to us and we gave it to them.”
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