Puma pummelling for brave Namibians

Argentina 67 Namibia 14
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The Independent Online

The game of rugby has changed drastically since the door of professionalism was swung open in 1995. But some traditions still remain and Namibian coach Dave Waterstone was observing one as he came to terms with his side's 67–14 World Cup hammering by Argentina in Gosford.

"I have a bottle of whisky in my hotel room and I'm going back to consult it and try to find out what went wrong," he mused.

At least the straight–talking South African wouldn't have needed to consume too many drams for the answers to arrive. It's all fairly simple really.

"If you get beaten up in the front five first your back–row gets exposed, then your inside backs, then the outside backs. It's the story of rugby," he explained.

"We tried to take them on up front and got a real hiding. I'm just pleased we didn't buckle because it could have been something hideous."

Critics of a tournament in which lop–sided matches are occuring far too frequently would probably claim the final outcome was fairly hideous anyway.

Though Waterstone had suggested a shock win by his team, the chances of Namibia matching his words with actions were obliterated inside the opening two minutes when hooker Federico Mendez charged down an unguarded blindside for the first of 10 Argentinian tries.

With the rampant Pumas forwards running over their part–time opponents at will, the only wonder was the score was not more, although it did represent a World Cup record for the South Americans.

"Once they get on top in one department, it spreads like a cancer," said Waterstone, who now has the unenviable task of trying to lift his battered team for their next game against Ireland in Sydney on Sunday. "You could say we got a beating with dignity because I'm proud they never gave in," he added.

"But that is what the World Cup is all about. You want the opportunity to test yourself against the best."

Waterstone confirmed fly–half Rudi van Vuuren may struggle to get over the torn calf which forced him out of the match, potentially robbing the player of a unique chance to represent his country in both the cricket and rugby World Cups in the same year.

Argentina also picked up an injury as Juan Fernandez Miranda was forced off at the interval with a shoulder problem.

However, having now given all 30 members of his squad some game time, coach Marcelo Loffreda has plenty of options at his disposal ahead of next Wednesday's encounter with Romania and the vital meeting with Ireland in Adelaide on October 26.

"We were disappointed with the way we played against Australia, so although Namibia are not the same kind of opposition, it was good that we got closer to reaching our potential," said Loffreda.

"By the end we were completely controlling the set pieces, which was one of the main areas of concern last Friday. After recording such a big win I really believe we are back on track again."

Argentina: Tries Mendez, Bouza 2, J Fernandez Miranda, Gaitan 3, N Fernandez Miranda, penalty tries 2. Conversions Quesada 7; Penalty Quesada. Namibia: Tries Grobler, Hüsselman; Conversions Wessels 2.

Argentina: Martin Hernandez; Senillosa, Gaitan, J Fernandez Miranda, Albanese; Quesada, N Fernandez Miranda; Reggiardo, Mendez, Scelzo, Alvarez, Sporleder, Durand, Ostiglia, Bouza. Replacements: F Contepomi for J Fernandez Miranda (41), Ledesma for Mendez (47), Roncero for Scelzo (57), Fernandez Lobbe for Sporleder (71).

Namibia: Booysen; Mouton, Grobler, Powell, Afrika; Wessels, Hüsselman; Lensing, Meyer, Du Toit, Senekal, Isaacs, Van der Merwe, Lintvelt, Furter. Replacements: Pedro for Hüsselman (71), Blaauw for Du Toit (63), Van Lill for Lintvelt (65).

Referee: N Williams (Wales).