LEICESTER: Argentina warmed up for the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals with a nine-try romp as they defeated minnows Namibia 64-19 in their final Pool C match at the Leicester City Stadium on Sunday.
Too fast and physical for the African side, it was a comfortable day out for the South Americans, who had made 11 changes for the match to give fringe players a run.
Juan Martin Hernandez, one of the standouts of the side that reached the 2007 semi-finals and handed a rare outing in the number 10 shirt, set the ball rolling with the opening score.
Matias Moroni, with his first international try, Horacio Agulla, Facundo Isa and Lucas Noguera also crossed before the break as Argentina forged a 36-7 halftime lead before Matias Alemanno, Leonardo Senatore, Julian Montoya and Tomas Cubelli joined the fun in the second half.
Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias kicked four conversions and a penalty, with Juan Pablo Socino adding four further conversions.
Namibia had to feed off scraps of possession but showed admirable determination to attack and were rewarded with tries from wing Johan Tromp, centre JC Greyling and scrumhalf Eugene Jantjies, with flyhalf Theuns Kotze converting two.
Roared on a sizeable portion of the 30,198 crowd, Argentina showed a willingness to run the ball at every opportunity and the pace of their attack often left Namibia clutching at air.
The Africans missed 28 tackles in the opening period and Argentina none, showing who had most of the ball but also the ease with which Argentina were able to scythe through the Namibian defence.
Wing Moroni’s try was one for the Namibia horror-reel as he brushed of a collection of feeble attempted tackles.
Namibia’s first two tries came from Argentine mistakes as Tromp and Greyling fed off wayward passes and poor hands to race clear and score, giving Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade something to ponder as they enter the knockout phase.
The spirit in the Namibian camp was evident right to the death. Having scored their third try past the 80-minute mark, giant prop Johnny Redelinghuys was given the chance to take the conversion to mark his final international.
His attempt never looked like going over but drew one of the biggest cheers of the day.
“We were exposed a bit, it’s not the way we wanted to leave the World Cup, but we showed a lot of heart until the end,” Namibia captain Rohan Kitshoff told reporters.
Argentina are already confirmed quarter-finalists as runners-up in Pool C. – [Agencies]