Contepomi hopes Argentina show Jaguares traits against ‘mature’ Ireland

LEINSTER BACKS COACH Felipe Contepomi expects to see pride on show from the Pumas in Dublin this Saturday (kick-off 18.30). But he is otherwise uncertain about what his compatriots will be able to prove.

Argentina have famously proven to be a bogey team for Ireland at World Cups, knocking them out in 2015 and also with Felipe Contepomi (and twin brother Manuel) involved in 2007 and 1999.

In Dublin, however, the rivalry has continually been shaded by Ireland and the home victories have grown more comfortable since 2012 when the Pumas’ capacity for enduring a long Rugby Championship season has been put to the test.  

Albeit with Ireland at a higher than usual ebb, Saturday’s meeting bears those familiar hallmarks. Argentina are approaching the end of their campaign and will feel the looming shadow of the Japan 2019 more than Joe Schmidt’s side, who are ramping up to a clash with the All Blacks and the medium-term goal of defending the Six Nations.

FC on the field ahead of Leinster’s clash with Toulouse. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

“I don’t really know what (Ireland) can expect. It’s unexpected at the moment,” said Contepomi.

After working closely with so many of this Ireland squad since returning to Dublin in June, Contepomi feels that this Saturday’s hosts are much further along in their progression than their visitors. However, while it won’t be quite as feisty an affair as the battles Contepomi was involved in – and sometimes sparked – the Leinster coach does expect to see the tourists display a fighting spirit. 

“Definitely, it will be a very proud team. It is Argentina, a team that comes and tries to play hard.

“But I can’t say for sure that you will see this, this and that because the more mature team is Ireland.

The Jaguares finished seventh in Super Rugby this season and won away to the Waikato Chiefs in May. Source: Photosport/Jeremy Ward/INPHO

“Argentina is maturing. It is learning, more than learning it is trying to get bits and pieces together… the head coach of Argentina (Mario) Ledesma has been with most of these guys with the Jaguares for the whole year and you can expect that Jaguares style of rugby.

“Circumstances change, international and Super Rugby are different rugby situations but you can see more of the Jaguares style of rugby has been there through the whole year, through the Rugby Championship.”

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