Argentina coach Mario Ledesma says poor set-piece execution let his side down against the Wallabies, admitting the team was tired and needed time off before facing South Africa in a fortnight.
The Pumas came into Saturday’s Rugby Championship clash in Brisbane on the back of an impressive performance during a narrow loss to the All Blacks the week before.
But missing injured veteran hooker Agustin Creevy, they were unable to reproduce the same form with Australia’s pack winning the battle of the big men in the 16-10 victory.
Ledesma, a former forwards coach with the Wallabies, bemoaned too many missed chances.
“Opportunities were there… and we lost the game by six points [but] my concern was much more the set-piece, the scrum in the first half and the line-out in the second half,” he said.
“I thought we were clearly dominated. It’s really difficult at this level for our set-piece, without quality ball, to win the game.”
“It’s almost weird,” he added. “We were pretty clinical in line-outs and our scrum was good last week [against New Zealand], but it’s not alarming.”
Argentina have just two bonus points from two games to prop up the Southern Hemisphere tournament table, with South Africa on top with seven points.
The two sides meet on August 10 in Salta, with the Springboks buoyed by a fighting 16-16 draw with the world champion All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday.
Most of Ledesma’s squad, bar a handful who play overseas, are coming off a tough Super Rugby season with Argentinian franchise the Jaguares, who made the final this year for the first time.
He admitted some players were tired.
“We’re trying to integrate the guys that haven’t played for two months [from overseas clubs], other guys played lots of minutes in Super Rugby, so they’re pretty tired,” he said.
“It’s challenging and good timing to get this week off, recover a bit and go hard again against South Africa.”
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