Tired, hopeless Pumas need rest: Ledesma

Tired, hopeless Pumas need rest: Ledesma



Winless Argentina endured a difficult end to a challenging rugby championship with defeat at the hands of Australia, but coach Mario Ledesma praised the character his team showed at the end of a grueling tour.

The Pumas entered the game on the Gold Coast without six players sidelined for violating pandemic protocols on an unsanctioned day trip to Byron Bay.

With injuries and fatigue taking their toll on a tired Argentina, which hasn’t played a home test in two years, a makeshift team lost 32-17 to the Wallabies.

“They have played for twelve months in a row,” said Ledesma.

“They finished their seasons in Europe and went on to play the July internationals. Two weeks later, three weeks later we played South Africa after ten days of vacation.

“It’s not the best way to prepare. They need some rest.”

However, there will be no end on the horizon for Ledesma’s team, with Tests lined up in Europe against France, Italy and Ireland in November.

Despite their difficulties, the Pumas finished the competition on something of a high note, as a couple of attempts by Thomas Gallo gave the scoreboard a respectable shine against a Wallabies side that had a 32-3 lead after less than an hour.

“I thought we had ten minutes in the second half when they scored easy attempts, like very easy attempts,” said Ledesma.

“And then there was character, after two months of a lot of effort and sacrifice, especially after a difficult week, the boys showed character.

“Maybe the game was already done, but you still have to do it.”

Ledesma said it was impossible to estimate how much the loss of the sextet, including Santiago Medrano and Pablo Matera, had in his team as they looked for their first Rugby Championship win of the season.

“It’s really hard to calculate that,” he said. “How do you do? It’s just elusive. There’s nothing concrete. There’s no data to know how much that weighed on the line or not.

“But I thought the guys who came off the bench, those guys who didn’t play the whole tournament, were pretty good.”

© AAP

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