Contepomi: we can stun Scots
Published 01/10/2007 | 07:43
'Bring on Scotland' was the cry from the Argentinian camp last night.
The Pumas now remain in Paris as pool D winners to face a Scotland side that only just edged passed Italy on Saturday night.
In topping pool D ahead of France and Ireland, Argentina have already made a mockery out of their continued exclusion from either the Six Nations or Tri-Nations Championships.
Now a place in the last four beckons, which would send shockwaves across the established world order.
And Leinster star Felipe Contepomi believes his side, made up of professionals plying their trade in Europe, can fulfil their potential.
"We treat every single rival the same way," said Contepomi. "France, Ireland, Georgia, Namibia, now Scotland, it won't change anything. Now we will make our best strategy to expose their weaknesses and try to exploit our strengths."
The Pumas most obvious strength is their monstrous pack, which again, as they had done against France, held all the aces yesterday.
"It all starts in the forwards and I think our forwards had a magnificent game and they beat the Irish pack up front," he added. " We were having good results in the forwards, so why not keep it there and try to make them work hard?"
Contepomi also claimed he had been subject to verbal abuse by three Irish players. "It is always the same three people," he said. "I try not to get involved. If they talk, I won't stay quiet obviously. They know why they do it. I don't know."
While the Pumas deserved their celebrations last night, captain Agustin Pichot warned his players not to lose their focus.
"Scotland have proved they are in the best eight in the World Cup, even though everyone wrote them off," he said. "They are like us in that everyone has also written us off.
"They are no less than us as a team and we can't afford to go into any game thinking we're better than anyone.
"We can feel we are better in our hearts, but must remember we have to play to a high level to beat teams like Scotland."
The Stade Francais scrum-half however could not conceal his delight at the ease of their victory against another one of the game's traditional powers.
"This was a very tactical match and we played a tactical game because we knew it had to be like that," he added.
"The coaches prepared us well and we knew what the gameplan was going to be. We knew Ireland were dangerous and could control the game. Reaching the quarter-finals is a great achievement. In the end we won all four matches.
"We've shown the world what we're capable of from the start of the World Cup."