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Martin Landajo: Daniel Hourcade deserves coaching award nomination

Argentina's attacking revolution has received further vindication through Daniel Hourcade's nomination for World Rugby's coach of the year award, according to Martin Landajo.

Scrum-half Landajo has hailed Pumas head coach Hourcade's influence across the course of the World Cup, with Argentina reaching their second semi-final.

Argentina lost out 29-15 to Australia in last weekend's last-four clash and now face South Africa in Friday's battle for third place.

Hourcade joins New Zealand's Steve Hansen, Australia's Michael Cheika and Japan's Eddie Jones on the four-strong shortlist for the prestigious coaching award.

"I have been working with Daniel for five years," said Landajo.

"He is a great coach, as are the rest of the staff, and his nomination is well deserved. He brings us confidence.

"When he arrived he said be confident that we can play good rugby. The best thing he has done is change our mentality."

Former New Zealand coach Graham Henry helped Hourcade shape Argentina's attacking blueprint during his 2012 consultancy stint with the Pumas.

Henry told Argentina to trust their natural personalities and reflect them on the pitch. Hourcade has embraced that challenge in bullish fashion.

The Pumas now boast a threatening and expansive wide game to complement their ferocious scrummaging abilities.

Hourcade has made nine changes from the semi-final defeat to the Wallabies for the Springboks clash at London's Olympic Stadium.

Agustin Creevy is not fit to take part so fly-half Nicolas Sanchez - the tournament's top points-scorer - takes the captain's armband.

The likes of Marcos Ayerza, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Horacio Agulla will play their last match for Argentina this weekend, ineligible for selection afterwards due to not joining the Pumas' new Super Rugby franchise.

Landajo vowed Argentina will still throw everything at chasing third place, despite their frustrations at missing out on a maiden World Cup final.

"We were all feeling down after the semi-final but the coaches told us it is amazing we are playing for third position," said Landajo.

"All that pain should be used this week because we have had a great World Cup and now we need to finish on a high."


From Belfast Telegraph