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Rugby World Cup: Argentina take inspiration from heroes Messi and Maradona


Martin Landajo will start against Wales.

Martin Landajo will start against Wales.

Martin Landajo will start against Wales.

Argentina scrum-half Martin Landajo has revealed the Pumas' new-found attacking style has come from an attempt to emulate the country's footballers.

Known for having plenty of muscle up front, Ireland's World Cup quarter-final opponents have cut loose behind the scrum in this tournament and scored 22 tries in their four pool games.

"Football in Argentina is like that, we have had the best players in (Lionel) Messi and (Diego) Maradona," said the No.9.

"But four years ago Argentina didn't play rugby like that. We've tried to change it.

"Historically in Argentinian football they would attack a lot, and we didn't do that in the past.

"But now we've tried to change that and do that a bit more.

"We're Latins, we like to be happy all the time, it's in our roots and hopefully that shows in our rugby now."

The man who won his 50th cap against Namibia last weekend credits a visit from World Cup winning New Zealand coach Graham Henry for the change.

"Graham Henry came to help us and we've tried to play that rugby since then," Landajo said.

"He said that we needed to create more tries. We had a great defence, one of the best in the world, but we didn't attack much, and he said it was impossible to win games like that."

Ireland will give star out-half Jonathan Sexton as much time as possible to prove his fitness for the last-eight clash but Landajo was impressed by understudy Ian Madigan in Ireland's win over France last weekend.

Madigan played for 55 minutes against Les Bleus, orchestrating play well and kicking confidently off the tee.

"Sexton is one of the best players in the world," Landajo said. "But Madigan would do a great job. They are one of the best teams in the world, they have one of the best attacking games."

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