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SPORTS | 18-10-2023 14:35

Michael Cheika says Pumas want to inspire a nation in World Cup semi-final

Argentina head coach says his team want to "have no regrets" once the final whistle goes on their Rugby World Cup semi-final with New Zealand on Friday.

Argentina head coach Michael Cheika said he and his players want to "have no regrets" once the final whistle goes on their Rugby World Cup semi-final with New Zealand on Friday.

The 56-year-old Australian guided his home nation to the 2015 final with victory over Argentina in the semi-finals and now his task is to get the Pumas past the three-time champions.

Cheika said that team evidently wanted to inspire the country but even in defeat they could do so in the manner they carried themselves.

"It's not easy," he said at the press conference following the naming of the team on Wednesday. "We want to inspire not just by our results but by our ambition, by our ability to get back up and overcome obstacles.

"To inspire is not about results, no, it's about our behaviour in general, our ability to be ready to come back from difficult times and seizing our opportunities. There are not a lot of opportunities in life – us playing in a semi-final is even rarer and we want to have no regrets."

Cheika said there was no designated recipe for success against the All Blacks.

"You have to take the moments you are in the game and see them coming at you at different times," he said.

"In the game in 2020 there were things you could pinpoint. You can't say that one game means we can do it as there are a lot of games where we haven't.

"That moment has to be just a part of it. What we have done since then, all the success and failures.

"The other team are heavy favourites, everyone is expecting a New Zealand and South Africa final."

Cheika's team will start as underdogs against an All Blacks side that posted a hugely impressive performance in beating Ireland 28-24 last Saturday.

Pumas captain Julián Montoya, though, said he and his teammates had defied the critics who had written them off early in the tournament, primarily when they produced a limp performance in losing to 14-man England in their opening pool match.

"It was difficult but we always kept faith and we know the work we have been doing," he said.

"Internally we knew we were ready, we needed to work on some details. This is how we face these difficult moments.

"We can face problems at any point but our confidence in our players and staff (made us believe we'd get better)."  

 

– TIMES/AFP

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