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SPORTS | 01-09-2023 17:56

Pumas set up camp in France and savour Rugby World Cup pressure

Argentina's Pumas arrived at their base on the Brittany coast on Friday ahead of the kick-off of the Rugby World Cup 2023.

Argentina arrived at their Rugby World Cup base on the Brittany coast on Friday where winger Juan Imhoff declared he could feel "the pressure building."

"We're starting to get the World Cup gear, the hat, the little medal, the pressure's starting to build and that's what a player likes," said French-based Imhoff at a one-and-half-hour welcome ceremony in the up-market seaside resort of Le Baule. 

The welcome ceremony lasted an hour and a half and saw the Argentina team members receive welcome gifts and were applauded by the crowd, where Albiceleste flags were waved. 

The Rugby Club of La Baule plays in the same colours as Argentina (light blue and white striped jersey) and the stadium where Los Pumas will train during the World Cup is painted in light blue and white too.

Former Ireland skipper Brian O'Driscoll welcomed Argentina acting as a World Cup ambassador.

"One thing I know about Argentina is that they're a nation built for the World Cup... sometimes at my expense," said O'Driscoll, who captained the Ireland team that lost 30-15 to Argentina in Paris in the group stage in 2007.

The Argentines, who spent part of their preparations in the south of Portugal, have lost prop Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro and back row Santiago Grondona to injury.

They are in Pool D with Japan, Samoa, debutants Chile and England, who they face in their opening game in Marseille on September 9. 

"In the World Cup it's the group favourites who start and we've got a big clash ahead of us," said Imhoff. "The best team is going to win."

 

– TIMES/AFP

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