Wednesday 18 September 2019

'We wanted to support the families' - Argentina boss Hourcade on pre-match gesture to missing submarine crew members

Santiago Garcia Botta and team captain Agustin Creevy hold a jersey recognising the 44 members of the Argentina Navy that are missing after the disappearance of their submarine ARA San Juan
Santiago Garcia Botta and team captain Agustin Creevy hold a jersey recognising the 44 members of the Argentina Navy that are missing after the disappearance of their submarine ARA San Juan

Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade has spoken of an "emotional" day at the Aviva Stadium when his side showed their support for the 44 crew members of a submarine missing in the South Atlantic since November 15.

Saturday marked the 10th day since the ARA San Juan submarine reported its last position off Argentina’s southern coast. Reports of a sound detected underwater near the last known position of the vessel suggest it might have imploded after reporting an electrical problem.

Before today's match in Dublin, which Ireland won 28-19, Argentina players Santiago Garcia Botta and Agustin Creevy held up a jersey with the number 44 on the back.

"We consider it a way of supporting the 44 people on board and hoping they are found," said Hourcade.

"For us it was very important way of supporting the families. A really hard moment they are experiencing and the passion the players showed, it was part of that emotion."

Argentina played their best rugby in the final 20 minutes of the match and Hourcade admitted Joe Schmidt and Ireland surprised them in how they approached the game.

"I'm not disappointed, Ireland are a great team they took it to us very well, especially in the first 20 minutes of the game.

"They surprised us in the way they played.

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"In the last two or three years they didn't play like that, and today they played a lot from their own half and wide.

It is a style we're used to because the Southern Hemisphere sides play that way, but we didn't expect Ireland to play that way.

"That's credit to coach Joe Schmidt.

"But when we get used to the way they were playing we were comfortable, and were able to start dominating, especially in the last few minutes when we were able to score three tries.

"That's why we are not disappointed but perhaps a bit sad.

"Because today our team did well on the field."

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