Rugby World Cup History: Argentina

With the 2015 Rugby World Cup fast approaching, Last Word on Sports looks back at how the participating nations have fared in the previous seven tournaments from the inaugural in 1987 to the most recent in 2011. Today’s focus is Argentina, who have appeared at each of the seven previous Rugby World Cups.

Rugby World Cup History: Argentina


Argentina attended the first Rugby World Cup as one of nine invited nations, joining the seven International Rugby Football Board members. Drawn in Pool 3 against New Zealand, Fiji and Italy, the Pumas got off to a disappointing start losing 28-9 to Fiji. Argentina bounced back in their second game to defeat Italy 25-16. A final game defeat to New Zealand, left Argentina, Italy and Fiji all on two points with Fiji advancing to the knockout stages having scored the most tries.


With only the quarter finalists from 1987 qualifying automatically for the 1991 Rugby World Cup, Argentina competed in a regional qualifying tournament facing USA and Canada. Argentina finished second in the group, defeating USA home and away but losing both ties to Canada, to qualify as Americas 2. At the finals Argentina would face Australia, Wales and Western Samoa in Pool C. Against Australia in their opening game, Argentina were unable to overcome the Wallabies losing 32-19. The Pumas then lost a tight game to Wales 16-7. Defeat to Western Samoa rounded out a winless campaign for Argentina.


In 1995, Argentina defeated Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay in the South American qualifying group to set a playoff against North American counterpart USA with the winner advancing to the finals. Defeating USA in both legs Argentina progressed winning 44-33 on aggregate. Drawn against England, Italy and Western Samoa in Pool B, Argentina ran England close in their first game only losing 24-18. As in 1991 the Pumas lost to Western Samoa, before Italy exacted revenge for their 1987 loss running out 35-21 winners, leaving Argentina without a win for the second consecutive World Cup.


Topping their qualification group, defeating Canada, USA and Uruguay, Argentina qualified for the 1999 World Cup as Americas 1. Drawn against hosts Wales, Samoa and Japan in Pool 4, the Pumas were narrowly defeated by Wales in their opening fixture. It was third time’s a charm in their second game as Argentina defeated Samoa having lost to them at the two previous World Cups. A 33-12 win over Japan secured Argentina’s passage to the knockout stages for the first time. Facing Ireland in the quarter final playoff round, Argentina pulled off an upset beating the Irish 28-24 to advance to the quarter finals. Argentina were unable to repeat their heroics in the quarter finals against France as Les Bleus ran out 47-26 winners.


By reaching the quarter finals in 1999, Argentina qualified automatically for the 2003 tournament. Facing Australia, Ireland, Namibia and Romania in Pool A, Argentina lost their opening game to Australia 24-8. The Pumas bounced back in their second game comfortably defeating Namibia 67-14. Argentina followed this up with a 50-3 win over Romania, meaning the winner of their final game against Ireland would qualify for the quarter finals. Argentina were unable to repeat their victory of four years previous, with Ireland gaining a 15-16 revenge win to advance and eliminate the Pumas.


Argentina defeated Chile and Uruguay to top the South America qualifying group to advance to the 2007 finals. Facing a tough pool featuring France, Ireland, Georgia and Namibia, Argentina got off to a great start defeating France 17-12. Comfortable wins against Georgia and Namibia put Argentina in a commanding position in the group, before defeating Ireland 30-15 to top the group and advance to the quarter finals. Facing Scotland in the quarter finals Argentina came out on top in a close encounter defeating the Scots 19-13 to progress. Facing South Africa in the semi finals, the Springboks proved too strong for Argentina as they ran out 37-13 winners. Facing France for the second time in the 3rd/4th place playoff, Argentina repeated their victory from the pool stage to finish the tournament in 3rd place.


Qualifying automatically due to finishing 3rd in 2007 Argentina faced England, Scotland, Georgia and Romania in Pool B.  Argentina were undone in their first game by a late try as England won 13-9.A comfortable 43-8 win against Romania put the Pumas back on track, before they defeated Scotland by a single point to take a big step towards the knockout stages.  The Pumas defeated Georgia 25-7 in their final pool game to secure qualification to the quarter finals. Hosts New Zealand awaited Argentina in the quarter finals, and the Pumas were unable to match the All Blacks, ending up on the wrong side of a 33-10 result.

Argentina have developed into an established force at the Rugby World Cup, from their struggles in the early tournaments to finishing 3rd in 2007. The Pumas are able to compete with the top teams, and will be looking to incorporate the experience the have gained since joining the Rugby Championship, to once again leave their mark on the World Cup.

To read more Rugby World Cup History click here

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