All Blacks defence stymies Pumas

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Argentina, who had their first Test win over New Zealand last year, had been pinned for long periods in their territory and were unable to turn defensive pressure back on the All Blacks.


Ledesma said with the possession and territory statistics so much in favour of the All Blacks and his side conceding 18 penalties and two yellow cards, it was difficult to get into the game.


"You give them so much, and most of the time they don't need that much ball to score," he said.


Despite that, he was pleased with the effort. That was because when the All Blacks usually had that much ball, the score was much higher.


"Our boys had to make 210 tackles, and you don't see that many tackles nowadays. I was really proud of the effort but we need to be more clinical," he said.


Rather than differences in style between South Africa and the All Blacks, Ledesma said the common theme was Argentina's indiscipline.


"In the second game against South Africa we had 23 penalties and we had 18 today and two yellow cards and a couple of those penalties came from several advantages so you can add a couple more penalties too. So, it's difficult to get any grasp of the game when you're being so indisciplined," he said.



Ledesma said he wasn't making excuses about the loss but he said Argentina had been battling with adversity in their game for the last 18 months.


It started when they lost Super Rugby with the onset of the Covid pandemic that forced players to go elsewhere to find another job, and they had lost Tier 1 franchise rugby opportunities.


As a result, more than 90 per cent of their players were playing in the northern hemisphere, denying them time to prepare for southern hemisphere rugby.


They had four training sessions before they played their first game against South Africa. That meant all the chances of addressing player welfare and rest time had gone out the window, he said.


While attention gets paid to the higher-ranked teams and their treatment in the pandemic, no one seemed to care about Argentina.


"We take it on the chin, and I'm not using it as an excuse, but that's the reality for our players. It has nothing to do with normality. We haven't had a home game in two years. Every time we play, we are in our bubbles or quarantine.


"Still, it is much better this year but we are still in quarantine and it gets to you. It gets to players, it gets to staff and it gets to everybody. But, if we don't accept that we are out of the picture," he said.


Ledesma said he wasn't whingeing or making excuses, he was stating the reality of what they face.


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