Argentina have won all four of their meetings with Georgia, including their three World Cup clashes; the win was their biggest against Georgia, and their fourth biggest against any team at a Rugby World Cup.
Although there were mitigating circumstances to Friday’s crushing 54-9 defeat to Argentina – they were a man down at the start of the second half after captain Mamuka Gorgodze was yellow-carded – the way the Pumas cut through their defence at Gloucester will have the All Blacks smelling blood.
Argentina: Joaquin Tuculet, Santiago Cordero, Marcelo Bosch, Juan Martin Hernandez, Juan Imhoff, Nicolas Sanchez, Tomas Cubelli; Facundo Isa, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Tomas Lavanini, Matias Alemanno, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Agustin Creevy (captain), Marcos Ayerza.
Argentina’s attack – Coach Daniel Hourcade told his team to relax and do what they do best in the second half and they heeded his wise words, played with confidence and more than a little pizzaz and scored 40 unanswered points.
Argentina have also been making inroads in the expanded Rugby Championship between World Cups, which as Haig pointed out has given the Pumas massive gains over the past three years.
“The first half we gave away a lot of penalties but in the second half we showed how we wanted to play”.
“Any team would be anxious if they clicked – ask Australia a couple of months ago”, Georgia coach Milton Haig said, referring to New Zealand crushing the Wallabies 41-13 last month.
“Argentina is not in the top eight in the world for nothing”, Haig said.
“One week you celebrate, the next you come down to earth pretty quickly”.
Sanchez got the scoreboard ticking with a cheeky sixth-minute drop-goal.
Meanwhile, fullback Merab Kvirikashvili extends his record of playing in every Cup match for Georgia, in what will be his 14th against the Pumas.
From the restart, the ball was whipped left and smart hands saw Racing 92 winger Imhoff in the clear as he outsprinted Kvirikashvili for the line.
Georgia, however, kicked off their campaign with an impressive 17-10 win over Tonga, meaning the pressure is on the South Americans to confirm their status as the pool’s second favourites behind the All Blacks.
With Sanchez converting all three tries, Argentina went 35-9 up and the game was in the bag for the team that finished third in the 2007 World Cup.