Emotional Argentina coach hails Pumas players after defeating All Blacks


Coach Mario Ledesma says stunning the All Blacks after a 35-year wait is his finest achievement, hailing his Argentinian team after a long and emotional journey to breaking their hoodoo.

The match is Argentina's first since last year's Rugby World Cup, more than 13 months ago, with their previous fixtures cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic.

A gutsy Argentina stunned the All Blacks 25-15 Saturday to pull off one of rugby's biggest upsets, consigning an embarrassed New Zealand to their first back-to-back defeats in nearly a decade.

Matera would have been a strong contender for man-of-the-match had flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez not scored all of Argentina's points with a try, a conversion and six penalties, including one from halfway that sealed the victory.

"But what I think we saw was a team that despite the disadvantage of not playing a lot of rugby. they have come here with massive energy and a desire to prove something to their country which has gone through a heck of a hard time. After everything that happened this year", a tearful Ledesma said on the pitch at Western Sydney Stadium.

Asked if it was his finest achievement, Ledesma replied: "It has to be up there".

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"We had a BBQ last night after a big training day and a few boys were discussing how tough a challenge they are going to be".

While Argentina basked in one of their greatest victories, the All Blacks were left reeling from one of their worst defeats.

New Zealand, a three-time world champion, has now suffered two successive defeats for the first time since August 2011. They also have not fallen to third in the rankings since 2003, so the pressure is mounting on Kiwi head coach Ian Foster, who has so far presided over just two wins from five games in charge. "It's just extremely disappointing but full credit to them".

"It's the second week in a row we haven't had good composure when things haven't quite gone our way", he said.

"We don't like having another team play more intensely than us and we have to go and figure out how to respond".