Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pumas Coach Refuses to See Red on Yellow; THE MATCH: Argentina 15 Australia 29

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pumas Coach Refuses to See Red on Yellow; THE MATCH: Argentina 15 Australia 29

Article excerpt

ARGENTINA coach Daniel Hourcade refused to blame referee Wayne Barnes for the Pumas' World Cup defeat to Australia, despite the controversial yellow card for Tomas Lavanini.

Barnes received resounding boos at Twickenham for sin-binning lock Lavanini for a clumsy low tackle on Israel Folau, with BBC pundit Jonathan Davies branding the yellow card a "pathetic decision".

Adam Ashley-Cooper's hat-trick powered Australia into a World Cup final with defending champions New Zealand, but ever-dangerous Argentina would have been forgiven for blasting Barnes' officiating. Hourcade kept his counsel in defeat, however, even refusing to question whether Drew Mitchell's pass for Ashley-Cooper's hat-trick score was thrown forward.

"There was a hit impact with the other player and he couldn't quite close his arms around the other player," Hourcade said of Lavanini's tackle on Folau.

"So I don't think there was no intention not to make a tackle.

"But they did the analysis and came to their conclusion and we have to respect their decision."

Hourcade insisted Argentina would have won the semi-final had they managed to breach Australia's robust defence, the Wallabies' ferocity without the ball spearheaded by a breakdown masterclass from David Pocock.

Ashley-Cooper's match-securing hattrick score came courtesy of a pass from winger Mitchell that many felt could have been forward, but Hourcade stuck to time-honoured rugby traditions of respecting the officials' authority.

"Those things happen in the game. It may have been, it may have not," Hourcade said of the pass for Ashley-Cooper's third try.

"It's in the past and w e just need to accept it. The referee's decisions cannot be questioned.

"If we had scored a try at any point, I think we could have won the game, but Australia played very well and congratulations to them for their win."

Hourcade met the final whistle with tears at Argentina's exit, but quickly refocused for Friday night's third-place play-off against South Africa.

Springboks boss Heyneke Meyer branded contesting the third-place match "like kissing your sister", but Hourcade insisted Argentina will throw everything at victory. …

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