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11 Sep 2007 22:04
Argentina closed in on the World Cup quarterfinals on Tuesday with a 33-3 win over a battling Georgia side, which was topped-off by a last-minute try that guaranteed a crucial bonus point.
However, the eastern European side won plenty of new fans when they held the Pumas, who shocked France in the opening game, to just 6-3 at the interval before the South Americans’ greater composure told in the second half.
The Pumas left it late to secure the Pool D bonus point, with winger Federico Martin Aramburu touching down in the last minute.
This was the first international between the two nations and Georgia fought fire with fire with their forwards matching the mighty Pumas in the first-half exchanges.
Georgia even opened the scoring in the second minute when flyhalf Merab Kvirikashvili kicked a penalty before Argentina levelled with a 12th-minute penalty from Felipe Contepomi.
But Argentina, aware that four tries would give them the crucial extra point in a Pool D, which also includes Ireland, failed to break through the Georgian line and only edged ahead through another Contepomi penalty.
Georgia, with the French crowd behind them, tired after the interval and Argentina scored their first try seven minutes into the second half when winger Lucas Borges crossed in the corner after good link-up work between Contepomi and flanker Juan Fernandez Lobbe.
Contepomi, captaining the team in the absence of the rested Agustin Pichot, added the conversion.
Contepomi added another penalty before Borges grabbed his second try in the 56th minute, which his skipper again converted.
It was 26-3 with nine minutes left when lock Patricio Albacete went over.
This time Contepomi missed the conversion before winger Aramburu allowed his team to breathe a huge sigh of relief with his bonus-point clinching last-minute try.
Juan Martin Hernandez kicked the conversion.—AFP
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