Contepomi dreaming of upset win
September 2, 2011
Argentina captain Felipe Contepomi believes his side is capable of upsetting England © Getty Images
Argentina captain Felipe Contepomi believes his side is more than capable of upsetting England in their opening Rugby World Cup clash, in Dunedin next Saturday.
The Pumas shocked hosts France in the 2007 tournament opener and went on to reach the semi-finals for the first time in the history only to lose out to eventual winners South Africa. However, the Argentines ended on a high, beating Les Bleus for a second time as they claimed third placed.
Few expect the South Americans to make the last four this time around but Contepomi believes that anything is possible in a World Cup and insists that while England are undoubtedly the favourites to top their pool, the Pumas have it in them to get the better of Martin Johnson's side in a one-off game.
"I think that they are better than us and that they will be better than us after the game as well - but in this 80 minutes anything can happen," the versatile fly-half said.
"We were also in this situation in the last World Cup. We always feel we need to play those 80 minutes, you always start at zero-zero. I'm not saying we will beat them, but we can."
Certainly, England team manager Johnson is not underestimating the threat posed by Contepomi and his colleagues.
"When you play a team like Argentina in the first game, it's a massive challenge," the World Cup winner said. "They're a very difficult team to play. If people call us favourites or not, we've got to go and win that battle."
Top spot in Pool B is of the utmost importance to both England and Argentina given that the runner-up is most likely going to face New Zealand, although the hosts have bogey side France for company in Pool B. Indeed, Contepomi freely admits that he would not relish a last-eight meeting with the Kiwis.
"It's too much to think of a possible clash with New Zealand as the All Blacks are the big favourites for this tournament, and everyone will try to avoid them if they can," he said.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship