Loffreda talks up Scots

The Pumas find themselves odds-on favourites to beat Scotland to a World Cup semi-final spot in Paris on Sunday, but Argentina coach Marcelo Loffreda is concerned by his side’s top billing.

As underdogs, the South Americans upset the status quo by sending France to Cardiff and Ireland back home in the pool stages.

But now the boot is most definitely on the other foot.

Scotland have failed to record a win over the Pumas since 1990 and most pundits tip the high-flying Argentinians to romp past the Scots at Stade de France on Sunday – a forecast that horrifies Loffreda.

“We love adversity, we love adversity,” Loffreda said with a grin.

“Knowing the Argentine mentality, it is important for us not to think of ourselves as the better side.”

Loffreda has proved himself to be a fine motivator of men and said he would spend the next few days working on Argentina’s mental approach to the quarter-final.

“Our main talent [as the coaching staff] is to put the players in a good frame of mind,” said Loffreda, who will join Leicester Tigers as head coach after the World Cup.

“Italy played a very sensible and planned game [against Scotland] but failed in discipline.

“We have worked very hard on our discipline. If you want discipline on the field you have to have discipline off it.

“We get the players to think only about the game, which is different from thinking about the expectations, the whole scenario.”

Loffreda said he expected Scotland to start the match trying to impose a tactical plan, “then if they get no answers, they go for [running] the ball”.

“The Scots are good runners, they have good skills, though they had more of a running game three years ago and now they have become more confrontational in the forward pack,” he said.

Loffreda added that if the game were played in the rain, like Scotland’s victory over Italy, the Scots would be at an advantage “because they are more accustomed to a wet pitch and a wet ball”.
365 Digital

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