Mario Ledesma's emotional response to Argentina's first ever win over All Blacks
Argentina head coach Mario Ledesma struggled to hold back the tears in an emotional interview shortly after he had masterminded an historic first win for the Pumas over New Zealand.
Nicolas Sanchez scored every point for the underdogs, who led by 13 at half-time and continued to put bodies on the line heroically in the second period.
It was Argentina’s first Test in over a year – since victory over the United States at the 2019 World Cup – but they made an electric start in Australia with Stade Francais fly-half Sanchez going over in the 19th minute after he collected his opportune kick to dive under the posts.
Two more penalties from the Pumas number 10, coupled with their incredible defence, added to the growing feeling history could be on the cards at the break.
Sam Cane’s try helped the All Blacks reduced the deficit to nine with 26 minutes left, but yet again Sanchez kept his cool and a successful late kick from the halfway line edged Argentina even closer to a first ever triumph over the three-time World Cup winners.
Caleb Clarke managed to muscle over in the corner for New Zealand after the buzzer but it was scant consolation and failed to dampen the party atmosphere at the Bankwest Stadium.
Victory represented Argentina’s first win over the mighty All Blacks in 30 attempts and the significance of the victory was not lost on Ledesma in the immediate aftermath.
Attempting to put into words what the win meant, he said: ‘Unreal, unreal but so real. I felt after everything that happened this year, yeah.
‘If I tell you what it means I won’t be able to talk. The guys worked in conditions that… yeah.’
‘This is a big day for Argentina rugby and also for our country and people,’ added Argentina captain Pablo Matera. ‘It very tough there at the moment and it was tough for us to come here and prepare ourselves for this tournament.
‘We just want to show our people that if you work hard with a lot of determination you can get things done. We are really proud of this team and of our country.’
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