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Scrumhalf rivalry reflects Pumas unity

Image: Rugby Union – Ireland v Argentina – IRB Rugby World Cup 2015 Quarter Final – Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales – 18/10/15 Argentina’s Tomas Cubelli celebrates after the game Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic

By Rex Gowar

LONDON (Reuters) – The Cubelli and Landajo who played in Argentina’s win over Australia 36 years ago were on the field at the same time, unlike their sons who face the Wallabies in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals on Sunday.

Tomas Cubelli and Martin Landajo share the scrumhalf duties in coach Daniel Hourcade’s side and the former looks set to get the nod at Twickenham after the latter started the 43-20 victory over Ireland in their quarter-final in Cardiff.

“I have shared a lot of squads with Martin, the Pampas XV, the Jaguars, and in tournaments we would play one game each,” Cubelli said of the pair’s rivalry which has carried on at the World Cup.

“It is a special rivalry and a pleasure to share a jersey with him. It ensures that we always have to be at our best,” he told reporters.

There was no such competition between their fathers because Alejandro Cubelli was the hooker and Ricardo Landajo the scrumhalf when Argentina played Australia for the first time and won 24-13 in Buenos Aires in October 1979.

The Wallabies levelled the series 1-1 when they won the second test 17-12 at the start of a rivalry that stands at 18 wins for Australia and five for Argentina, with one match drawn in 24 meetings.

The Pumas will this time be looking for a first World Cup win over Australia after defeats in 1991 and 2003.

Their chances have increased since their inclusion in the Rugby Championship in which they secured their first victory, 21-17 against the Wallabies, a year ago, although the Pumas lost 34-9 in their most recent clash with Australia in Mendoza in July.

Cubelli, explaining one of the secrets of Argentina’s impressive form at the World Cup, said the team were united by a passion for their blue and white jerseys and a common identity with values instilled at their clubs.

“We always play with passion. It is something we identify with the shirt. It is a typical part of Argentine rugby,” said Cubelli.

“We are really lucky to have so many good rugby players but we are even luckier to have such good people. It means we are all friends.

“Maybe it’s how we’re educated in our clubs, which are still amateur, which educate you to be good people and good team mates and then good players.”

(Editing by Neville Dalton)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.


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