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Argentina ‘hungrier’ to win Cape Town SVNS after Dubai heartbreak

By Finn Morton
Argentinian players listen to the national anthem before the final against South Africa during the HSBC SVNS rugby tournament on December 3, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Martin Dokoupil/Getty Images)

For the second time in as many weeks, the Los Pumas Sevens will sing Himno Nacional Argentino with gusto and passion as they prepare for a rugby war that will determine a champion.

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Argentina were beaten by South Africa in a thrilling Dubai SVNS final at The Sevens Stadium last weekend, with two first-half tries guiding the Blitzboks to a hard-earned 12-7 victory.

The Argentine players were understandably disappointed after coming so close to what would’ve been their first title in Dubai, but a week is a long time in SVNS – a new opportunity awaits.

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After beating Spain and France on the opening day of play at the Cape Town SVNS, Argentina lifted their game to new heights as knockout rugby got underway on Sunday morning.

Argentina beat surprise package Canada 33-nil in the first cup quarter-final of the day and backed that up with an impressive win over a red-hot Ireland side in the semi-final under the afternoon sun.

“It gives me confidence that we know that last season and the last tournament, it wasn’t a coincidence,” Argentina sevens star Marcos Moneta told RugbyPass.

“We demonstrated that we are prepared for this type of game.

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“Maybe we thought last season that… (for) the Pumas to finish second, it was something really, really special – and in Dubai also second.

“Here we are demonstrating it’s not a coincidence… what we have been doing the last year.”

Australia stands in Argentina’s way of cup final glory at the Western Cape venue, and Los Pumas Sevens will be desperate to do everything they can to rise to champions status.

Moneta was all smiles after beating the All Blacks Sevens in last weekend’s semi-final, and that very same smile was stretched across the Sevens Player of the Year nominees’ face.

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But there was a different feel about the team atmosphere as they all walked towards the changerooms. They’re “hungrier” now to win it at in Cape Town.

“It makes you hungrier,” Moneta said.

“We lost that final and because we had that final, it wasn’t that South Africa scored 40 points and we had none.

“We are going to prepare for this match as the best that we can be.”

Argentina will take plenty of confidence from their sublime semi-final win over Ireland into the decider. Ireland had emerged as the team to beat, but they’ll battle it out for bronze instead.

Ireland got the better of hosts South Africa in an enthralling Pool A matchup on Saturday morning, and the men in green backed that up with their first-ever SVNS Series win over New Zealand.

“It gives us confidence.

“The second week is tough because you played a really tough tournament a week before. Maybe some teams aren’t as high as the last tournament.

“It also demonstrates that we’re working, we’re preparing and the team… we are still up there.”

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