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Argentina fired off a flurry of tries to claim their first Rugby World Cup 2011 victory by overwhelming Romania 43-8 in their Pool B game at Rugby Park Stadium on Saturday.
Four different Pumas grounded the ball in Romanian territory in the opening 30 minutes to lead 26-8 at half-time before closing out the match with a total of six tries.
Fly half Santiago Fernández scored Argentina's first try of the tournament just five minutes into the match.
Teammate and scrum half Alfredo Lalanne said the game provided a timely confidence boost, saying: "To score some tries helps us to build our confidence."
The Pumas' aggressive performance also earned Argentina's second bonus point of the tournament, an achievement that came before half-time.
"What we really wanted first was to win but, of course, by playing well the bonus point comes with it," said hooker Mario Ledesma.
Romania head coach Romeo Gontineac said the Oaks conceded too many points in the opening half.
"There was some panic in the first half and we lost some important points," said Gontineac.
He also indicated that Romania's inability to control the ball was behind their disappointing display against Argentina and their opening 34-24 loss to Scotland.
"It's a collective problem," said Gontineac. "It's true, we started badly against Scotland and we started badly against Argentina. It's up to us to be aggressive."
Romanian centre Csaba Minya Gal agreed with his coach's assessment.
"We had a bad start and finished the same," he said. "We just didn’t find the pace."
Nevertheless, the Romanians dug deep in the second half to prevent the Pumas from continuing their try-scoring spree until Juan José Imhoff broke away for five points in the 64th minute.
Romania's strengthened defence also resulted in prop Mihaita Alexandru Lazar being sent to the sin bin for leaving his feet at a ruck that took place less than a metre away from the try-line.
"We showed that we can aggressive," said Gontineac. "We can't play rugby if we are not aggressive."
Desperate for a win
Gontineac admitted Romania's second-half revival was not enough to turn the match around.
"You can't be proud when you only defend," he said. "You have to be proud when you have the ball."
Having narrowly lost their opening match 13-9 to England in Dunedin, the Pumas said they came to Invercargill to secure their first RWC 2011 win.
"We were desperate to get a win, that was our only option today," said Argentina captain and flanker Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe.
"I was very happy with the performance. We were looking for a win today that gave us confidence - and that game gave us confidence."
With their victory, Argentina leave Invercargill with four points and a bonus point for a total RWC 2011 tally of six, with Romania yet to open their account.