Rugby World Cup 2019: Argentina rue costly red card against England

Argentina coach Mario Ledesma said Tomas Lavanini's dismissal in Saturday's loss to England had effectively ended his team's hopes of reaching the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

Lock Lavanini was given his marching orders by Nigel Owens in the 17th minute of the Pool C clash at Tokyo Stadium after driving his shoulder into the jaw of England skipper Owen Farrell.

Lavanini said he had no problem with the referee's decision.

Nigel Owens shows Tomas Lavanini a red card.
Nigel Owens shows Tomas Lavanini a red card. Photo credit: Reuters

"It had a big impact because it was early in the game and I thought it was fair," coach Ledesma told reporters after the 39-10 loss.

"The commitment from the boys was incredible and lasted the whole game. It became too difficult in the second half, but they never stopped going."

Lavanini will now attend a disciplinary hearing before an independent Judicial Committee chaired by Adam Casselden SC (Australia) with former international coach Frank Hadden (Scotland) and former international referee Donal Courtney (Ireland). 

The hearing will take place in Tokyo on Monday.

While England progressed to the quarter-finals with the victory, twice semi-finalists Argentina need Tonga to upset France on Sunday to retain any chance of going through.

Ledesma was clearly not counting on that happening.

"We were not able to meet expectations of our fans, so I am disappointed with that," he added.

"But we have to move on and show that never-give-up spirit. We were able to show that today."

The former hooker's calm acceptance of the defeat was in marked contrast to his fury after their opening loss to France at the same stadium two weeks ago, when he blamed referee Angus Gardner for the narrow defeat.

Ledesma said he thought the Pumas were looking good on Saturday until the red card.

"In the first 15 minutes of the first half we put in a performance to get to the next stage, but after the red card our situation was severe," he said.

Ledesma said he would not consider resigning as coach even if Argentina fail to get through to the knockout stages at a World Cup for the first time since 2003.

"My contract is running, I am obviously the head coach, and I am responsible," he said.

"But I am not blaming myself. It's the World Cup, there are always teams winning and losing, we are not the first.

"England didn't get through the pool stages in their own World Cup. Ireland, Scotland, Wales... every other team. We are looking forward to the future."

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