Ledesma says it’s unlikely all southern hemisphere sides will reach World Cup semis

Coach Mario Ledesma of the Jaguares during the Super Rugby quarter final match between Emirates Lions and Jaguares at Emirates Airline Park on July 21, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Coach Mario Ledesma of the Jaguares during the Super Rugby quarter final match between Emirates Lions and Jaguares at Emirates Airline Park on July 21, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Argentina coach Mario Ledesma said it’s unlikely that all the Southern Hemisphere teams are going to make the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.

This was the case in the 2015 edition where the semifinals were contested by eventual champions New Zealand‚ Australia‚ South Africa and Argentina.

However‚ the sides didn’t meet in the group stages.

South Africa and New Zealand are in the same pool (B) while Argentina is grouped with France and England in Pool C‚ which is the group of death.

Ledesma cited the strength of the northern hemisphere teams as the reason as to why there could be a fair spread in the semifinalists this year as compared to the southern hemisphere party four years ago.

“I don’t think we’re going to see the four southern hemisphere teams in the semi-finals.

"Let’s put it that way‚ but I think the northern hemisphere teams have done their homework and they’re playing some really good rugby.

"You can see with Wales‚ even though they lost to England recently‚ but they won a number of games on the bounce‚” Ledesma said.

“In between the World Cup‚ England also won a number of games while Ireland beat the All Blacks twice. It’s really exciting for everybody. You can never know.

"Last week‚ I would have said so after the All Blacks lost to the Wallabies by 47 points. In the very next game‚ they beat the Wallabies 36-0‚ so it’s really dynamic.”

While Argentina was again on the losing side on Saturday against South Africa at Loftus Versfeld‚ Ledesma said they were far better than in last week’s game in Salta.

They were hammered 46-13 but the Boks had a much changed side as they looked to fill a few squad gaps for the World Cup group that’ll be announced on August 26.

Ledesma will announce his World Cup squad on Monday with the view of having more preparation time.

“If you’re only looking at the result of one game and not looking at the bigger picture‚ you’ll find that in one day you’re happy and the other day you’re not happy.

"If you know where you’re going and your purpose is in the right place‚ that’s what you’re looking for‚” Ledesma said.

“I never doubted the guys and yes‚ we had a bad game last week‚ especially the forwards but we stood up in this game. The game was very physical. They gave it to us and we gave it to them.”

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