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June 25 (Reuters) - Argentina ended a run of five defeats with a 45-29 win over Georgia on Saturday which had Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade rueing the frequent dips in their game as much as praising their spells of brilliance.
The victory in Jujuy, in the far northwestern corner of Argentina, was just their second in 11 tests and gave the Pumas a much-needed boost before the Rugby Championship kicks off on Aug. 19 away to South Africa.
“Winning is always important. But (a match) is 80 minutes and we’re not satisfied because there were 20 in which we should have played better,” Hourcade told reporters.
Argentina, building on four Nicolas Sanchez penalties early on, pulled away from Georgia with tries by hooker Agustin Creevy and fullback Joaquin Tuculet for a 26-8 halftime lead.
Wing Ramiro Moyano, who was sin-binned early on for a dangerous aerial challenge, scored three tries early in the second half but Georgia replied with four, three in the final 28 minutes to reduce a deficit which had stood at 45-15 after an hour.
“We lost control at the moment we should have accelerated and got caught up in the type of game that suited them,” Hourcade told reporters. “We’re left with a bitter taste about the final minutes.
“The match was settled after 15 minutes of the second half. That was the moment to boost our game but we didn’t. The balance is positive until the hour and after that it’s negative,” he said.
Georgia are weaker opponents than the three southern hemisphere heavyweights Argentina face in the championship and the Pumas must iron out lapses in concentration that have cost them victories.
They let victory slip from their grasp in a 38-34 loss to an England side shorn of their British and Irish Lions in the first match of a two-test series two weeks ago and also lost the second test 35-25 and the series 2-0 last weekend.
The same squad of Argentina players will now mutate back into Jaguares to see out the Super Rugby tournament before returning to Pumas duty in August. (Reporting by Rex Gowar; Editing by Ian Ransom)