LONDON (Reuters) - Daniel Hourcade may stay on as coach of Argentina for two more years but confirmed on Friday he will not be in charge at the next Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.
Hourcade’s Pumas finished fourth at the ongoing tournament when they lost 24-13 to South Africa at Olympic Park on Friday.
The Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) have indicated they want him to continue but Hourcade said he had yet to sit down to formalise his next step.
“If we come to an agreement it would be for two years,” Hourcade told reporters.
"A lot can happen in two years including logical physical wear ... Cycles come to an end."
Hourcade, who told Argentine daily Clarin this week he would not take the team to Japan, has carried out a transformation of Argentina’s game in his two years as coach.
Argentina joined the Rugby Championship in 2012 and their only defeats at the World Cup in England came at the hands of their three southern hemisphere rivals.
The Pumas also lost to New Zealand in their pool opener and Australia in the semi-finals.
However, they have won plaudits for their attacking style of rugby and scored 27 tries in seven matches.
“I hope the team is remembered as a team that opened a door to the future,” Hourcade said.
“We won’t be starting afresh, there will be continuity even if there are some great players retiring who would find a place in any top team.
“What we wanted to avoid was what happened after 2007 when what followed was a transition that was hard."
Argentina's third-place finish in France eight years ago sparked a push for regular elite competition but they had to wait until 2012 to be included in the Rugby Championship.
They went into the 2011 World Cup without many of the great generation, led by Agustin Pichot, that earned them a place at the top table and with the same lack of top-class opposition to prepare against, playing just six tests a year with a team of European-based players.
“We set out with a long-term plan aimed at 2019, but the medium-term plan was to leave a structure for the future and we’ve managed that better than expected and to finish fourth here is a plus,” Hourcade said.
“This is a very young team which is a long way from its ceiling. We needed competition and we started with the Rugby Championship and now we’ll have much more with Super Rugby, a guaranteed 27 matches a year to grow a great future for Argentine rugby.
“The UAR already has 24 or 25 contracted players in the franchise, the great majority of them in this squad and others that remained in Argentina.
“Their coach will be announced next week but it’s not me,” he added.
Former Pumas captain Felipe Contepomi is expected to coach the Super Rugby side.
Editing by Peter Rutherford