RUGBY WORLD CUP POOL C: Argentina edge closer to quarter-finals

Tonga's Kurt Morath is tackled by Argentina's Ramiro Herrera
Tonga's Kurt Morath is tackled by Argentina's Ramiro Herrera
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ARGENTINA 45 TONGA 16

Argentina took a huge step to the World Cup quarter-finals with a comprehensive win over Tonga in front of football great Diego Maradona.

The Pumas lived dangerously early on against the combative Sea Eagles but a blistering four minutes in the first half proved decisive to seal a 45-16 victory in Leicester.

Maradona, who inspired his country to victory in the football World Cup in 1986, saw Juan Imhoff become the Pumas’ all-time Rugby World Cup top tryscorer when he went over during an incisive break and Nicolas Sanchez also scored 26 points.

Kurt Morath missed four kicks for Tonga before Argentina hit cruise control in the final 10 minutes thanks to tries from Julian Montoya and Santiago Cordero.

Victory over Namibia in their final Pool C game would see Argentina claim the runners-up spot behind New Zealand with Tonga’s hopes hanging by a thread ahead of their final game against the All Blacks.

Both sides were eyeing qualification ahead of the game and Tonga named the oldest starting side in World Cup history at 31 years and 38 days.