Argentina coach Santiago Phelan resigns

Pumas boss steps down after six years in charge and ahead of November internationals

Argentina head coach Santiago Phelanhas stepped down after six years in charge.  Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Argentina head coach Santiago Phelanhas stepped down after six years in charge. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho


Santiago Phelan has resigned as Argentina’s coach before a European tour that includes Tests against England, Wales and Italy in November, the Argentinian Rugby Union (UAR) said on Monday.

Phelan, whose contract had been due to end in December, brought forward his decision to leave after his team finished bottom of the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship for the second year in succession with six defeats.

“Santiago Phelan will not continue his job as head coach of the Pumas after six years in charge,” the UAR said in a statement on its website. “The national team’s head coach communicated his decision to the UAR’s executive board and he will not lead the team during the tour in November of England, Wales and Italy.”

The UAR, which would ideally like to appoint a foreign coach as Phelan’s successor, is expected to announce a stand-in for the tour at a news conference on Tuesday.

Phelan, a former Pumas flanker, took the post when Marcelo Loffreda quit after steering Argentina to third place at the 2007 World Cup in France.

He led Argentina into the quarter-finals of the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand but otherwise had a tough time retaining the high standard the Pumas had reached under the captaincy of the former scrumhalf Agustin Pichot.

Local media said Phelan had lost some grip on his squad and that there were also rifts in his coaching staff.

The Pumas open their European tour with a Test against England at Twickenham on November 9th. They meet Wales in Cardiff and Italy in Turin on the following two Saturdays.

England beat Argentina 2-0 in a two-Test series in Salta and Buenos Aires in June when both fielded largely second-string team.

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