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Hourcade tipped to replace Phelan as Pumas coach

October 22, 2013

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Daniel Hourcade is tipped to coach Argentina on its three-match tour of Europe next month after leading the developmental Jaguars to a fourth successive Americas Rugby Championship title.

The Argentine Rugby Union called a news conference for late Tuesday to name the short-term replacement for Phelan, who unexpectedly resigned three weeks before the first tour match, on Nov. 9 against England at Twickenham.

Local media pointed to Hourcade, the coach of the Jaguars since 2010, who led them to another ARC title in Canada last week with successive wins over Canada A, USA Select and Uruguay.

Phelan quit on principle, saying he felt betrayed that internal differences among his coaches and with some players were made public days after another winless Rugby Championship. Phelan said he felt disheartened that he won’t see out his contract by leading the Pumas against England, then Wales and Italy.

When Phelan took over the Pumas after they finished a best-ever third at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, retirements left them in transition. Phelan had notable successes, including two wins against France, and a win against Wales in Cardiff. He led the Pumas to the 2011 World Cup quarterfinals, where they fell to the eventual champion All Blacks.

He was given a contract extension when Argentina finally joined a major annual tournament in 2012, the Rugby Championship with the three best teams in the world, the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies. The Pumas drew with South Africa in 2012, but still couldn’t win this year, though they had narrow losses against South Africa and Australia.

After those results combined with two home losses to England with second-stringers in June, Phelan wasn’t expected to be retained when his contract was due to end in December.

In 45 tests under Phelan, Argentina won 13 and drew one.

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