One of the most entertaining of all the teams, the lost child of International Rugby can hopefully look forward to an exciting World Cup. For too long, the geographical location of Argentina made their place in Rugby unsure – should they join the New World nations championships or come to Europe and potentially become a 7th Nation? Many of their players play in France or England at Club level.  Their first international match was back in 1910 and they have been in every Rugby World Cup.

The Pumas are fleet of foot and always impressive, they have good past form when it comes to World Cups in France. In 2007, they shocked by beating the host Nation France in one of the opening matches – and ultimately got Bronze!  They have the unpredictability to upset the expected result in key matches. They also have an in-built gene to keep fighting and never giving up – so it will all be down to their continued concentration and consistency throughout the whole match.

With former wallabies Coach Michael Cheika in charge of Los Pumas, their on-field discipline has improved and should help focus the team to producing some of their exciting style of play.

Captain: Julián Montoya.

Player to Watch:  One of their most experienced players, Agustín (Gus) Creevy is always entertaining – but also keep an eye on Nicolas Sanchez (currently playing Club Rugby in France) as a reliable point scorer. 

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What to Eat & Drink whilst watching Los Pumas

Food: Beef.

Well – there are other things but when it tastes this good – why bother with anything else?

Beef is big on menus in Argentina, with menus offering featuring at least 6 different cuts of meat. A typical Asado (BBQ) in the countryside would be a cross, with the meat spread eagled and placed upright next to a wood fire. Today, most people use more conventional parrilla racks to grill their meat but still always with wood fire.  As well as beef, expect to see tender black pudding, sweetbreads, and chorizo on the barbie.  There will often be chimichurri sauce on hand to serve with the meat (parsley, garlic, olive oil & vinegar). To lay your hands on some authentic Argentinian beef –

Argentina had a huge influx in the 19th century of Italian & Spanish immigrants, and especially the Italian influence han been seen in other principal dishes with lots of pasta in many forms popping up.

 So, although a BBQ would be a great thing pre match – if you prefer something simpler to eat during the match then ideal match day food is Empanadas – beer in one hand, Empanada in the other – perfect! Think something along the lines of a Cornish pastry – Fillings are traditionally meat, hard -boiled egg and lots of juicy onions but of course everyone’s Grandmother has the best recipe!   Most of them come designed with giants in mind – but if you want to make it more elegant, make canapé sized ones stuffed with cheese instead. Order direct from  (free delivery) or if you fancy making them at home  – There is an excellent recipe in the book Vino Argentino by Laura Catena – ISBN 9780811873307 – which is also a brilliant book to read about the wines of Argentina. 

Argentina is a vast country, and there is still regionality to some of the foods, for example Patagonia is the source of excellent lamb as well as goat.  But the modern face of Argentinian cooking is very exciting. One key chef Francis Mallman reinvigorated the cooking of his home country and today there are many exciting young chefs,  trained or inspired by him,  reinventing the marvellous natural products that Argentina has but in a modern and sometimes lighter way.

A word on puddings or rather three words – Dulce de leche. This glorious thick caramelised sauce should come with an addiction warning. For perfect finger food during the match, heat some thin pancakes, slather with Dulce de Leche, roll into cigar shapes and chop into mouth sized bites of wonder! It’s easy to make at home from condensed milk but I can also recommend the Merchant Gourmet brand –

For an online Deli of Argentine goodies – look at


Mate: The national drink of Argentina (like Uruguay) is Mate. Made from the dried Yerba Mate plant, it is infused with boiling water.  Taste wise, think a rather particular tasting tisane. The locals walk around everywhere (park benches to the beach!)  sipping it through metal straws out of small gourds, and it is a sign of friendship to be offered to share Mate. Caffeine rich, it could be a good one for the designated drivers!

Beer:  Quilmes with its distinctive blue & white labels is THE beer of Argentina. Light and slightly hoppy. Available at The Beerhunter –

Fernet & Coke – Sounds odd to a Brit when most people’s experience of the Italian Fernet Branca is usually as a not so well-advised hair of the dog. But the Argentinians drink it by the bucket full – apparently the secret blend of 27 herbs and spices that go into it, works well in a drink with Coke. The drink even has its own song in Argentina! Not my ideal drink, but if it’s that or a Mate…… 

Wine:   Argentina is one of my favourite wine countries to visit, not just because of the incredible warm hospitality but the quality and drinkability of the wines produced.  Set against the stunning back drop of the Andes, there are ancient Malbec vines and even a cellar in the shape of a Mayan Temple.  Two flagship varieties are Torrontes for the whites and Malbecs for the red and whilst there are stunning examples of both produced, Argentina’s climate means that other varieties work well including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Pinot Noir. The Italian influence shows also in the vineyards with Bonarda being much planted and a host of other Italian varieties being trialled. 


Crios Torrontes Susanna Balbo – With grapes coming from the high-altitude Salta region and blended with that of the Uco Valley near Mendoza, this is a lovely example of Torrontes. Made by one of the world’s best female winemakers, Susanna Balbo, this fragrant, floral wine with notes of honey and white peaches is very distinctive and works well as an apero during the match warm up! £9.99 Available Adnams –

Catena Chardonnay   – The grapes for this elegant white, come from three high altitude vineyards.  Tropical fruit notes mixing with great minerality, this will develop well in the glass if you have the patience. A fabulous food wine and punches above its price tag £13.99 – Available from Waitrose


Alamos Malbec Rosé. Ideal if looking for an easy quaffing Rosé – for those who don’t fancy red with their steak as leans more to savoury not sweet in style. Uncomplicated but appealing flavours of raspberry.  £9.99 but comes down to £5.99 on current mix six offer – Available Majestic –


Santa Julia Malbec – Perfect for a party, smooth rich fruit combing with spiciness – this wine ticks all the right boxes.  A real crowd pleaser and good value yet well-made wine from an excellent producer. £7.99 From Waitrose –

Obra Prima Malbec Bodegas Cassone – a stunning wine, with silky tannins, great complexity in this flagship wine from their 90 plus year old vines!  £23.50 from

Schroeder Estate Patagonia Pinot Noir – Lovely example of how Pinot Noir has found its feet in Argentina. Perfect with lamb, a speciality of the Southerly Patagonian region from where this wine hails. Enticing notes of black cherries – it works equally well with BBQ aubergine! £13.99 from Laithwaites –

Websites for the wine estates mentioned:

For more information on Wines of Argentina –