Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade says is side must "accept" the decisions made by referee Wayne Barnes in the 29-15 defeat to Australia which denied the Pumas their first appearance in the final of the Rugby World Cup. Barnes sin-binned Tomas Lavanini for a no-arms tackle in the first half before adjudging Drew Mitchell's borderline pass to have gone backwards in the lead up to Adam Ashley-Cooper's hat-trick try.
The Wallabies combined a ruthless attacking game in the first half with defensive steel in the second to keep out Argentina, who produced a breathtaking attacking display but were unable to prevail at Twickenham. But a week on from Craig Joubert's mistake which gifted Australia a place in the semi-final, officials were at the centre of attention again after Barnes made a number of debatable decisions.
But Hourcade was unwilling to label the Englishman as responsible for his team's exit. Asked about the yellow card for lock Lavanini, which reduced the South American's to 14-men during which time Australia scored their third try, Hourcade disagreed with the decision but refused to criticise Barnes.
"The player stretched his arm, there was a huge impact with the other player and he couldn't close his arms," he said. "I don't think there was any intention not to do a tackle. They [the officials] have done the analysis and they came to a conclusion and we have to respect those decisions."
Hourcade added on the potential forward pass from Australia winger Mitchell: "Those things happen in the game. It may have been, it may have not but that is in the past and we just need to accept it. The referees decisions cannot be questioned."
Argentina can repeat their third place finish from 2007 if they can beat South Africa in the third/fourth place play-off on Friday [30 October], a game which Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer described as "like kissing your sister". But Hourcade believes the game represents another chance for his enterprising side to impress.
"I would rather be third and not fourth and rather be in the top three," he added. "I don't understand what he [Meyer] said and that is my main goal at the moment. We will not be world champions so our next goal will be to be third and to beat South Africa and that is for third place.
"I feel very proud of what the team have achieved. Australia played very well, they are a great team and if we played again I would follow the same plan because this was what we always wanted."