Argentina Rugby Coach Phelan Resigns Before Pumas’ European Tour

Santiago Phelan resigned as head coach of Argentina’s rugby team after 5-1/2 years, leaving the Pumas as they prepare for three matches in Europe next month.

Phelan, 39, will hold a news conference today at the Argentine rugby union’s headquarters in Buenos Aires after informing its board of directors of his decision yesterday, the governing body said in an e-mailed statement.

Former Pumas flanker Phelan, whose contract had been due to expire in December, was hired as Marcelo Loffreda’s replacement in March 2008 and coached the team to 13 wins, 31 losses and a draw in his 45 games in charge.

Argentina reached the 2011 Rugby World Cup quarterfinals and joined Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in an expanded southern hemisphere championship the following year. The Pumas failed to win a match in their first two seasons in the competition, finishing last on both occasions.

The Pumas open their European tour Nov. 9 against England before facing Wales a week later and Italy on Nov. 23.

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