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Friday, September 17, 1999 Published at 07:40 GMT 08:40 UK

Sport: Rugby Union

Mendez walks out on Pumas

Argentina have a host of problems as they move into the fourth Rugby World Cup

Argentina's Rugby World Cup preparations were thrown into disarray on Thursday, when their coach, Hector Mendez, resigned less than a fortnight before the tournament opens in Wales.

Luis Gradin, president of the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR), said Mendez had informed him of his decision on Wednesday after saying he would not play second fiddle to New Zealander Alex Wyllie, who has been made a team consultant.

"It seems rather strange that Mendez should throw in the towel now when he knew he was going to be number two to Wyllie," Gradin said. "But nothing surprises me."

Wyllie joined the UAR in July, but the two have not seen eye to eye on squad selection.

Some players and officials had also voiced opposition to the decision to drop Ezequiel Jurado and Diego Soler.

The UAR decided to make Wyllie the head coach in an attempt to clear the air but come what may he has already announced he will only take charge for the duration of the World Cup.

Argentina have been grouped alongside Wales, Manu Samoa and Japan in the tournament's Pool D.

The Pumas open their World Cup campaign against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on October 1.

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