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Marcelo arrives at Welford Road

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Marcelo Loffreda arrived at Leicester Tigers this week as the first South American head coach in the Guinness Premiership and said he is "excited by the new challenge" at Welford Road.

Addressing a press conference at the home of the Guinness Premiership and EDF Energy Cup champions on Wednesday afternoon, Loffreda said: "I appreciate the decision of the Board to call me. It is a big challenge."

Loffreda guided Argentina to the bronze medal in their best-ever World Cup last month, and said: "I have coached Argentina for eight years and it was a great honour, but this is a different stage for me. It is a different challenge, I am excited and I am honoured to be at one of the best clubs in world rugby.

"It was very emotional to leave the Pumas but I was there for a long time and now I can look forward to a new challenge with Leicester Tigers."

Loffreda revealed that he had done his homework on Leicester before accepting the job as head coach in succession to Pat Howard, seeking advice from Les Cusworth, the Tigers legend who is now director of rugby for the Argentina Rugby Union.

"Les explained to me what it is all about at this club and I found it was very similar to the ethos and work ethic at my club, San Isidro, though of course in different terms," he said. "Then when I met Peter Tom, Peter Wheeler and Simon Cohen, I got the same idea."

Loffreda praised the current coaching and playing staff at Tigers after acting head coach Richard Cockerill steered the club to five wins in the opening weeks of the season despite having 12 players at the World Cup.

"Yesterday, when I met the players and staff I congratulated them, they have done super work," he said. "It was not easy to miss so many players at the World Cup and Richard Cockerill has done very good work. We are a team, that is important, if we want the players to be a team the staff have to be a team also."