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Volleyball team to face coach's son
Angela Habashy
06:21 AEST Sat Jul 28 2012

The Australian men's volleyball team - an entire side of Olympic debutants - have a secret weapon in their arsenal for their opening clash at London's Earls Court on Sunday.

Australia take on their coach Jon Uriarte's native Argentina first up in the group stages with his son Nicolas playing for the South Americans.

The 50-year-old Uriarte, who was part of the 1988 Seoul Games bronze-medal winning Argentine team, went on to become the head coach of the team in 2006 and some of those players are still part of the orld No.8-ranked side.

And his intimate knowledge of Australia's first opponents at the London Games doesn't stop there.

"The captain (Rodrigo Quiroga) I've know him since he was born. I played with his father and uncle for years in the Argentina national team," Uriarte told AAP.

"And all the other players I've know them since they were very young and I've played a role to build this team and then of course my son."

The 22-ranked Australians will need any edge they can get in the group stages, facing teams all ranked higher than them apart from hosts Great Britain.

Australia are drawn in group A pool with Italy, Poland, Argentina and Bulgaria - all in the world's top 10 - as well as as the world No.92 Brits, in the 12-team tournament.

But Uriarte believes their giant-killing effort to secure an Olympic berth - including wins over the likes of world No.10 China and Asian Champions Iran - will stand them in good stead.

"We are facing our first match with all this background behind us and this makes us confident that we'll get off to a good start at the Olympics," he said.

"We said the day that we qualified we want to crash more than one party."

And as for where his loyalties lie when he faces his son's team on Sunday.

"I have no doubt who I want to win," Uriarte said.

"I have learned to love Australia very deeply ... and I want to see them win against any team even Argentina."

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