James Mortimer 23.Sep.2012Getty Images
Some members of the All Blacks could be led to believing that a greater reception awaited in the city, and when they passed passionate supporters of Club Atletico Independiente (one of Argentina’s five great clubs) letting off fireworks outside a local hotel, the team were instantly given a taste of that famous Latin passion.
Welcome to Argentina, where rugby is growing, but football is still king.
The supporters were gearing up for a local Primera match (the top level of Argentine domestic football), while even at the All Blacks hotel, a wedding took attention away from the arrival of the number one ranked rugby team.
Only four of the current 28-man touring party have played in Argentina, with Dan Carter,Piri Weepu, Tony Woodcock and Andrew Hore featuring in 2006, while Ma’a Nonu was an unused sub off the bench.
That match saw the All Blacks captained by Jerry Collins, and despite trailing at halftime, the visitors were able to close out the match 25-19, a typical test on Argentine soil at the Ferrocaril Oeste.
There were no illusions as to how tough the challenge would be, although All Blacks wing Cory Jane embraced this.
"A few of the guys who have been here in the past have said it's a tough place to play,” he said.
“We'll have our work cut out but it'll be good.”
"They play on passion so we have to try and quieten them down as much as we can. If they get their heads up it's going to be a tough day."
Jane’s Super Rugby captain Conrad Smith, who missed the last Argentine tour with a broken leg, said that the home crowd factor was one aspect the All Blacks had prepared for.
“History has shown they're a particularly tough team to beat on their home soil, so that indicates what an advantage it is to them," he said.