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Pumas push for perfection

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Sportal.co.nz     07 Sep 2013     Getty Images

Returning Pumas captain, and loose forward, Juan Martin Hernandez Lobbe said every detail had to be perfect because they were playing a team that was probably the best in history.

"We know it is a great challenge, but the way to deal with that is to embrace it and give it all," he said.

That came down to having everything right in scrums, lineouts, rucks and retaining ball, but it was about perfection in every aspect of the game.

While games with New Zealand were now more common for Argentinian sides there was no lessening in the aura of the All Blacks.

"You get used to playing them definitely, but when you see them play the other games you can never under-estimate or take the aura away, because they just keep improving. They are becoming better every year.

"Of course when you start playing against these sorts of guys, for us it is great because we are definitely going to start going up if we use the experience wisely and I think we are doing that. But you can never take their aura away, they are an amazing team," he said.

Lobbe said the breakdown would naturally be a key area in the game. He pointed out that there might be five scrums in a game, 10 lineouts. But there were 180 points of contact in a game.

"So we need to be clever, clinical and we need to be precise in every aspect because we are playing against one of the best teams in the contact area.

"We've been working very hard since July 1 in the contact area," he said.

Lobbe was more than aware of the emergence of Steven Luatua on the blindside of the scrum, courtesy of former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry who is an advisor to Argentina.

"I think he is a great No.6, he's a big ball carrier, strong in defence and if you become the No.6 of the All Blacks you are definitely a great player," he said.


Lobbe said he was confident he was over his calf injury problems and had put it well behind him. He had taken a cautious approach with it initially but he had been training well all week.

It had been a frustrating time for him and he was disappointed to have missed the two Test matches against South Africa.

That was because of the opportunities the Rugby Championship offered Argentinian players.

"I wanted to be here from the start but I am happy to be back in the team, especially against the All Blacks. In Hamilton it is going to be a great challenge, the best challenge ever," he said.

"We have a lot of respect for this challenge but we have a lot of confidence about what we are trying to achieve so we are going to go and give it all tomorrow. That's the way to play."

As an aside he said his thought that Argentina could be involved in future expansion of Super Rugby was 10 years too late for him. It would be an amazing thing for Argentina to be involved in.

Lobbe added that the one aspect of New Zealand's approach to rugby that he liked was the enjoyment its players took from the game. He said playing alongside New Zealanders in Toulon this year had emphasised the enjoyment factor for him.

"They enjoy putting in so much effort, but in the end it is a game, always a game, and I really admire that," he said.