Raul Perez is one of the members of the Argentina technical staff led by Daniel Hourcade. The Rosario coach has the respect of the players and is an authoritative voice when talking about the team. The analysis of the first week in Sydney by “Aspirin” Perez
After arriving last Sunday in Sydney, Australia, Los Pumas have completed the first week of preparation before the Rugby Championship. With a squad of 36 players, the national team has already had five days of intense exercise and are shaping up nicely for the opening match. Referring to the experience in this first week, Perez says: ‘This first week we used to join the players who returned from Europe and the guys who were working in Argentina. We had many hours of video analysis to organise and try to convey what we were doing. Overall it was a good week, and today we had a day of high intensity, where it resembled a game. We are always making small changes to the system, so as not to be so predictable. We are a group that is coming together and it is very clear that everyone has the idea of our play. The aim of this week was to assemble and to ensure all the players understood what we are trying to achieve.’
The comfort of the Pullman Hyde Park and St Joseph College are critical for players and coaches, as they can focus purely on the task at hand and the important details that always stand out when analysing details. Perez says: ‘Being together we have the opportunity to work full time. Practice ends and then we are able to view it through a video and at night I talked to the players about what is best for us. It is a good opportunity for the dynamics to work. That’s why we focus on the details, to make a great fit, and so when we finished training you look at certain issues or personal consultations of the players.’
After what was the South American Championship and the June international window, the players who played in European rugby joined up with their teammates. This inclusion provided an increased level for the local players, which is highlighted by the former coach of Duendes Rugby Club. Perez says: ‘ As far as quality is concerned this is an important step. One has a string of moves in the head and it can be executed quickly and correctly by a quality player. Experience helps with anxiety too but above all, when you add quality players it is that they execute our game plan well.’
On Friday July 17 Los Pumas plays its first Rugby Championship 2015 match against New Zealand. Perez underlines the importance of tackling the All Blacks: ‘The match against New Zealand requires great attention and we are pointing this out to the players. While we were detailing changes in the system, it is also a set-up for the match with All Blacks.’ The determination of the players and the desire to seize the opportunity to earn a spot in the match day squad raises the level of intensity, and is well received by the coaches.
The South Americans will travel to New Zealand next week to kick off the Rugby Championship.