Argentina resumed training on Monday in preparation in Australia. After the rest day on Sunday, Daniel Hourcade’s charges began a new week, which will culminate on Saturday with a trip to Christchurch ahead of the kick off of the Rugby Championship. The session, as usual, started very early.
In the lounge located on the second floor of the Hotel Pullman campus Hourcade had video analysis with the coaches. Then they moved to St Joseph’s College, to conduct a training session that included tactical skills, test sequences and also lineout practice for the forwards and attacking moves between the backs. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe is certainly a benchmark in this campus of Los Pumas.
Fernandez Lobbe says: ‘I’m very excited. The first week was very good and was very intense. We trained very well with many concepts to assimilate and hopefully this second week is the same. Those who join us this week were watching what the guys have been doing since February, so we have to keep working hard on the details ahead of the match with New Zealand. The beautiful thing is to be here and enjoy this. Beyond that it is hard and intensive work but still a pleasure to be here. We realise that what we are doing now is very important for what comes next.’
The Toulon player says he there is much to come from the Argentines this year: ‘We were watching the final of Super Rugby and it was really a pleasure for all those who like to enjoy this sport. The level displayed by both teams was very good and I think if something should highlight New Zealand, it is the ability to invent something, even when you think that everything is already invented. We know that in two weeks Christchurch is going to be really hard so we must prepare well.’ In a World Cup year, it is inevitable to think about what will happen in England from September. But to get to that point, there is a process that the selected players go through, and there is still a demanding Rugby Championship coming up.
In this regard, the player with the most Tests in Los Pumas’ current squad says: ‘The ultimate goal this year is the World Cup, but if we make good use of what we’re doing, and we enforce the most of our opportunities before the World Cup, we’ll face great competition and improve our fitness. We have to play well in order to build confidence between now and September 20th.’
On a day that provided rest in the afternoon, one of five survivors of the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Fernandez Lobbe, appreciated the importance of being able to be part of a new Argentina preparation: ‘Obviously one is more quiet unlike previous preparations because one has the experience of having lived this situation, but the desire is the same and what is important to know is this is still unique and you have to enjoy it.’