LA PLATA, Argentina: Argentina will not let their desperation for a first win in the Rugby Championship blur their focus on their closing match against Australia next Saturday, captain Juan Fernandez Lobbe said.
The Pumas, who lost 33-15 to New Zealand in La Plata on Saturday after a very good first half performance, have lost 10 and drawn one of their 11 matches in two seasons in the southern hemisphere’s elite tournament.
Lobbe said there was a danger of Argentina being distracted by talk in the media and among fans the Wallabies are there for the taking after they scrambled home 14-13 against the Pumas in Perth two weeks ago for their only win of the 2013 championship.
“The more there is talk of Australia coming here in poor form, the better they’ll play, they are the third best team in the world,” Fernandez Lobbe told reporters.
Argentina had also been talked up in their debut season ahead of the final match against the Wallabies in Rosario, where they meet again next Saturday for the wooden spoon, only to go down 25-19.
“It’s going to be a tremendous match and in Perth they were not in good form but they beat us,” the loose forward pointed out.
“Let’s hope Australia have a bad match … but we’re not going to listen to the victory talk because that’s how things like Soweto occur.”
Fernandez Lobbe was referring to Argentina’s shocking start to this year’s tournament when they were crushed 73-13 by the Springboks.
“It’s very frustrating for us not to get a first victory but we have to keep growing along these lines and it will come,” he said.
Asked to pinpoint the best aspects of Argentina’s game, he said: “Our defense continues to be very good, our discipline has improved immensely, in all our matches we gave away less penalties than our opponents.
“But we weren’t able to create try-scoring chances and that’s something we have to improve.”
Argentina dominated the first half but New Zealand scored the only try to lead 11-9 at the break and in the second they dominated, running in three more tries for a bonus point.
“We played our best 40 minutes this year and we couldn’t put that dominance on the scoreboard and in the second half we were put under incredible pressure, they’re not the best team in the world for nothing,” Fernandez Lobbe said.