Friday, September 07, 2012

Beating ABs takes 'best game of your life'
DAVID LONG 07/09/2012

It is not so much a victory that Argentina are chasing when they play the All Blacks tomorrow night in Wellington, but a performance better than in their 16-16 draw with South Africa a fortnight ago.

While the Pumas have been in an optimistic mood in Wellington this week, they are realistic enough to know that their chances of winning are slim.

The players and management have taken a long term approach to being in the Rugby Championship and hope to be challenging for the title in a few years, rather than hoping it could happen now.

"All the guys have said during the week, that to beat the All Blacks in their homeland it has to be the best game of your life," said Argentina captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe after a training session at the Cake Tin today.

"For us, the most important thing for us is to go one step ahead of what we did two weeks ago against South Africa.

"That's what we're looking for, if we give everything we at least have a chance.

"We have to try to maintain the initiative," he added.

"To attack the game from the first minute and keep doing it for 80 minutes, to be perfect in defence and we will need to be perfect in attack.

"I think we have to be perfect in everything we do and give it our best and everything we have, we have to leave the field empty."

Meanwhile, Argentina captain Santiago Phelan said they haven't changed anything in their game plan now that Aaron Cruden will be playing first-five for the All Blacks rather than Dan Carter.

"We know that Dan Carter is an excellent player and very important for New Zealand," Phelan said.

"But we also know that Aaron Cruden is playing very well.

"So our tactics will be the same and we're just thinking about our game.

"We know in front of us we will have the best team in the world, but we are trying to get confidence in what we're doing and what we do on Saturday."

There has been a lot of attention this week on Graham Henry, who is working as Argentina's coaching advisor.

Yesterday, Steve Hansen said the reaction from the All Blacks towards seeing Henry in Argentina gear was "surprise and disappointment". But Phelan played down suggestions that Henry was giving away his inside knowledge on how to beat the All Blacks.

"Most of the things he is working on with us is on the Argentinian team," Phelan said.

"We are trying to develop our game, attacking with the ball and he's working on that.

"He is an excellent person, very kind and has a lot of knowledge. He is focused on how the Argentinian team and how we can improve."

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