Rumours of Los Pumas’ demise greatly exaggerated‚ warns De la Fuente
The rumours of their demise as a team who can cause a stir at the Rugby World Cup (RWC) due to fatigue are greatly exaggerated‚ says Argentina centre Jéronimo de la Fuente.
It has been suggested‚ to almost self-fulfilling lengths‚ that Los Pumas would go into gradual decline the deeper they go into the international season.
The overwhelming majority of their team also campaigned throughout Super Rugby and the rigours of that competition with its exhaustive travel schedule‚ as well as the Rugby Championship‚ it has been cautioned‚ would take its toll on their players.
De la Fuente‚ who is also the team’s vice-captain‚ believes they have learnt to cope with the vicissitudes of cross-continental competition.
Besides‚ he contends‚ they grow an arm and a leg when they put on their national jersey.
“The main goal here is to use the jersey of Los Pumas. We can’t get tired of that jersey‚” said De la Fuente.
“The jet lag and the trips are now part of our DNA. We think we are managing that well in our preparation for matches. We are accustomed to that. It is part of our life. It is easy for us.”
He was also keen to remind that Los Pumas are not entirely a cut-and-paste job from the Jaguares.
“We are not the same team as the Jaguares. In Los Pumas we have some overseas players who have joined us‚ so it is a different team and there is other different stuff.
“The positive thing about this is that almost 90 percent of the players of the Jaguares are with Los Pumas‚” said De la Fuente.
Assistant-coach Nicolás Fernández Miranda believes Los Pumas have been gradually improving since joining the Rugby Championship in 2016.
“Obviously Test match rugby is more difficult than Super Rugby or club rugby in Europe. We are looking to grow our game.
“Already these players have done this for four years. That is enough time to be comfortable in this situation‚” he said about the travel demands on Argentine players.
He believes their preparations for the RWC are on track.
“For us our preparation is sufficient. We play this game then we go for two weeks back to Argentina‚ then we go to Sydney for 10 days preparing for the RWC. We will play a friendly match against Randwick then we go to Japan.”
Argentina end their Rugby Championship campaign against the Springboks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday (kickoff 5.05pm).
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