Beating Irish would be 'massively good' for Pumas - Fernandez Lobbe

·3-min read
A first ever win for Argentina in Dublin over in-form Ireland would be a huge boost for the travel-weary Pumas (AFP/DAMIEN MEYER)

A first ever win for Argentina in Dublin over an Ireland side coming off a victory over New Zealand would be "massively good" for the Pumas at the end of a long season, said assistant coach Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

The former backrow forward -- celebrating his 40th birthday on Friday -- added it would be nothing less than the squad deserved after almost 16 weeks away from home.

They gained a confidence boost last Saturday when they snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating Italy, but meet a side on Sunday that is bidding for an eighth successive Test win.

"I think it has been a long, hard and intense year. Beginning in mid-July, it has been nearly 16 weeks away from home for almost everyone," Fernandez Lobbe said at a press conference on Friday.

"So to finish, what we really want to do is go out there into a full stadium, say 'OK we did everything in training and preparing'.

"The game will decide whether we win or lose but we will play a game on Sunday full of intent, and what we want to do is finish with a win which would be massively good for this group of players as they deserve it for the effort they put in."

Fernandez Lobbe enjoyed some memorable wins over the Irish, at the 2007 World Cup and when they overwhelmed Ireland in the 2015 quarter-final.

However, he says the Irish side he watched beat the All Blacks 29-20 last Saturday was on a different level to their predecessors.

"Definitely we want to break the deadlock," he said, with Argentina winless on nine previous trips to Dublin.

"We are going in the right direction."

"It is going to be very, very tough as Ireland are coming out of one of the biggest games they played.

"It was not only the result, but the way they dominated and controlled the outcome in nearly every situation was the most impressive part of their game."

- Petti fit again -

The Pumas received a lift as veteran second row forward Guido Petti was restored to the starting line-up after the 27-year-old missed the 37-16 victory over Italy due to a knee problem.

Former captain Pablo Matera, who like Petti was a member of the side that beat Ireland in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final, will win his 80th cap.

Another veteran scrum-half, Tomas Cubelli, will win his 82nd cap and is partnered at half-back by Santiago Carreras.

Hooker Julian Montoya captains the side, a man that Irish skipper James Ryan described as one of the best players in the world at the moment due to the number of turnovers he has won this year.

For all their dominance of Argentina when they have met in November Tests in Dublin the Irish, unlike the Pumas, are yet to make a World Cup semi-final.

Argentina reached the last four twice (2007 and 2015) and Fernandez Lobbe said the recipe for such success is simple.

"I would not dare to speak on what is going on with Irish rugby," he said.

"But what happened for us was when you have a group of players all tuning into the same frequency with the same goal and same purpose.

"You also need the rugby gods bouncing your way, you always need a bit of luck, and I think that happened in 2007 and 2015, two groups of players believing in themselves.

"If they (the Irish) put effort into it and believe in the process that will open the gates, though it is never easy as other nations want those spots."

Team (15-1):

Emiliano Boffelli; Mateo Carreras, Matias Moroni, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Lucio Cinti; Santiago Carreras, Tomas Cubelli; Pablo Matera; Marcos Kremer, Santiago Grondona; Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti; Francisco Gomez Kodela, Julian Montoya (capt), Thomas Gallo

Replacements: Facundo Bosch, Ignacio Calles, Eduardo Bello, Lucas Paulos, Facundo Isa, Gonzalo Bertranou, Nicolas Sanchez, Facundo Cordero

Coach: Mario Ledesma (ARG)

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