Full name Juan Martin Hernandez
Nickname El Mago
Born August 7, 1982, Buenos Aires
Current age 31 years 214 days
Major teams Racing Metro, Sharks, Stade Français, Argentina
Height 6 ft 1 in
Weight 187 lb
|IRB Rugby World Cup||2003-2007||9||8||1||24||2||1||0||4||7||2||0||77.77|
|The Rugby Championship||2012-2013||10||10||0||29||0||1||9||0||0||10||0||0.00|
|Test debut||Argentina v Paraguay at Montevideo, Apr 27, 2003 match details|
|Last Test||Argentina v Australia at Rosario, Oct 5, 2013 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Known to his many fans as "El Mago", or "the magician", the Argentinean fullback come fly-half has dazzled opponents the world over with his pace and arsenal of kicking skills.
Hernandez made his debut for the Pumas in a 144-0 thrashing of Paraguay in 2003, but really came to prominence following his switch from Deportiva Francesca to Stade Francais. From fullback Hernandez became a force in the Top 14 and Heineken Cup, a devastating attacker joining the line and a solid defensive presence, always immaculate under the high ball. He is well remembered for a crunching, try-saving tackle on Leicester's giant Samoan wing Alesana Tuilagi in the Heineken Cup clash at Welford Road in 2006.
His real arrival on the world stage was signalled by his surprise selection at outside-half in the opening game of the 2007 World Cup, against hosts France. Despite being described in certain quarters at the world's best fullback, Hernandez had designs on the remainder of his career being spent in the outside half berth of both club and country.
Pumas' coach Marcello Loffereda's faith in Hernandez was rewarded by a breathtaking display of attacking skill as his side unceremoniously took the scalp of the hosts on their home turf. Hernandez continued at No. 10 for the remainder of the tournament, notching a hat trick of drop goals against Ireland in the pool decider and another against Scotland in the quarter-finals. The Argentinean effort ended in the semi-final at the hands of eventual champions South Africa, but Hernandez had impressed enough to be nominated for the IRB Player of the Year award for 2007.
A lack of opportunities in the No.10 shirt of Stade Francais led to rumours that Hernandez may be making the jump to England. However, such talk proved unfounded and Hernandez recovered from injury to rejoin Stade's tilt at the Top 14 and Heineken Cup in the 2008-9 season.
In the summer of 2009 he completed a switch to the Sharks in South Africa on a one-year deal with the Durban-based side, but his stay was cut short by injury and he was unable to play a Super Rugby game for his new employers. After a lengthy lay-off, Hernandez confirmed in May 2010 that he would be returning to France that summer after agreeing a deal with Racing Metro.
He made his debut for his new club as a replacement in a win over Toulon and, after another cameo appearance against Clermont, was granted his first start, at fly-half, against Castres a fortnight later. However, the following weekend Hernandez picked up a thigh injury in Racing's clash with La Rochelle, raising more fears that injury might ultimately curtail his glittering career.
A knee injury sustained in March 2011 against Bourgoin put Hernandez out for the rest of the season and the subsequent World Cup. The side crashed out of the competition at the quarter-final stage but showed impressive resiliance throughout.
The Pumas would not have to wait long to take on their southern hemisphere rivals as they were included in the Tri-Nations for the start of the 2012 Rugby Championship. After an impressive season for Racing Metro, Hernandez was back to his best and looked set to play a key role in the tournament for the Pumas.