Lobbe unconcerned by rankings battle
November 23, 2012
Juan Fernandez Lobbe will lead his side out on Saturday © Getty Images
Argentina's Juan Fernandez Lobbe has sounded a note of caution to his side and has called on them to focus on the match against Ireland rather than concern themselves with the wider battle for IRB rankings.
With the draw for the 2015 World Cup occurring in early December, Argentina are looking to consolidate their spot in the top eight of the rankings and in the process, securing a second-tier seeding. But Lobbe, who played for the Pumas in their first foray into the Rugby Championship, insists camaraderie rather than World Cup seedings will inspire Argentina to end a groundbreaking year on a triumphant note.
"We're looking forward to this game because it's our last opportunity this year to play together," Lobbe said. "We'll try to enjoy it and will put all the hard work of the year into this final 80 minutes.
"We're trying to be relaxed, there's no point being over-anxious about seedings. We won't be seeing each other for six months, so this is the chance to enjoy our last game together."
The fixture in the past has been dogged by bad blood and Argentina have proved to be the bane of Ireland's existence on the highest stage when they knocked them out of the 1999 and 2007 World Cups. But Fernandez Lobbe does not think that the fixture's previous history will have any bearing on Saturday.
"Maybe the rivalry is because we normally play in World Cups in games that are deciders, making the matches more special," Lobbe said. "But we see this as just another game of rugby in which to test ourselves and keep improving.
"We know how important good discipline is if you want to win games. I'm convinced that we're getting better at that. Any hostility has gone, it's in the past. We always want to play with 15 on the pitch and give away as few penalties as possible.
"This is a good opportunity to test our discipline. Ireland are strong in the pack, they have really strong backs and they like to play a quick game at nine and 10.
"We must be accurate with our discipline because they have a very good kicker. It will be an intense game and a good challenge. Dublin is a great place to play rugby and Ireland are a great team."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape
Move over, Castro - from falling off a chair to stepping off the team bus, Scrum Sevens recounts some of the strangest rugby injuries ever
Martin Gillingham on the latest from France and why the national side can learn a thing or two from Top 14 side Bordeaux Begles