Agulla relishing Jane rematch
September 7, 2012
Horacio Agulla will face the All Blacks this weekend © Getty Images
October 9, 2011, is a date that will not be erased from Horacio Agulla´s mind. That day, in the legendary Eden Park in Auckland, Los Pumas lost 33-10 against the All Blacks and were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the famous tournament. But that´s in the past for the former Tigers winger, so he doesn´t feel that the match coming this Saturday in the Rugby Championship is really a rematch. Nevertheless, there is something he hasn´t forgotten: his duel with Cory Jane - and he wants another chance to face the "best wing in the world".
Agulla conveys confidence during the chat after training at the Hutt Recreation Ground, located just outside the capital of New Zealand and he believes they can succeed. These are his arguments.
Do you think it is going to be a different game than the one you last played with the All Blacks? - The situation is different. It was a World Cup; they were the locals, just like now, but it´s another Championship. We got here with more playing time as a team. The group has stayed together and we have been playing alongside each other for a longer period of time.
Do you feel it as a rematch?
As a team we try not to think about it as a reprisal, it's a totally different situation. This is all new, we're just starting and we have other goals here. As always, we go out to win, but in a World Cup you have no choice but to win, and even more so in the quarter-finals. Afterwards, you remember your individual game, and I have to admit I left that match really disappointed. More than anything, because of the duel with the wingers. I have another chance to face Cory Jane, who is the best in the world, and to be able measure myself against him is great.
Carter's been ruled out...
Perhaps it will be a considerable loss to them, because he's a great player. But I think Aaron Cruden is on the rise. He's playing a great rugby and we must be very careful. His game is similar to Carter´s. But we are determined to stop talking about the All Blacks and start thinking about us. We know they are a great team, and we are aware of all the things they can do, but now it's time to focus on us and get there feeling really confident.
Were you surprised by some of the changes they made?
It is a formidable team. All the players are well-known and they have earned a lot of caps. Savea is a winger but is 104 kilos, he´s an animal with a style similar to that of Hosea Gear. As always, they have a backup for every single position in the field.
Los Pumas played two good matches with South Africa at the beginning of the Rugby Championship, and that has given them high hopes for what's coming. For Agulla, "the confidence level has risen" because they could stand the same pace during 80 minutes.
Are you in better shape compared to the quarter-final match?
I think so. We have made several changes in the team that are important. That´s good for the squad. It´s the first time I have had a pre-season like this, and I feel great. Talking to the guys, we all feel really good.
And is that the same for the team?
Yes - absolutely. You can see that on the field, when you look into the eyes of your team-mates and we all keep pushing each other. That sort of mentality is contagious.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
He teed up Obolensky's try, fought in Burma and played cricket for Warwickshire - we Rewind to look at the story of Peter Cranmer
With the World Cup just a year away, Tom Hamilton picks out five matches to ensure you have tickets for
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup