London – Argentina just need to focus on playing good rugby and their first Rugby Championship victory will come, but even a Wallabies team in crisis will be tough to beat on Saturday, said fullback Juan Martin Hernandez.
Hernandez, known as “El Mago” or “the magician”, has played in all but two of Argentina's first nine matches in the southern hemisphere's annual Test championship but yet to taste victory.
With Australia having crashed to defeat in five of their six Tests this year, and the Pumas having impressed in a narrow loss to world champions New Zealand last week, though, many pundits are expecting an upset in Perth on Saturday.
Perhaps bearing in mind the 73-13 hammering at the hands of South Africa in Soweto with which the Pumas opened the tournament, Hernandez was not getting carried away with an encouraging defeat.
“Victory comes as a consequence of playing good rugby and that is what we have to concentrate on,” he told News Limited in Perth.
“We are learning from the games we have played and getting more experience to hopefully control games better with our rhythm as a team.”
While it will be the hulking Pumas pack that will be expected to take the fight to their hosts at Subiaco Oval, Hernandez is a reminder that the Argentines have talent in the backline too.
The 31-year-old memorably burst into the limelight at the 2007 World Cup when, having been switched to flyhalf, some brilliant attacking displays helped Argentina to a stunning third-place finish.
Hernandez has a healthy respect for Australian backs and thinks the quality of the opposition they have faced this year – the British and Irish Lions and All Blacks have handed them four of the five defeats – should be taken into account.
“All the sides the Wallabies have played recently have been very good. Always, results talk more but the press has been tough on the Australian team,” he added.
“They are a very big challenge for us. I love the Wallabies' game. They are one of the best in their attacking structures that I know.”
Now back in the number 15 jersey, Hernandez lines up in an experienced backline with Felipe Contepomi returning in the centres to win his 85th cap.
With flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez also having a decent boot on him, the Wallabies backs can expect to be catching a good few high balls as the Pumas go for their first win over Australia since 1997.
Hernandez, though, is more concerned at what is going to come the other way and believes the Australians will be dangerous if everything finally clicks for them.
“The opposition has been defending them well but when I watch the Wallabies I see what the backline have been practising,” he said.
“If they finish all the moves they do have, they are very dangerous.” – Reuters