Wynne Gray

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Rugby: Danger on the perimeter

Argentina are known for their hard men upfront but they have other weapons that can be explosive

Most of the noise about Argentina converges on the power in their pack.

Men like captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Juan Manuel Leguizamon (good luck to tonight's broadcasters) dominate our thoughts about the Pumas because of their skill and prominence.

Fullback Juan Martin Hernandez has also been a sparkling performer but injuries have taken him out of recent play and perhaps dulled some of his edge.

One of the threats has been Gonzalo Camacho on the wing, perhaps an untapped menace because either the Pumas have been unable to get him the right ball or defences have limited his space.

But the 29-year-old is another on the books at Leicester who looks to be a raspy danger.

Camacho was introduced to the sport by his parents, learned the game at school and with eight brothers and sisters there was always company for a pickup game in the backyard of the family home 30 minutes north of Buenos Aires.

That patch of ground might have been small but it did not inhibit their sporting education as it taught all of them how to use space, defend and improvise.

Camacho's parents were sports enthusiasts and always supported their brood on the sidelines and in Sunday night reviews around the family dining table.

Camacho began to make his international mark on the sevens circuit and in 2009, along with several current Pumas teammates, made the final of the world sevens and his test debut.

He is not a big man at 1.73m and about 85kg for a game where wings like Julian Savea, Israel Folau, George North and Alex Cuthbert are becoming more prominent.

"I have always worked very hard at everything I did so size hasn't come into the equation," Camacho said.

He thought Argentina prepared even harder for their introduction last year to the Rugby Championship than they did for the 2011 World Cup. They did not win a game last year but a draw with South Africa and several very competitive performances was encouraging.

Now they are in the grind of year two, looking to reclaim their reputation after getting an opening hiding against South Africa. The return test in Mendoza was more like it and tonight they need to push on once more in Hamilton.

Lobbe has recovered from a hamstring injury to play on the blindside where he will front that challenge.

"There is no other formula against the best other than push them to the fullest and try to make them hesitate," he said.

"New Zealand is a team that is growing in confidence, which is developing a great game which will be a great challenge for all that we have."

"We must be very lucid and each of us must play their role. We have to take the initiative and know that in 80 minutes you can always go either way. We must have confidence and always want more."

Preparation had been fine and more concerted. The Pumas understood the size of the task but they wanted to test themselves against the best and add more to their game. They were solid about their plans and the improvements they had been making in their cohesion.

- NZ Herald

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