A travel-weary Argentine Rugby team flew into Wellington today vowing to take their best shot at the All Blacks on Saturday.
But none, even captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, were confident enough to even suggest they might pull off an historic upset against the Rugby World Cup holders.
"We hope to have a good game. It is going to be a massive, massive challenge but we are going to prepare this week very well and we will give our best like we always do."
"It is going to be very tough."
The Pumas had never beaten the All Blacks but it has come close twice, once in the 1980s when it drew and then in 2006, when it lost by about six points," said Lobbe.
"All the others it has been big results, so it is a massive challenge playing here in the home of the world champions.
They [the All Blacks] are playing really good rugby in the two games against Australia, so it’s going to be very tough."
The team were tired but the whole squad were fit, ready to train and give their best, the captain said.
The team, who were delayed for about six hours in Chile, were greeted at the airport by a small group of local Argentines including Ambassador Fernanado Escalona.
More than 7,000 seats are still available for Saturday’s test at the Westpac Stadium.
A Rugby Union spokeswoman said 27,500 tickets had been sold by yesterday and she said sales usually picked up after the teams arrived in town.
To help celebrate the test the waterfront fan zone, set up for last year’s Rugby World Cup, will be reactivated on Saturday afternoon for fans to enjoy themselves before parading to the game.
A Wellington City Council spokesman said special flags designed by Wellington school children were being made up for the occasion. There would also be bands, tango dancing and a barbecue with an Argentinian flavour.
From about 6pm fans would be encouraged to join a parade around the waterfront to the stadium. There will be no big screen to watch the game in the fan zone.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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