Hourcade backs veteran playmaker

Date published: November 10 2017

Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade has backed veteran fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez to come right against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Hourcade has opted for the tried and trusted in picking Hernandez over Nicolas Sanchez. And Hourcade is looking for the 35-year-old to draw on all of his experience and dictate the tempo of the game.

"We want to take advantage of Juan Martin's experience," said Hourcade.

"Everyone knows how good a player he is. Time moves for everyone but he is a player with the capacity to adapt to any sort of game.

"Before he was the conductor but now our game plan is a bit more dynamic. He knows how to manage game time, to go faster or slower depending on the game.

"That is really important for the team."

Argentina have endured a torrid 2017 which has seen them win only game all year and this has prompted England head coach Eddie Jones to say Hourcade and his team are under pressure to rectify matters.

But Hourcade has flipped the tables on his opposite number, saying that it is England who are the team under pressure as they are overwhelming favourites playing at home in front of an expectant crowd.

"You are always under pressure at the top level. The pressure is perhaps more on England," said Hourcade.

"They are No 2 in the world, we are number 10. We are playing here, in the last part of our season. I think England have the pressure on top of us.

"If we lose, it would be logical but if they lose, it wouldn't. They have the pressure.

"We all know how Eddie is, perhaps some things he says are not true. We want to play on the field."

The sides last met in a two-match series in June which saw England emerging 38-34 and 35-25 victors. And Hourcade says he has identified areas in which to target England.

"We have had some ups and downs," admitted Hourcade. "But we have done very good things during the Rugby Championship and against England.

"What we need is to play at the same level for 80 minutes.

"England are a complete team, really efficient, but they have some weak points. The strategy will be to attack those weak points."