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Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe left devastated after Argentina defeat

Published 26/10/2015

Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe cuts a dejected figure after Argentina's World Cup semi-final defeat against Australia
Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe cuts a dejected figure after Argentina's World Cup semi-final defeat against Australia

Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe admits he is "devastated" that Argentina's World Cup dream ended at the penultimate knockout stage.

The Pumas' memorable push for glory was halted by a 29-15 semi-final defeat against Australia at Twickenham, which means they now face South Africa in next Friday's bronze medal match.

Argentina won many admirers for their thrilling attacking style of play, and while 70 times-capped Lobbe has vowed such a refreshing approach will continue, he could not mask disappointment that they came up short.

"There are no regrets," he said.

"Last week (against Ireland) every bounce went our way, and we went out with the same ideas against Australia, but they dominated the breakdown and every bounce went their way. It is always tough to play catch-up rugby at this level.

"The only regret would be if we didn't give it everything and we didn't believe in what we were doing.

"We are devastated. We had a dream for us to play next Saturday, not Friday, but we got in front of a really good team and they never give up. I'm really amazed with how they defended.

"We threw everything we had, but we couldn't score and that was the difference. I think it is horrible to lose in a semi-final."

The future, though, is bright for Argentina.

A top-four World Cup finish is guaranteed, repeating their achievement at the 2007 tournament in France, while they also beat South Africa during this year's Rugby Championship.

And, in addition, a new Buenos Aires-based franchise is preparing to take part in the 2016 Super Rugby competition, therefore further broadening Argentina's rugby union horizons.

"I am very excited about it," flanker Lobbe added.

"I think the players, the people in charge, everyone has the right mindset and they are staying humble. So if they stay humble and keep working hard and keep enjoying it, we can look at the future with a lot of excitement.

"They are going to play Super Rugby, they are going to play the Rugby Championship and they are going to be together the entire year. I'm not saying we are going to win it, I am saying you are going to enjoy a lot of good rugby from Argentina.

"The way we are trying to play is amazing, and I think people like the way we try to play. That is a good plus for us. We really have some fun.

"I think people like open rugby. Everyone cheered the way Japan played in this World Cup, the way Canada played, everybody cheered. That is the way we believe you can score tries.

"We're happy to make people proud of the way we play, because that is how rugby should be played - with a lot of heart, passion, enjoyment and throw the ball around."

But Lobbe, who will be 34 next month, accepts that the breakdown is a key area where Argentina must continue improving, with Australian back-row masters Michael Hooper and David Pocock stamping their class all over Sunday's semi-final.

"You get five to eight scrums in a game, maybe 10 lineouts, but how many rucks do you get?" Lobbe said.

"I think that was the key difference in the first-half - Pocock and Hooper just made all the ball really slow for us. They managed very well, and it is not by chance that they are maybe the best two players in the rucks.

"We have been working so hard to get the right skills for the breakdown - I think we are improving a lot - but we will analyse the video, see how they (Australia) play the breakdown and adapt ourselves to get better.

"It is about being very clinical, being aggressive, having the right attitude and mindset.

"The Rugby Championship has given us a chance to play against the best. We see where we can improve, and we keep working."

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