Rugby World Cup
Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe enjoying final matches with Pumas
Patricio Connolly
October 21, 2015
Can Argentina pull off the unthinkable?

LONDON -- Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe is enjoying his final matches with the Pumas. The team's most experienced player will continue his career with Toulon in the French Top 14 once the Rugby World Cup is over, rather than returning to Argentina to play with the new Super Rugby franchise, so he'll be ineligible to continue wearing the white-and-blue shirt. That's why he's thoroughly enjoying every minute of the Rugby World Cup, with each win giving him more positivity to cope with the pain he knows he'll feel when the time comes to leave the team.

Fernandez Lobbe raised his arms and jumped in celebration after Juan Imhoff's try that helped the Pumas get back on the winning track against Ireland in Cardiff's imposing Millennium Stadium. Eight years earlier, against the same opponent, he did exactly the same thing when Juan Martin Hernandez scored the last magical drop goal at Parc des Princes. He is one of the few survivors of that team, and one of the five players who've had the privilege of making history in a World Cup once again.

Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe. © Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

"It's two more matches with this shirt, which is everything," Fernandez Lobbe told ESPN of the coming two weekends. "I enjoy it. I also have fun playing with this team. We are professionals but it is the same sport that I have loved since age four, running like crazy behind a ball. There was a time when we stopped enjoying ourselves. I hope we reach the final. And for that we will enjoy this whole week, without driving ourselves crazy."

Superb Argentina stun Ireland

Fernandez Lobbe said the Pumas were taken aback when they claimed a 20-3 lead over Ireland in the quarterfinals. No-one had expected such a scoreline. Not even the Pumas.

"We were surprised [by our big lead] and we stopped playing for 20 minutes, and they got pretty close," Fernandez Lobbe told ESPN. "But the team knew that we had to fall back into the system. That is our safety net, and we have it so oiled that if we go back to doing our thing, we know it will work. We are little robots."

Next comes Australia, and he'll be playing his second semi-final. He played in the defeat against South Africa in France 2007, and now he's dreaming all over again. But he knows how the current team started.

"When we started in the Rugby Championship, I always said that I preferred losing a thousand times to the All Blacks than beating other teams, because when you play with the best, you learn, and only after that come the results."

Enjoying is the word you hear most. "I'm like a child," Fernandez Lobbe says. And the proof is in his smile, on and off the pitch.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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