Rugby World Cup
Argentina's Nicolas Sanchez inspired by 'legend' Jonny Wilkinson
Rob Bartlett
October 21, 2015
Which former player would you want at the World Cup?

Argentina fly-half Nicolas Sanchez hopes the spirit of England great Jonny Wilkinson will help him knock Australia out of the World Cup semifinals on Sunday.

Wilkinson coached Sanchez during his time at Toulon, also the club of Matt Giteau. The Wallabies star admitted picking Wilkinson's brains had helped him and Australia knock hosts England out of the World Cup, but the 2003 World Cup winner may yet have the last laugh should his influence inspire Sanchez to keep up the incredible form that has seen the Pumas No.10 chalk up 74 points in the tournament.

"When people ask me, 'Who is the greatest player ever', I say Wilkinson. He is a legend and I tried to take advantage of his knowledge as much as possible," Sanchez said during a press conference at the team's Pennyhill Park base.

"Wilkinson worked with me on my kicking and made me focus on the details. One important thing we worked on was the mentality that a kicker has to have, and he taught me how to be focused.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04:  Nicolas Sanchez (R) of Argentina is tackled high by Tukulua Lokotui (C) of Tonga during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Argentina and Tonga at Leicester City Stadium on October 4, 2015 in Leicester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Nicolas Sanchez has been all but unstoppable during the Rugby World Cup © Getty Images

"It is important to get as close to 100 percent as possible. I will have to have the right mentality when I'm kicking [against Australia] because the match could come down to one or two points. Nerves are inevitable, but I will try to stay calm, not let the nerves get to me and ignore the pressure."

Sanchez, who was named man of the match in last weekend's quarterfinal victory over Ireland, knows all about Giteau and the threat he will pose at Twickenham on Sunday.

"Giteau is a world-class player and I learned so much from him even though I didn't have the chance to play a lot with him because he was injured so much," Sanchez added. "He is a fantastic player and a great decision-maker in attack and he will be a key player this weekend."

Argentina have a chance to go one better than their 2007 World Cup vintage, which beat hosts France in the Bronze Medal match at the Stade de France eight years ago. Only three of the current crop played in that match -- Juan Martin Hernandez, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Marcos Ayerza -- but Sanchez said their experience has been vital in England, particularly in their victory over the Irish.

"They said we need to be confident, quiet and relaxed. After our yellow card [Ramiro Herrera] and conceding some penalties, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe told everyone to stay calm and relax. You could see his experience coming through."

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