- Full back Ben Foden focussed on Pumas clash
- They’re a very dogged, passionate side – Foden
Speaking ahead of England’s Rugby World Cup opener against Argentina on Saturday, England full back Ben Foden has paid tribute to the South Americans, naming former Sale Sharks teammate Juan Fernandez Lobbe as one of the best he’s played with.
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Lobbe will start at No. 8 for Argentina on Saturday as part of a strong line-up, and 17-time-capped Foden says that England will need to be on their guard with Los Pumas prowling.
“They’re a very dogged, passionate side,” said the Northampton Saints man. “They live off your mistakes, they try and disrupt teams and if you give them a sniff they’ll punish you.
“They’re a talented team with some great individuals, Felipe Contepomi is an excellent fly-half and Lobbe, a good friend of mine, is probably one of the best players I’ve played with.”
England arrived in Dunedin last Sunday after spending a few days acclimatising in Auckland, but Foden says that things have gone up a notch or two since the squad touched down in the south of New Zealand.
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He added: “We’ve really kicked on since we’ve been down here. There’s been a lot of training and we’ve been kept busy with media, school visits and cap presentations, so it’s an exciting time.
“We were able to relax a little bit up in Auckland and took in some culture and saw a few sights, but we’re in a Test week now, and we know what we’ve got to get done ahead of the big game on Saturday.”
On his own form, Foden – who has scored three tries for his country – says that the warm up matches against Wales and Ireland blew a few cobwebs out of the system after three months without a competitive game.
“I probably didn’t get as much ball as I would have liked in the warm up games, but they were our first matches for a long time and inevitably there was a bit of rustiness to get out of the system, but we’re here now and ready to give 110%.”