Tomas Cubelli insists freedom of expression will be crucial to Argentina’s chances of reaching a maiden World Cup final.
The softly-spoken 26-year-old will share scrum-half duties with Martin Landajo in Sunday’s World Cup semi-final against Australia, reprising their career-long friendly rivalry once more.
Argentina’s fearless attacking has lit up the World Cup, head coach Daniel Hourcade telling his charges: “We play with our heart in our hand”. The passionate Pumas are free to imprint individual and collective personality into their rugby, and Cubelli believes the results speak for themselves.
“I think people act in the game as they are in life,” said Cubelli, signed up to Argentina’s new Super Rugby franchise. “It’s a rule that as you are outside of the field that’s how you’ll play.
“The Jesuits say, ‘we are as we practise sport’, and I agree with that. It’s great when teams really express as a team and individuals. And it’s great when all the individuals are expressing the same objective. I think good things come from that.”
“Good things” translates as the 43-20 quarter-final victory over Ireland, the Pumas pouncing for two tries inside the first 10 minutes and refusing to allow Joe Schmidt’s side to recover.
Now head coach Hourcade’s men face their second World Cup semi-final in eight years, with many anticipating a watershed moment for the Pumas.
Cubelli shares half-back duties with Landajo, and in terms of personality the two could hardly be more different. Where Cubelli keeps his counsel and stays quiet, Landajo, 27, seeks company and cracks jokes.
Each nine is just as important as the other to the Pumas, and despite their different personalities, Cubelli said they remain firm friends.
He added: “It’s a special rivalry for me. It’s a pleasure to share and to fight for a jersey with another player. It makes you sure that you are always at the top of your game, and that’s very good. It’s great for me to compete with Martin.”