Toulon loose forward Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe will captain the Pumas in the upcoming Rugby Championship, the Argentina Rugby Union have confirmed
The 43-Test cap back-row will take over the reins from veteran centre Felipe Contepomi, who has not been included in the Pumas’ 33-man training squad ahead of their opening fixture against South Africa on August 18.
Like most of Argentina first-choice players, Fernández Lobbe was rested during the June Tests against Italy and France, but was unlikely to feature anyway after a knee injury ruled him out of the Top 14 Final.
Fernández Lobbe has long served as vice-captain of the Pumas although he skippered the side during the 2009 June Tests in the absence of the injured Contepomi.
“It’s a great responsibility that I’m very proud to assume,” said Fernández Lobbe.
“It’s a great honour and I’m grateful to those who taught me, in one way or another, the values that allowed me to get here.
Looking ahead to the challenge of facing rugby’s powerhouses, the new captain said all he could ask of his team was to play their “maximum potential.”
“We’re fully commitment,” he said.
“We know the magnitude of the challenge we are facing, but we have to take this chance to continue to grow as a team. The truth is that it’s something spectacular, which we fought for, for a very long time.
“Today we can say that the Pumas have their annual competition, and it is incredible”.