Juan Martín Hernández played his first test at flyhalf against the All Blacks this past Saturday. He was one of only three survivors from the 2006 test in Buenos Aires when he was fullback. The the others were Rodrigo Roncero and Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe while Juan Manuel Leguizamón was on the bench. Since then Hernández´s career has exploded in France. He was the player of the year in the Top 14 in the season leading up to Rugby World Cup 2007 and was very much responsible for Stade Français being the 2007 champions. His profile during Rugby World Cup was already huge in France and in Europe in general but after the tournament it was big elsewhere. He was the best flyhalf of the tournament and was a finalist for IRB Player of the Year.
Sicne then, however, things have not be so smooth. He has had serious injury concerns which have kept him out of the sport for long periods. Before The Rugby Championship Hernández had last played in June 2009 against England. Since that match he has had both back surgery and knee surgery. He was greatly missed at Rugby World Cup 2011 but his rehabilitation appears to be a thing of the past. He has been playing well so fat in The Rugby Championship. His passing has been accurate, he has been taking on the line and his kicking continues to be extraordinary.
Against New Zealand this past Saturday he delivered a moment of genius whcih is likely to be used in play of the week segments worldwide. He had dropped back to fullback to cover a potential All Blacks kick. He gathered the kick and then spotted the position of the All Blacks defensively. The New Zealanders were covering a high kick and a long kick which opened a small bit of space for Hernández to try to find touch. He did a banana kick, which is an angled circular kick designed to curve and he did so with perfection. The kick gained his team some 40 metres.