|Photo UAR: Martin Seras Lima|
Could Argentine international captain, Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe be the 2012 IRB Player of the Year? This was the question asked to me by a New Zealander who is married to an Argentine woman and is a keen follower of Los Pumas. While the IRB is yet to finalize its nominations for the top award it would appear to be a strong possibility based on his performances in The Rugby Championship and in this weekends victory over Wales in Cardiff. He was named man of the match by former Welsh international Jonathan Davies and was singled out on countless rugby websites for his performance. His leadership was also widely praised while the widely respected Sam Warburton was said to have had a quite match and been unable to motivate his players.
Earlier in the year Fernández Lobbe returned from injury to help Toulon reach the French Top 14 Final and then went on to replace Felipe Contepomi as Argentina´s new full time captain. In The Rugbyu Championship Fernández Lobbe was one of the best Argentine players and was one of the most consistent performers in the tournament. England´s Sky Sports rated him highly for his performance in the draw against South Africa in Mendoza.