Argentina may have been drawn in the archetypal pool of death with automatic qualifiers France and Ireland at Rugby World Cup 2007, but that has not deterred Juan Martin Hernández from setting his sights high for the tournament.
One of the top six sides in the IRB World Rankings will miss out on the quarterfinal stage, something Hernández knows all about, having sat on the bench as Argentina lost 17-16 to Ireland at the Adelaide Oval in 2003 to end their challenge.
However if Hernández's target it realised, the Pumas will have enjoyed their most successful ever Rugby World Cup, bettering their solitary quarterfinal appearance in the 1999 tournament - where France stopped them 47-26.
"Our World Cup will end with the last whistle of our last match, hopefully that will be as late in the tournament as possible. Every time people ask me how far we could go in the competition, I say 'to the semi final'," Hernández told Total Rugby.
Hernández, who scored two tries in three matches at RWC 2003, has been identified as one of the players likely to shine at Rugby World Cup 2007, but the versatile back refuses to let such speculation go to his head.
Pumas training camp
"I don't want to pay much attention to what I read, watch or hear. It's always nice to hear that people appreciate you, but everything depends on the team. Of course, I hope everything goes very well for me, but I always want to keep my feet on the ground."
The 24-year-old, whose sister Maria has won two Olympic medal with Argentina in field hockey, and the other members of Argentina coach Marcelo Loffreda's extended World Cup squad arrived in Florida on Sunday for a two-week training camp.
They then return to Buenos Aires to continue preparations for their Pool D challenge, one Hernández hopes will see him make the fly half jersey his own, rather than the fullback one he has tended to occupy for the Pumas.
"Fly half is the position I like best and where I hope to play in the World Cup, although to be fair I haven't played very much in that position with the national team," said Hernández, who won this year's French title with Stade Français.
"On the occasions I have played there I've always felt very comfortable. I do like playing at fullback as well and when it comes to the World Cup and representing my country, if I play there or at fly half I will be happy."
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