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Pumas rugby legend calls time on career

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018    Getty Images

The player closest to Hugo Porta in challenging for the title of greatest Puma told Midi Olympique that the knee injury he suffered in an Investec Super Rugby game for the Jaguares against the Reds had spelled the end.

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"I decided to stop rugby, that's all, it's over," he said.

Hernandez was one of the key players in the most successful Argentina Rugby World Cup campaign, in France in 2007, when they finished third, having beaten the host nation in a shock opening result in the tournament. While a utility back capable of playing first five-eighths, centre or fullback it was the first five-eighths role that he preferred.

He became a key figure in the game in helping Argentina bridge the gap from the previous European connection with their game to their involvement with Sanzaar in southern hemisphere Rugby Championship and Super Rugby competitions.

Hernandez, 35, played six years for Stade Francais featuring in 123 games. He had a nine-game stint with the Sharks in Durban before returning to France with stints at Racing Metro (75 games) and Toulon (8) before becoming a foundation player for the Jaguares.

While he made his international debut against Paraguay in 2003, a 144-0 win, he cemented his place in domestic Test matches before making his mark on the international stage during the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia. He missed the 2011 tournament in New Zealand due to operations on his knee, then he also appeared in the 2015 tournament in England.

He played 74 Tests for the Pumas with his final appearance against Italy in November. He hinted that once he had recovered from his knee injury he might play some games for the club he started out with Deportiva Francisa.

However, he is taking six months break from rugby and has hinted he may pursue a coaching career.

He had sporting genes: his uncle Patricio Hernandez was a member of Argentina's football team at the 1982 Fifa World Cup while his sister Maria de la Paz Hernandez won a silver medal in hockey at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and bronze medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.