Argentina

Preview: Argentina v South Africa

Fri, 24 Aug 2012 08:49
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The voices will be loud in their Castillano support of the Pumas
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Will there be a difference this time - a different winner, different scores, a different way of playing rugby when the Springboks and the Pumas meet in the town of trees at the foot of the Andes?

Why should there be much of a difference? They are virtually the same teams, playing a week apart after travelling the same journey, exchanging cool Newlands for the cool Estadio Malvinas Argentinas with the same three on-field match officials?

There is a difference in the crowd, of course. Newlands was remarkably laid back about the Test which was played in almost a sober atmosphere in the evening, There was little excitement for the Test and a ground that was not full.

This time there is excitement in the provincial capital of Cuyo and the voices will be loud in their Castillano support of the Pumas - not that they will be hostile to the Springboks' whom they love and admire. But they would so love the Pumas to break into the line of history which is 100 percent in Springboks favour. After all the Welsh managed it after 93 years of trying.

How will the sides handle the result? Will the Springboks be more confident because of their victory? Will the proud Pumas be more determined because of their defeat, knowing they were not 21 points worse than their opponents.

What other differences could there be? The Pumas may kick better at goal after missing three penalty attempts at the start of the second half. The Springboks' may kick at goal more often though it is hard not to see them again settling into victory and then going for the bonus point for tries which they in Stormers' fashion failed to do.

Will the Springboks do better in retaining and even getting the ball on the ground. The Pumas beat them there and were able to launch threatening attacks.  Now without Bismarck du Plessis, the best Springbok 'fetcher', and with added thump to their thump-'n-bang there seems to reason why they should get more tackle ball. There is even more pressure on the young shoulders of Marcell Coetzee who must tackle, run and try to win the loose ball, doing the work of more than one man.

The maul will again be important. Will the Springboks be better able to deal with the Puma maul and will they be able to get their own working more effectively. That said, they scored a try from a maul, the Pumas did not.

Will the Pumas be able to kick those up-and-unders with the same precision as Juan Martín Hernández did - laying languidly back and flicking out a long boot to send a kick soaring and dropping just short of the Springboks 22? Mind you, Zane Kirchner and Co. dealt well with the kicks and they yielded not a single try.

Will the Pumas be able, gaucho-like, be able to rein in the Springbok speed? Most of the Pumas play in Europe's plodding game while the Springboks play in speedy Super Rugby. The Springboks were faster than the Pumas last week. There was clearly evidence of Puma willingness to play the more expansive game but Springbok defenders were faster than Puma runners.

Players to watch:

For Argentina: There will be much interest in the magician's replacement at flyhalf, Nicolás Sánchez, a relatively new man at flyhalf. Much will depend on him.Out on the right wing Gonzalo Camacho showed nip and promise but was generally well boxed in.

For South Africa: Bryan Habana yet again if, moon boot discarded, he can again electrify a Springbok attack. You will see brave, determined François Hougaard who had a much better game last week. You will see Andries Bekker soaring in the line-outs and Eben Etzebeth thumping forward. How much better they would be if entirely injury-free.  But of the pack young Marcell Coetzee is the man to watch.

Head to Head: Tall athletic Andries Bekker against solid, unrelenting Patricio Albacete at lock. The experience of Marcelo Bosch at outside centre against the experience and greater speed of Jean de Villiers. Here's hoping that those outside of them also get to play. Front row against front row again. Even without Bismarck du Plessis, the Springbok front row is strong.

Recent Results:
2012: South Africa won 27-6, Newlands
2008: South Africa won 63-9, Johannesburg
2007: South Africa won 37-13, Paris (World Cup semifinal)
2005: South Africa won 34-23, Buenos Aires
2004: South Africa won 39-7, Buenos Aires
2003: South Africa won  26-25, Port Elizabeth
2002: South Africa won 49-29, Springs
2000: South Africa won 37-33, Buenos Aires
1996: South Africa won 44-21, Buenos Aires
1996: South Africa won  46-15, Buenos Aires

Prediction: Heyneke Meyer said he expected a 50 percent improvement from the Springboks which would suggest a victory by 30 points or more, but we are going to take in the effect of Argentinian passion at a stadium named for Malvinas Arngentinas, a passionate focal point for the Argentinians in their scrap with Britain for the islands the British call the Falklands. And so we step back 50 percent and suggest that the Springboks will win by 10 points or more.

Teams:

Argentina: 15 Martín Rodríguez, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernández, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 7 Álvaro Galindo, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guiñazu, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Bruno Postiglioni, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Leonardo Senatore, 19 Tomás Leonardi, 20 Martín Landajo, 21 Lucas González Amorosino, 22 Juan Imhoff.

South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 François Hougaard, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Jacques Potgieter, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 JJ Engelbrecht.

Date: Saturday, 25 August 2012
Kick-off: Estadio Malvinas Argentinas, Mendoza
Venue: 16.10 (19.10 GMT; 21.10 SA time)
Expected weather: Partly cloudy with a high of 12°C, dropping to 2°C, a light breeze and a 35% chance of rain.
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garces (France), John Lacey (Ireland)
TMO: Francisco Pastrana (Argentina)
 

By Paul Dobson

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