Respect us, or else...
POST-MATCH REACTION: Argentina are looking to Salta next week to exact revenge against South Africa in Round Two of the Rugby Championship.
Argentina are looking to Salta next week to exact revenge against South Africa in Round Two of the Rugby Championship.
Speaking after their narrow 6-13 loss to the Springboks at a drenched Loftus Versfeld at the weekend, Pumas flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez said teams are now beginning to respect the South Americans.
Argentina are still looking for their first win, now into their third season of the Southern Hemisphere championship, but they know they squandered a chance to break that duck.
The Pumas, who were third at the World Cup in 2007, have lost 12 of their 13 Rugby Championship clashes since joining the expanded competition in 2012.
They drew at home with South Africa in Mendoza two years ago.
"We have a feeling we are gaining more and more respect with each passing game," Sanchez told a post-match media scrum in Pretoria.
"We put South Africa under a lot of pressure and could have tied the game in the last minute," the Pumas pivot said.
"We are really disappointed because I think we were really close to a result and let it escape," added Sanchez after they squandered three late chances to snatch a try and possibly hold their hosts to a second draw.
Sanchez paid tribute to his team's forwards who largely dominated South Africa in the scrums, rucks and mauls.
"The forwards had a great game with both the line-outs and the scrums working well.
"But we are going to have to double that effort, because we know South Africa will re-double their effort in Salta," he added referring to next Saturday's return game in the northern Argentine city.
Puma captain Agustin Creevy also expressed his pride in the team's performance at Loftus and made it clear they will be looking to turn it around on home soil.
"We are not happy, because we could not get a try [in the dying minutes] and because we lost," the newly appointed skipper told the media gathering.
"We are a group that works hard and will make the sacrifices we need to the revenge in Salta. "
He said the forwards grew in confidence as the game wore on and will look to again dominate the Boks in the return match.
We "[the pack] became stronger and the backs also produced a great match, but we are still disappointed - because we wanted to win. "
"When they scored that early try [when scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar went over in the second minute], we got together under the uprights and said to each other we will not capitulate like last year," he said in reference to the 73-13 hammering they suffered at the hands of the Boks in Soweto in 2013.
"We managed to get [ourselves] up and gave them good fight."
He said they would have gained confidence from the Loftus outing.
"We demonstrate that we are on their level and it was a nice game, but we wanted to win and we were not going to sit back now," the hooker said.
"We know that they will come better prepared for the rematch in Salta, but we'll have our people supporting us and hope to make a better contest and perhaps get the win."
He also praised his teammates for their "attitude" on defence and said they did not crack under pressure.
"We are pleased with the performance, but there are things to correct," new Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade told reporters after the Test at Loftus Versfeld.
"I am calm, but not happy - because we wanted to win the game and came close to a draw."
He said the sudden cloudburst in the dying minutes, at an already soaked Loftus, made things more difficult for his team.
"We trained the entire week in sun and [the] rain [on Saturday] greatly complicated matters."
The coach praised his pack for holding their own and even overshadowing the Boks in the "brutal" forward exchanges.
"However, we have to work even harder this week, as next Saturday's game will be more difficult."