Los Pumas 'refreshed' for Bok challenge
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Josh Isaacson spent the week at the Argentina camp in Johannesburg and spoke to Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade.
Hourcade, in a one-on-one interview with rugby365, said his team is feeling "refreshed and ready" for their opening Rugby Championship encounter - when they meet South Africa in Nelspruit on Saturday.
The Pumas wrapped up their preparations with a training session in Johannesburg on Thursday, before they departed for Nelspruit.
Los Pumas had their traditional captain's run at the Mbombela Stadium on Friday.
"They had some good holidays before we arrived here, the players really needed it after our first season of Super Rugby," the Pumas coach said - before heading to the Lowveld for Saturday's Test.
"Preparations have been full of energy and very positive and we are very happy," said Hourcade.
Argentina are currently ranked at ninth in the world and their most recent Test match ended in a 0-27 defeat against France in June.
However, the Pumas feel they can take plenty of confidence from finishing fourth at the World Cup in England last year, as well as their historic victory over South Africa in Durban last year.
Hourcade explained that last year's victory against South Africa was a fantastic result for Argentina and he said that the goal for this year's Rugby Championship is to continue playing a good brand of rugby and improving every week.
"Our main objective is to continue developing. We have another opportunity to face the best teams in the world - in this case South Africa - and this is an opportunity to grow as a team," explained Hourcade.
The Pumas coach said he expects the Springboks to vary their game, with their traditional strengths in the scrums and line-outs being complimented with some good link-up play.
He felt they also have a good attacking mindset, similar to the playing style of the Lions in this year's Super Rugby tournament.
"We are prepared not only for a physical game, but also a dynamic type of game," he told rugby365.
"The Lions add this type of attacking play, so we are not only going to be focused on the physical game but also the set-piece and the movement of the ball.
"It is a very important game and we have to focus on other areas.
"We are preparing for a tough game and that's why we have been training very hard this week," said Hourcade.
By Josh Isaacson