Pumas no longer 'powder puff'

Tue, 06 Sep 2016 12:18

INTERVIEW: Argentina are no longer the 'easy beats' of the Rugby Championship and New Zealand will show them the necessary respect.

The All Blacks are hosting Los Pumas in Hamilton in Round Three of the Southern Hemisphere championship on Saturday.

And most of the All Blacks feel the South Americans will pose a different and more dangerous threat than New Zealand's trans-Tasman rivals, Australia, did in the opening two weeks.

It took Argentina 17 Tests and two years to get their first win in the Rugby Championship - a 21-17 victory over Wallabies in Mendoza in 2014.

That has been followed by a first-ever victory (37-25) over the Springboks in Durban last year and a 26-24 triumph over the Boks in Salta a fortnight ago.

New Zealand - on a 13-Test winning streak, including 42-8 and 29-9 of the Wallabies in the opening rounds of the Rugby Championship this year - are still fancied to knock over the Pumas.

However, the players are cautiously optimistic about the outing in Hamilton.

"We spoke about keeping our feet on the ground," fullback Ben Smith said.

"This Argentinean team is a real threat.

"You saw that in the World Cup last year [where they beat then Six Nations champions Ireland in the quarterfinal] and two weeks ago they tipped over South Africa.

"We have to show them respect in how we prepare."

Other players also suggested Argentina would be offering a different challenge for the All Blacks.

Flank Sam Cane and lock Brodie Retallick said they have their feet well and truly on the ground and were not getting ahead of themselves in their quest to regain the Championship title this season.

Cane said the Pumas could well have been coming to Hamilton with two wins over South Africa and not just one, and that was evidence enough of their increased stature in the game.

While the All Blacks knew more about the Argentinians as a result of their increased contact, they still represented a different challenge because they played the game slightly differently, Cane said.

"They have come a long way [since joining the Championship in 2012] and going from Super Rugby to internationals I wasn't quite what they were going to turn up with. However, under their coach [Daniel Hourcade] in the national side they are humming.

"Once they get that ball moving and their off-loads are some of the best in the world," he said.

Retallick said Argentina played it differently in the forwards and liked to hold the ball in the scrum while the All Blacks liked to clear it quickly.

It was a case of getting on top of them and avoiding the penalties that could keep them in the game.

Source: @AllBlacks

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 14h00 Paris
Fri, 28 April 2017
Ospreys v Ulster 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 22h00 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Scarlets 22h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Dragons 22h00 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 RDS Arena
Treviso v Munster 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
Bulls v Jaguares 26 | 13
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 6 6 0 0 30
Australia 6 3 0 3 14
South Africa 6 2 0 4 10
Argentina 6 1 0 5 5