NZ relishing forward battle in Buenos Aires
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: New Zealand prop Charlie Faumuina said he was looking forward to another tough contest up front when his team takes on Argentina in Round Five of the Rugby Championship in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
The Pumas put up a big fight when the two teams met in in Christchurch a few weeks ago. However, a late surge in the second half saw the All Blacks run out 57-22 victors.
Faumuina is expecting the Pumas to throw everything at the All Blacks again, especially in the forward exchanges.
"They're a much better team than when they first started [in the Championship]," Faumuina told allblacks.com.
"Nothing really changes with their forward pack in the maul and scrum, that's a battle in itself, but they are a lot more calmer now and they love to off-load.
"They'll be the same as always, a forward pack who want to give it to us in the scrum and mauls, their pick-and-goes, they enjoy those."
Meanwhile, fellow prop Wyatt Crockett said the latter part of the season would be a good test of how much impact the extended season had on the Pumas players.
Most of the players in the Pumas squad had been involved throughout the Super Rugby season and the current Rugby Championship campaign.
"There's a lot of travel, a lot of time away from home during Super Rugby, particularly for those boys and I'm sure they've got some strategies to deal with it," Crockett told allblacks.com.
"I think the good thing about this competition is you play two tough games and you get a week at home to recover so those boys would have had a week at home to recover, re-energise and get ready for this game. I'm pretty sure they'll be excited to play against us in front of their own people."
Crockett said he and his teammates put a lot of work in the scrums ahead of matches against the Pumas.
"We put in a lot of work, a lot of mental preparation and we scrummage pretty hard at training to get ready for that," he said.