Boks wary of 'balanced' Pumas

Fri, 11 Aug 2017 16:41

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Springboks know that Argentina will have a lot more tricks up their sleeves than just a strong and talented forward pack.

The two sides meet in the opening round of the Rugby Championship next week and the Boks do not want to be caught off guard like they were in Salta last year.

In 2016, after narrowly beating Argentina 30-23 at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, the Boks went down 24-26 a week later in Salta against the same opponents and assistant coach Matthew Proudfoot knows that his side will have to be wide awake when they meet in Port Elizabeth next weekend.

"I think they've [Argentina] balanced their game out with a lot of influence from [former All Blacks coach] Graham Henry, so they are a side that has quite a good balance now, but their set phase stuff and their defensive breakdown is very competent," said Proudfoot. 

"They look to really turn ball over and then unleash a potent counterattack, so we are well aware of it. 

"We done a lot of preparation and we were caught out a bit in Salta last year with their aerial game, so that has been one of the areas we have been focussing on.

"But we know they have had a lot of time to prepare. The nice thing for them, their whole squad is in Argentina, so it is quite easy for them to prepare.

"We mustn't be under the illusion that it is the same side that plays Super Rugby [Jaguares] - when they put that white and blue jersey on they have a lot of pride and you can see it in the way they sing their anthem.

"We are preparing for probably the toughest international competition in the world. We are preparing for it really well."

Meanwhile, Flank Siyamthanda Kolisi missed the first day of training on Tuesday because of an ankle niggle, but he was back in training action towards the end of the week.

"I was still doing rehab earlier in the week but have since started with full-on training again with the boys," said the loose forward.

He is delighted to be back in Port Elizabeth, the place where his rugby journey started.

"I must admit I am very excited to be back in my hometown and looking forward to the rest of our preparations. I know how much the people of the Eastern Cape enjoy their rugby and also appreciate the fact that the Boks are here for two weeks."

On his appointment as Bok vice-captain, Kolisi said: "It is such a huge honour and privilege, and I am especially proud for my mate Eben [Etzebeth] who will captain the side. Personally, it's a responsibility which I embrace and I would like to believe that the extra responsibility will help to improve my game."

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Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 6 6 0 0 28
Australia 6 2 2 2 15
South Africa 6 2 2 1 14
Argentina 6 0 0 6 0