‘Ayerza is No 1 in the scrum’

Date published: September 15 2015

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Argentina flanker Pablo Matera has labelled Pumas team-mate Marcos Ayerza as the world's best scrummager ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Argentina kick off their RWC campaign against defending champions New Zealand at Wembley on Sunday and the South American are sure to focus on their ability at the set piece.

With Leicester loosehead Ayerza partnered by a world-class hooker in the form of Pumas captain Agustin Creevy, there is no doubt that Argentina have one of the best scrummaging units in the world. 

"We love to hear that we are the best scrummagers in the world," Matera told Reuters.

"In Argentina we think the scrum is the personality of the team. In Argentina if you lose the scrum you are probably going to lose the match. We as a national team work the scrum so hard – it's a tool that gives us penalties to score points.

"It's very important to us and we work hard to have one of the best, and hopefully the best (scrums) at the World Cup.

"Marcus Ayerza… He's No 1 in the scrum – he's a very important player for us. Agustin our captain, he's at a great level now. He's going to be one of the best players at the World Cup."

Los Pumas are not only a threat up front though with great stride having been made in recent years in their attacking play. Fly-half Nicolas Sanchez is sure to be a key player for the 2007 semi-finalists too.

"When we gain penalties, Nicolas is going to give us points. He also loves to play with the ball – from anywhere on the field. He doesn't just kick it out. He's a player teams need to be wary of," said Matera.

"He has learned a lot from Juan Martin Hernandez. Having them together as centre and fly-half is really interesting. It makes us dangerous in attack."

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