Pumas keen to halt Boks’ momentum

Date published: August 19 2016

Argentina defence coach Pablo Bouza believes preventing South Africa from recycling the ball quickly is the key to beating them in Nelspruit on Saturday.

Los Pumas' free flowing style helped them to a memorable 37-25 victory over the Boks in Durban last year – a result which they will be trying to replicate this weekend.

"If they get momentum, it’s going to be a very difficult game for us," said Bouza. 

"Traditionally, we’ve attacked the breakdown in an attempt to stop them from getting good go-forward ball, but this time we have to be judicious when choosing which breakdowns to attack and which to let go.

"If we go to every breakdown and come off second best, they will gain quick ball and will send the ball wide. They have quick outside backs and if we have committed four or so players at the breakdown, then those three quarters will enjoy overlaps out wide.

"We will have to work hard on our exits. In the past we’ve played too much rugby in our own half and teams have scored a lot of tries against us from turnovers resulting in poor exits. We want to play with the ball but our decision-making has to be more accurate."

The Springboks are in a transitional phase – after Allister Coetzee took over the coaching reins from Heyneke Meyer – but Bouza is taking nothing for granted against the two-time world champions.

"Although they’ve got a new coach and the team is relatively new, we never think SA are there for the taking," he added. 

"We’ve only beaten them once in decades. We have a lot of respect for the teams in the Rugby Championship and at the moment we are ranked ninth in the world and they are third.

"We are expecting to see something similar to how the Lions played in Super Rugby, but we have in the back of our minds that SA always have a good set-piece. 

"We are preparing for a very tough set-piece game, mixed with a wide type of game. We know they are a team in transition but they are one of the toughest teams we face."