The Springboks are not underestimating Argentina in this year’s Rugby Championship despite the struggles of their Super Rugby team, the Jaguares.
The Springboks are currently preparing for their opening Rugby Championship match against the Pumas in Nelspruit next weekend.
It’s a wise approach by the South Africans since their performances against Argentina in the past have been wholly unconvincing at times.
Just last year the Springboks were rocked in Durban when Argentina beat them for the first time ever on South African soil. Now, after a less-than-convincing Test series against Ireland, the Boks will be eager to get the upper hand over the South Americans from the start.
Springbok assistant coach Johan van Graan believes there is a big difference between the Jaguares and the Pumas.
“You’ve just got to watch them when they sing the anthem – to see what it means to play for Argentina,” Van Graan said.
“That’s what we take out of it. Once they put on that Argentinean jersey they are a different team. They’ve got world class players in their team, and Super Rugby poses a different threat to test match rugby.
“They’ve had a lot of time together, their head coach is back and obviously he has had some time in the background. They know South African rugby in the past few years so they will be very well prepared against the Springboks. Its’ Test match rugby and we can’t wait to get going against them.”
Van Graan knows the South African rugby public expect nothing less than a victory against Argentina, which is why the squad has been working hard to rectify some of the mistakes they made in the series against Ireland.
“I think we can improve in all areas,” Van Graan said.
“We’re really happy with our setpiece, but our deliveries from our setpiece could be a lot better. We’ve been working hard with our ball-carriers, we’re facing Argentina first up and they make a lot of leg tackles.
“We’ve learnt over the past few years and in Super Rugby with the Jaguares that the breakdown is a big fight, as it was with Ireland. Your attacking shape and attacking mindset is also important.
“We didn’t have a lot of time before Ireland and it doesn’t help that we’re a few players this week but we go with what we have. We’re working a lot on mindset, formation and breakdown.”