‘Last year’s result won’t be a factor’ – Strauss

Date published: August 19 2016

Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss said his team's loss to Argentina in last year's corresponding fixture in Durban won't be a factor when the teams meet in Nelspruit on Saturday.

Argentina's 36-25 victory in that Test has been mentioned regularly in the media this week, but Strauss said that result, and the Boks' subsequent triumphs in the return match in Buenos Aires and the third and fourth play-off match at last year's World Cup have been forgotten.

"No, what happened against Argentina last season will not play a role (this weekend)," he explained. 

"The defeat in Durban belongs to the past.

"We realise, however, that they will play with great confidence after that result."

Strauss alsodefended his team's inexperience ahead of their Rugby Championship opener.

Only five players in the starting XV have 20 or more Test caps, which means Strauss will rely heavily on players like Eben Etzebeth, Beast Mtawarira, Francois Louw and Bryan Habana to take on more responsibility as the senior players in the side.

However, speaking at a press conference on Friday, Strauss downplayed the lack of experience at Test level of most of his players.

"The younger guys bring a lot of energy to the party," he said.

"Many of them have already shown that they belong at this level in the recent series against Ireland.

"That puts my mind at ease. I know they will produce the goods on Saturday. Having said that, I know that the senior guys will help to ease the pressure."

Strauss also dismissed the notion that Argentina will be weaker because most their players played for the struggling Jaguares in Super Rugby.

"You can’t compare the Jaguares and the Pumas. This is a Test rugby side, and we are expecting something very different from them in the Rugby Championship," he said.

"They’re a good mauling and scrummaging side. They’re also really effective at those chop-tackles, taking your legs out from under you. They attack the rucks, often joining from the side, and look for turnover ball.

"You have to be so careful against a side like that," Strauss added. "In the past, they have won penalties at the scrums and rucks and it has really disrupted out momentum. We will be looking to start well in these departments, to settle early and take control of the game.

"They play with a lot of passion. Their captain Agustin Creevy is playing his 50th Test this Saturday, so that will fuel them even more."