Planet Rugby

Van Graan expects open game

11th August 2014 17:22

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Johan van Graan

Expects a contest: Van Graan

Springbok forwards coach Johan van Graan expected an open encounter against Argentina in their first Rugby Championship match on Saturday.

Last year the Springboks got their campaign off to the perfect start when they crushed the Pumas 73-13, running in nine tries in Johannesburg.

And while Van Graan wasn't promising the same result, he did predict another high-scoring affair when the two teams run out at Loftus Versfeld.

"One thing you have to give the Springboks and Argentina credit for is, in 2013, they stole the most ball not only at breakdowns but scrum, line-outs and in the air," Van Graan said on Monday.

"If you look at the June internationals, South Africa and Argentina were on top again.

"What you can learn from that is it is going to be a contesting game - every breakdown, line-out, scrum and kick-off will be a contest."

The Springboks have by now learned not to underestimate Argentina as they made the Boks work for the 22-17 victory in the return match in Mendoza, while they drew 16-16 in 2012.

Meanwhile, team doctor Craig Roberts had some good news on the injury front with Victor Matfield the only serious casualty, although the second-row stalwart is recovering well.

"The one issue was of course is Victor Matfield who tweaked his knee. He had scans and saw an orthopaedic specialist and he responded well to rest and rehab," Roberts said.

"We were a bit concerned that he might have to have a scope to clean out that little bit of cartilage. We will reassess him next week and see if he is available for the overseas leg against Argentina."

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