Rugby Championship: Argentina encounter ‘like a World Cup final’ for the Springboks

Colin Newboult

South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber insists that they are only thinking about winning the match against Argentina and not the amount of points they need to accrue ahead of the Rugby Championship finale.

The Springboks go into the last match of the competition level with New Zealand, but they are in second place due to a worse points difference.

Nienaber’s men have the easier task on paper with them going head-to-head with traditional strugglers Argentina, while the All Blacks host Australia.

Los Pumas have proven to be a tough nut to crack in 2022, however, as evidenced by the clash in Buenos Aires last weekend, and all South Africa’s attentions are simply on getting the job done in Durban.


“I don’t even want to think about scoring a certain number of points,” Nienaber told reporters. “That would be completely disrespectful to Argentina.

“They are hoping Australia beat New Zealand to give them an opportunity to win the Rugby Championship for the first time in their history.

“Australia and New Zealand are thinking the same thing – they want to win the Rugby Championship, as do we.”

South Africa will know their target when they kick off against Argentina, with the New Zealand v Australia encounter taking place earlier on Saturday.

“Let’s not get caught up in permutations… we will get to that when the facts are on the table,” Nienaber said.

“We are viewing it as a World Cup final: that is what it is to us.

“The only thing I can say is that it will help us that the other game is first, so both teams will know what is required, but I can tell you we will start the game as if it is a final.”

South Africa’s head coach has certainly been impressed by Argentina in the Rugby Championship this year following Los Pumas’ historic victories over the Wallabies and All Blacks.

“They are a proper Test team,” he said. “Look at the experience in their pack – the locks have 70-plus Tests each; the front-row averages more than 50 caps.

“They know what Test rugby is all about, and they are building to a World Cup under a very good coaching staff.”

Sold out Kings Park

Nienaber is also excited by the response his team have had from the supporters, who will pack out Kings Park Stadium on Saturday.

“Personally, I have never been at Kings Park when it has sold out, and we will do everything in our power to produce a fitting performance to thank the fans,” he said.

“If that happens, we should be in a position to win the game, and if things go our way, the Rugby Championship.”

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