Pumas look to bounce back at home
August 23, 2012
Marcell Coetzee is congratulated on his try © Getty Images
South Africa travel to Argentina this weekend to play a historic Test match in Mendoza in what will be the first time that the Pumas host a Rugby Championship match.
The Pumas took their bow in the tournament last weekend as they fell 27-6 to the Springboks in front of the Newlands crowd. It was never in doubt for the Boks as they eased past the tournament newcomers with tries from Bryan Habana, Marcell Coetzee and Zane Kirchener getting them over the line.
It could have been more for the Boks but on occasions when they could have gone for the posts, they opted to kick for touch and try and chase that elusive four-try bonus point. For the Pumas, had Juan Martin Hernandez kicked better from the tee then they could have got closer to South Africa.
Regardless of the eventual scoreline, the atmosphere will be electric in Mendoza and the Pumas will be desperate to put on a good show for their home support.
Argentina - Player to Watch: Horacio Agulla was solid against the Boks last weekend and his turnover against Bryan Habana was one of their best moments. The Bath man will have to be at his very best if he is to make a dent in the Springboks' defence this weekend, but he has the ability to cause them a few headaches.
Argentina - Team News: The Pumas will be without Juan Martin Hernandez for the match after their mercurial play maker suffered a torn groin in training and it is three-cap Nicolas Sanchez who comes in at fly-half. Elsewhere, Martin Rodriguez replaces Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino at fullback with Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe continuing as skipper.
South Africa - Player to Watch: Marcell Coetzee was one of the Springboks' best players last Saturday and alongside Jacques Potgieter and Willem Alberts in their back-row, Coetzee has able enough lieutenants to allow him to play his normal and highly effective game.
South Africa - Team News: Potgieter gets the nod in the back-row at the expense of Keegan Daniel with Alberts switching to No.8 and Coetzee continuing at openside. Adriaan Strauss starts at hooker with Bismarck du Plessis ruled out with a long-term injury.
Key Battle: Morne Steyn had it far too easy last weekend. The Pumas must get their back-row and midfield firing to try and put pressure on the South African fly-half. Whoever starts at No.10 for the Pumas needs to kick an effective tactical game and pin the Boks back in their own half - something that did not happen last weekend.
Boks skipper Jean de Villiers on the Pumas%]
Trivia: South Africa faced Argentina in a Test match in Buenos Aires back in 2005. Only Jean de Villiers and Bryan Habana featured that day from their current crop of players.
Stats: Saturday's official Steve Walsh has been in charge of 12 Springboks Tests before. South Africa won nine of those tests, lost one and drew two
"One of the aspects in which we failed to dominate against South Africa was field position - they were very good at leaving their half. We also gave away too many penalties, especially in the first-half, which forced us into losing our grip on the game." - Argentina boss Santiago Phelan
"It was a difficult decision between Jacques and Keegan, but we have gone with horses for courses this time." - Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer
Prediction: It will be much closer with the Springboks just sneaking it thanks to a late score
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker