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Boks expect tougher Pumas than Jaguares

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Springboks assistant coach Johan van Graan says that they are expecting Argentina to perform much higher than the Jaguares in the Rugby Championship.

The Jaguares contested Super Rugby this season with the same players that will contest the Rugby Championship but Van Graan says they will be a lot tougher to beat.

The new Argentina Super Rugby franchise finished the season in 13th place but Van Graan says their Super Rugby form is not a reflection of how they will play in the Rugby Championship.

“You’ve just got to watch them when they sing the anthem – to see what it means to play for Argentina,” Van Graan told SuperSport.

“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.”

South Africa lost their series opening match to Ireland in June but fought back to win the series and the coaches want a vastly improved peformance in Nelspuit next week.

“I think we can improve in all areas,” said Van Graan.

“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.”

The Springbok side for next week will most likely feature more Lions players after they reached the Super Rugby final although Van Graan and head coach Allister Coetzee have both said the Boks won’t be playing the Lions game plan.

“I think the Lions were fantastic in getting over the advantage line. Their ball carriers run very hard with Elton taking the ball up flat. They made a lot of passes, but their forwards got over the advantage line,” he explained.

“Yes, so there is a bit of perception there. I thought they varied their play well and were fantastic off broken field play once the opposition gave them a turnover.

“In rugby you learn every day, I think we took something from each of our franchises, and the Lions did fantastically in Super Rugby. You can learn every day.”

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