Argentina’s Pumas have revealed that having beaten South Africa last year they are targeting two Rugby Championship wins in 2017.
The Pumas start their Rugby Championship campaign in South Africa this weekend and will be looking to build on their 25-37 victory over the Springboks in Durban last year.
The Pumas have had almost the last month entirely to prepare for this week’s Test as the Jaguares did not reach the Super Rugby play offs.
Argentina have been training in Northern Johannesburg and will make their way to Mpumalanga on Thursday for Saturday’s contest.
In the two teams last meeting South Africa beat Argentina 24-13 to claim third place in the Rugby World Cup. Prior to that South Africa beat Argentina in a Buenos Aires World Cup warm up.
As their last Rugby Championship match was the victory over South Africa in Durban the Pumas are aiming for back to back Championship wins.
“We have achieved some goals in the past year. Now our goal is to get two victories in the Rugby Championship”” Pumas flanker Pablo Matera told Business Day.
“Having beaten SA last year” it would be great to beat them again” and to start (the competition) with a victory.”
The Pumas victory in Durban last year is their sole victory over South Africa in 22 clashes. Their closest result prior to that was a 16 all draw in Mendoza.
Given the large number of Springbok player retirements at the end of last year and a new coach in Allister Coetzee the South African side will be the lesser settled of the two sides.
Matera says that he expects South Africa to play under Coetzee a little like the Lions did in Super Rugby.
“You can see that SA is now playing more with the ball (in hand)” and not the old direct and physical game. They have new moves” playing the ball more and playing a more dynamic game”” the loose-forward said.
“I’m sure it will be difficult (to adjust) because they were so used to a different game. Change is always difficult. But I am sure it is a positive thing and SA will grow a lot” we saw that with the Lions.
“They were the only South African team that plays like New Zealand teams – they play from every area of the field. It was amazing. ”
“Yet they still had the physical aspects of South African teams also. They were really complete and I think that is what can make the Springboks the most powerful team.”
The Bookies have Argentina 5/1 to win the Rugby Championship.