Rugby Championship News

Meyer : Argentina are a much improved side





South Africa’s head coach Heyeneke Meyer says that Argentina will give the Springboks a difficult challenge in their Rugby Championship opener at Loftus Versfeld as the Pumas have had a change in management and mindset.

“Argentina is a much improved side. They’ve always been difficult to play against so we are just going to go out there and try and play our best rugby possible,” Meyer said.

The South Americans have not won a single match since they joined the Rugby Championships two years ago and will be looking for their first big scalp under new coach Daniel Hourcade.

“They’ve always been a tough team to play, they contest every facet of play,” Meyer said.

“In the scrum it is a huge contest, you have to scrum well to get your ball. They have some of the best guys at the breakdowns because a lot of their players play in Europe.”

Meyer predicted the breakdowns would be fiercely contested which made it possibly the most important area of play on Saturday.

“The breakdown will be very important. When we got quick ball against them we were superb, but when we didn’t get quick ball it was very tough.

“It is always an arm wrestle against them, in the lineouts they contest.” The Bok coach said the Argentina side under Hourcade had shown greater variety during the June internationals which made them more than just a team that contested set-pieces.

“We’ve been watching videos of them with their new coach, and a new coach always brings a new vibe so we expect a lot of excitement and passion,” Meyer said.

“They always play with passion, what we’ve seen lately is that they move the ball around and they play a more running game. Although it gives you chances for turnovers, you need to defend well.”

While Argentina have not managed a victory in 12 Rugby Championship matches, Meyer made it clear that every Test in the Southern Hemisphere tournament carried equal weight.

“If you win all six games with four points you will probably also win the competition. But one thing I’ve learnt in rugby is to keep your feet on the ground and stay humble,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter who you play against, whether you get four points against Argentina home or away, it counts exactly the same as four points against Australia and New Zealand home and away.

“If you look at it last year we had a chance to get a bonus point against them and we didn’t which cost us against New Zealand at the end.”

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