Cape Town - Argentina loosehead prop Marcos Ayerza believes the Springboks are among the most physical sides in world rugby and that they pose the biggest forwards challenge in the Rugby Championship.
Ayerza, 32, boasts 59 Tests for the Pumas since making his debut against the Boks in Buenos Aires back in 2004.
Including that match, Ayerza has faced the Springboks seven times without tasting victory, and he has seen enough over the years to draw some conclusions.
“The Springboks are one of the most physical sides in the world nowadays. Of the three (in the Rugby Championship), this is the toughest game as a forward,” Ayerza said from the team hotel in Durban.
“So it will be great to challenge ourselves against the Springbok pack in every aspect of the game... in the driving maul, in the scrum, in the lineouts, in the ruck and in the defence. So we’re very much looking forward to that battle.”
Argentina, themselves, are known historically for producing strong packs.
“We also try to be physical and try to have dominance up front with the forwards,” said Ayerza, who plays his rugby with the Leicester Tigers in England.
“So we are two similar sides in that aspect. We want to challenge each other and it will be a cracking game of rugby I think.”
On the prospect of beating the Boks for the first time ever, Ayerza said that would be “immense”.
“Every game in this tournament is huge for Argentina. It’s such a tough tournament, but we have one more chance to wear the Argentina jersey... now the challenge for us to try to beat the Springboks,” he said.
“It would be a huge, huge achievement for Argentina... something we’ve never done before. It would be immense for us.”
Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.