Rugby Championship

SA gave Pumas their name

2015-08-08 11:11
Ricardo Handley (Lloyd Burnard)

Durban - As Rugby World Cup preparations reach their final hour, there is a far more sentimental element to Saturday's Rugby Championship clash between South Africa and Argentina at Kings Park. 

This week the Argentina class of 1965 has been in the country, celebrating the 50-year anniversary of what was their first ever international tour when they visited South Africa and Rhodesia.

Argentina played 16 matches on that two-month tour including the main event against the Junior Springboks which they won 11-6 at Ellis Park. 

It was on that tour that the side was first referred to as the Pumas - a South African journalist giving them the name after he struggled with the Spanish interpretation of the jaguar that appeared on the team jersey. It was a name that stuck, and 50 years later the Pumas are one of the most respected outfits in world rugby. 

"Argentina is very grateful to South Africa, because they brought us onto the international level," Ricardo Handley, who was the hooker on the 1965 and 1971 tours to South Africa, said.

"Danie Craven saw us play in 1964 and he said we should tour. We are very grateful. We owe South Africa quite a bit.

"Some of us are not here anymore. There are seven of us looking down, wishing they were with us, but we've had a great time. As usual you've been great hosts. South Africa is a great country."

Handley believes that the current Argentina side is young and needs to be given time, but that they will be "more consolidated" by the time the World Cup gets underway in September. 

The passion he has for his country is overwhelmingly clear, and the passion he has for the Pumas equally so. 

"They (the current side) have that same heart that we had; the same love for the game and the country," he said.

"Never going back: that is the motto of the Pumas. You go forward always. They can beat you, but they can't go over you."

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05. 

Read more on:    pumas  |  springboks  |  rugby

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