Rugby Championship

Boks must beware of Pumas' Jaguares momentum

2018-08-14 10:53
Mario Ledesma (Getty)

Cape Town - Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus is expecting Argentina to pose a serious threat in Saturday's Rugby Championship opener.

In 2015, nobody expected the Pumas to seriously challenge Heyneke Meyer's Boks in Durban as World Cup plans for that year gained momentum. 

The Kings Park crowd was left stunned, however, by a Juan Imhoff hat-trick that gave the visitors a superb 37-25 win over the Boks. 

Meyer was forced to apologise to the South African public afterwards as the Boks lost to Argentina for the first time in their history. 

This time around, though, Argentina will not be underestimated as they return to the scene of their 2015 triumph and a lot of that has to do with the form of the Jaguares in this year's Super Rugby competition. 

The Jaguares made the playoffs of the competition for the first time in their history, finishing 2nd in the South African Conference and 7th on the overall log. 

And, more importantly, they did it under the mentorship of the same man who has now taken the reins of the Argentinean national side. 

Mario Ledesma had just one season in charge of the Jaguares, and he has immediately made the move into international rugby with the Pumas. 

It means that the Pumas have momentum that they can continue from Super Rugby, and Erasmus is well aware of that.

"It's a coach they're used to and a coach where they've won five or six games on the trot under difficult circumstances in New Zealand and Australia," Erasmus explained.

"They beat all of our franchises and they have renewed energy. They'll be fancying their chances and loving the underdog tag.

"Luckily we know that they are formidable. We've seen what they've done to our Super Rugby teams and to the New Zealand and Australian Super Rugby teams. We know it's going to be a real Test match on Saturday."

The Jaguares beat all of the Lions, Sharks, Stormers and Bulls in Argentina this year, while they lost to all of those sides in South Africa.

Saturday’s match kicks off at 17:05.  

 

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